Tips for Climbing Aerial Silks // Tips for climbing aerial silks

(My first time on silks – I assure you I did not put that foot lock on in the air!)

Mia asked a question on Twitter today and since I haven’t prepared a post I thought I’d share a few tips for climbing aerial silks.

I’ve been taking silks for almost a month (1-3x/week) and I have yet to climb successfully, can’t bring my knees to my chest, but I can get to that point. Any training I can do outside of class to get better/tips?

So, for those of you that haven’t been in the air yet, the basic movement for climbing is…wrap one leg around the fabric, then pull up as you crunch your knees toward your chest. Then speedily clamp your free foot on top of the silks wrapped across your climbing foot and stand up.

To do this you’re utilizing your arms to pull yourself up, your abs to bring your knees up and your thighs to stand. So you need to work on each of those areas to be a smooth and successful climber.

PULL: Many beginners have the same problem I did at my first class and start off with zero upper body strength. Arm strength is crucial to practicing aerial because it allows your mind to be free to focus on what the rest of your body is doing instead of “I can’t hold on! I’m losing my grip! I’m slipping!” Instead of dangling in the air trying to get your feet into position, hold the fabric right in front of you making sure to keep your arms bent and locked into your chest. Once your able to hold yourself in place for a few seconds you can see what your legs and feet are doing. These exercises will help build badass arms.

CRUNCH: The second issue lots of students run into is not being able to bring their knees up high enough, so when stand up they’ve only moved a few inches or not at all. Bringing your knees up is all abs, so I recommend purchasing a pull-up bar for pikes (you’ll conveniently be able to work on your arms as well.) V-ups and boat pose are also really helpful to be able to lift your legs with ease. And when in class, try hanging (arms bent into your chest) and work on bringing your knees up, holding it and slowly lowering down.

CLAMP: Once you have the fabric sandwiched between your feet, you should be able to stand on it, leaving your arms fairly free to move about. But you may find that every time you go to clamp down the silks have slipped off your foot. Making sure to keep your wrapped foot flexed will allow you to climb without re-wrapping each time. This takes some practice because the second you realize you’re slipping your feet are the first thing to go, but if you focus on keeping them flexed, you’ll be able to stand in the air and take a few breaths to get your strength back and keep climbing.

STAND: Squats …having powerful thighs is the best way to be a speedy climber. The more leg strength you use to climb, the more arm strength you’ll have left when you get to the top and want to bust out some fly tricks. Start adding squats into your workout routine and not only will you be better on the silks, you’ll also end up with one fine lookin’ ass :)

One of the main things I tell me students when they’re losing strength and starting to flail about is to stop, find a resting pose in the air and take a few second to collect themselves. There are so many factors that go into keeping you from falling that it’s easy to come down, but if you can stand for a second and regroup you might be able to climb higher than you thought.

Good luck Mia!

Anyone else have a question??

Interested in buying your own aerial equipment? I’m sharing everything I use and where I buy it here >>>



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  1. says

    I love your aerial posts! I’ve been taking an aerial fabrics class for about 8 months now and I’m seriously considering performing for the first time. Could you write about your process for putting together a performance (choreography, costumes, etc.)?

  2. Harley says

    I went to my first class today. I was super excited, but i couldn’t get the arm strength to climb or hold myself up. I could pull myself up in the foot lock and hold myself there but i couldn’t move much. Reading through your blog really helped though i knew what to expect so i didn’t let myself get discouraged and i kept on trying

  3. Nikki says

    Thanks for posting this! I’m considering going to my first class next week and this really helps me know what to expect.

  4. Phia m says

    Iv been climbing silks for about six years, and there are actually several other climbs people can try. One of them is called Russian clim, and though a little tricky at first its my go too climb when I’m tired or have rope burns on my feet.:) (never actually interacted with the Internet befor, its a big step for me)