Up in the Air: An Intro to Aerial Workouts
Fitness & Training Jun 7, 2016
Up in the Air: An Intro to Aerial Workouts

Ever thought about getting your workout in the air? Aerial workouts are quickly catching on as a fun and exciting new way to exercise. Not sure which kind of aerial workout suits you best? Have a look at our list below and see what interests you!

Aerial Silks

Aerial silks are two strips of fabric that are hung from one single point, generally at a minimum 21 feet off the ground. The fabric is extremely strong but with some give, usually a polyester lycra or nylon.

An aerial silks workout generally combines climbing, hanging, and twisting. There are lots of different workouts and classes available that use the silks, with some of them most of them being one or more parts gymnastics, dance, and circus performance. No matter what kind of moves you’re doing you’re guaranteed an excellent core and upper body workout and since you’re off the ground, it’s also low impact.

Aerial Hoops

An aerial hoop is a metal ring suspended from the ceiling that is used for hanging, twisting and posing off the ground. Since the hoop can spin or swing, it takes a great deal of strength in your core and arms to stabilize it while performing your moves.


A standard act in any circus, everyone is familiar with the trapeze, a horizontal bar hanging from two ropes, leaving it free to swing while the aerialist hangs and performs acrobatic moves in midair before catching the bar again. Focusing, like most aerial exercises, on the core and upper body, trapeze work can provide a moderate amount of cardiovascular workout since it’s a bit faster paced. And swinging high above the ground is bound to get your heart pumping!

Fusion Workouts

All of these workout options are part of a trend in the fitness world toward “fusion workouts.” As the name suggests, these workout practices derive their benefit from combining more than one fitness regimen to create, hopefully, something new.

So, how much of a workout do you get from these various aerial techniques? While the primary benefits are building core (especially lower abs, which are difficult to target) and upper body (arm & shoulder) strength, you end up with a good full body workout.

A recently published study by the American Council on Exercise found that a 50 minute session of aerial workout burned 350 calories and yielded heart rate increases that were similar to those achieved by brisk walking or cycling at a relaxed pace.  During a six- week practice with 50 minute sessions three times weekly, participants saw improvement in body weight, body fat percentage and blood pressure, lowering their risk of a cardiac event by 10%.

Aerial workouts appear to offer a good level of exercise, strengthening core and upper body muscles, allowing stretching of the entire body and even providing some cardiovascular benefits. In addition, they are fun and unique additions to more traditional workout modalities.