Are you interested in trying aerial silks or hammock, but don’t know how to get started?
Don’t worry - Cirka, an aerial online education and training platform, has built out a step-by-step program to help you get started. We have found through years of coaching that starting in a sling or aerial silks tied into a knot is the safest and easiest way to feel comfortable on your aerial fabric. All of the skills below are fit for absolute beginners, and can be great moves to help you build confidence and strength in the air.
Below coach Katie and I (Coach Kayla) have broken down five absolute beginner aerial moves that will help you begin your aerial journey. These are great building blocks for starting aerial fabrics and we think you will have fun exploring them! You may be able to do all of these aerial moves today, or you may struggle with some starting off. Be patient- learning a new skill takes time!
One note: If you are using an aerial silk for training (a fabric with two separate ends), we will begin with how to tie a sturdy knot in your fabric. If you are training on an aerial hammock or aerial sling, a knot isn’t necessary and you can skip to step #2.
1: Tying a Knot
In this first video, Katie demonstrates how to tie a slip knot. Creating a slip knot in your silks can mimic a hammock, however it is more limited. When creating a slip knot in your silks, remember to add a decent amount of “tail” or loop below your knot. If your loop is too small, when you apply weight on the knot, the knot can come undone. Making sure you have about a foot in length on your loop will ensure that your knot stays secured. We recommend trying the basic moves below from a knot first before a less secure wrap, because it will help you trust your aerial apparatus and is a great training tool throughout your aerial journey.
2: Backpack Entrance into a Knot
Backpack entrance is an easy, first step into preparing for an invert. When beginning your aerial journey, wearing sleeves will protect your underarms from potential discomfort or rubbing of the silks against your skin. This sensation decreases over time as your body becomes accustomed to your apparatus training. There are many other entrances into a hammock or aerial silks knot, but this one is attainable for individuals of all fitness levels, ages and genders.
3: Straddle Invert in a Knot
Now it is time for us to start the real fun skills! Let’s get you upside down! We promise you that it is not as scary as it sounds. We believe in you!
Here are few tips to help you properly execute a straddle invert in a knot or aerial hammock:
Lift with your legs and lower abs to initiate the inversion, try to avoid using your back.
If maintaining straight legs is a challenge, shorten the lever by having bent knees or bringing your feet together in a frog leg position. Practicing with bent knees will assist in building your lower core muscles, which will help with straight legs inversions later on.
Once you are upside down, settle into the knot, making sure the knot is in the middle of your lower back. If you are in a hammock, you want the fabric positioned on your lower back.
Keep your legs in a straddle, like you are sitting in a staddle on the floor.
4: Gazelle Pose from an Invert
Now you are ready for an inverted pose! This is a great stretch that can open your shoulders and hips and helps build body awareness on the aerial apparatus. A few tips: If bringing both poles of the fabric into your knee pit creates discomfort, it is okay to keep both poles separated with one leg across the poles. Another option, hook your knee on the same side pole. There are multiple variations of this pose to accommodate your flexibility and comfort level. One option is to grab your back foot to extend the stretch and open your hips further - we call this pose variation ‘Scorpion’. If you are flexible, grabbing your foot with both hands will increase the stretch and add more aesthetic to your Scorpion pose.
5: Single Knee Hook to Sitting
After you have successfully completed your first inverted pose, let's get you back into an upright and sitting position. While it is perfectly acceptable to tip forward from your straddle invert into a backpack entry position, a single knee hook into a seating position is a more graceful exit and can be used as a transitional move to add more poses into a sequence later on. The biggest thing to remember when transitioning from a single knee hook, is to bring your leg in between the fabric or “window” and hook your knee on the opposite pole. Both of your hands will hold the pole opposite of your hooked knee. Focus on bringing your shoulders through the window, while keeping your knee hooked. Pushing your leg down will drive you out of the knot and make it harder to come to a seated position.