Monkeying Around: Trying Aerial Silks

Lately I’ve been working on getting out of my comfort zone more often.  It started with reluctantly taking a self defense class that sparked my love for fighting…well, really, when you think about it, it started way back when I put on a bikini for the first time in years and hopped in the pool, and then when I began practicing yoga regularly…but either way, I was back at it this past Monday when I took an aerial silks class with my friend Tricia.  I’ve never taken any kind of alternative fitness class, but Tricia is a studmuffin who can do silks, lyra (she recently did a beautiful performance – check out the photos HERE!), and pole, and is now preparing for a physique competition.  When she said I would love doing aerial silks, I decided to take her word for it and hauled my butt into a pair of leggings (who am I kidding, no one has to ask me twice to put on yoga pants) and then over to Alternative Fitness Studio in Roseville.  There were only two other students in class besides Trica and me, which was great because it meant we got more time on the silks, and it made for a more relaxed environment.  I wish I’d thought to take a couple photos of the studio itself, because it was beautiful – plenty of poles and silks to climb, a full wall of mirrors, and so much space to play!

silks class with Tricia 18 August 2014 (4)

I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect going into class, but I was still surprised by a number of things.  For starters, silks is harder than I had expected.  I was actually starting to sweat at the end of the 60 minute class! I’m relatively strong and can do pull ups, so I didn’t think climbing the silks would be difficult.  Turns out I was right, and climbing wasn’t the hard part – it was holding on that was the difficult part, and my forearms and hands were on fire after a couple of climbs!  Of course, that may be partly due to a lack of technical finesse on my part, but my grip was shot and by the end of the night I pretty much just crumpled in a tangle of hand cramps and tangled silks.  I was, however, pleasantly surprised that my bad ankle felt great. On the other hand, my right foot (which I had used as my dominant foot during the class) felt really weird. I actually had to drive really carefully on the way home because it kept giving out when I tried to put more than a certain amount of pressure on the pedal.  Today it’s still felt off and the side of my right calf is pretty sore from knee to ankle, so I’m thinking I may have just pulled it slightly.   And obliques…oh, my obliques! I woke up today slightly sore in the midsection, and it wasn’t until this evening, when my sides were definitely sore that I realized it was from class on Monday.  Lifting your legs as you climb is apparently a great core workout – seems obvious, but I didn’t even think about that in class.  (I was a little more focused on not falling to my death, you know?)

silks class with Tricia 18 August 2014 (3)

 

Overall, I really enjoyed silks.  It was exciting to climb around, and hanging out upside down was even more fun than I had hoped.  It was exciting to see how much you could do once you mastered the basics of a footlock, and flopping around up in the air felt surprisingly graceful.  Of course, it may have felt graceful, but only Tricia looked graceful and elegant while in the air (I looked like a cheeseball).

While I definitely did not feel like any of it came naturally to me the way fighting seemed to, it was exciting to try something new and challenge myself.  It ended up being a good workout – now I understand why the instructor started off by saying that silks was the hardest of all the classes offered! – and I can see how you would build up quite a bit of strength from doing silks regularly.  If you’ve ever wanted to try an alternative fitness modality, I would highly recommend you give it a shot! (Local friends, you can check out Alternative Fitness Studio for $15 a class, or sign up for the $30-for-40-days deal they offer for newcomers.) I’m itching to try a pole class next…after all, after falling in love with calisthenics, mastering the iron-X has officially been added to my fitness bucket list.  Thanks again to Tricia for convincing me to give it a shot and showing me the ropes silks!

Discuss:

Have you ever tried any kind of alternative fitness? How did you like it?

What kind of class/competition/fitness-related-anything are you dying to try?

Can you do an iron -X? (And if you can, can you teach me???)

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3 thoughts on “Monkeying Around: Trying Aerial Silks

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