Aerial Dance & Pole Dance Fitness & Tips

If you have ever dreamed of running off to join the circus then you will love aerial dance or pole dance fitness. The trick is finding the right style of aerial and preparing your body for the challenge.

There are many different forms of aerial dance and even though they may look very different they have a few things in common: you need tons of core stability, flexibility, a strong grip and nerves of steel but more on this later.

Here's a quick list to help you get started plus videos to help you decide what type to try...

Types of Aerial

  • bungee - attached to harness
  • extreme - off scafolding or off bridges, or off buildings
  • hoop - on hoop that's hanging from rope (also known as lyra)
  • pole dance - the most common form of aerial
  • static trapeze - what you see circus performers doing
  • silks - on long beautiful fabric also known as tissue
  • single point trapeze - like static but on trapeze or ladders or chairs that moves around in all directions not just back/forth.
  • spanish web - on ropes that swing in all directions
  • straps - like spanish web but with one or two straps

**Many dance companies perform and also teach various forms of aerial.

Nervous about trying pole dance or aerial dance? Any woman looking for more dynamic workouts can do both without injuries or embarrassing falls. Below are the top pole and aerial dance workout tips to get you started.

How to Prepare for Aerial Dance or Pole Dance Workouts

The most important thing you can do to prepare for pole dance is to build some upper body strength, improve your grip, and improve your core strength and stability as well as your flexibility.

Having a weak upper body and a weak grip is the primary reason so many women injure their backs or shoulders.  Having a weak core and no flexibility is the primary reason so many fall.  Get started with 2 set of 8-10 of various types of bodyweight rows and pushups working up to 3 sets of 8.  Rows with exercise straps improve both upper body strength and grip strength. 

**Biggest misconception about pole dance is that pole dancers are all strippers. Jenyne Butterfly teaches classes online with Felix Cane and other circus performers who have never stripped.

You should also add dynamic pushups and core exercises into your upper body routine to teach your core how to stabilize the body in unstable positions and to boost upper body strength further. 2-3 weekly sessions for 3 weeks is very helpful.   You can also get started with basics at home with a pole dance kit.  Just make sure you install it properly to avoid injury.

Pole Fitness & Aerial Dance Class Tips

The three issues that will come up the most when you’re in class are slippery hands, clothes that get in the way, and tightness and tension that doesn’t allow you to move freely. Here are simple solutions that help:

1. Warm-up at home for 5-10 minute. Most good instructors will include a warm-up before class but it’s never long enough. Doing about 5-10 minute of flow yoga at home before class will help you relax and also allow you to move more freely.

2.  Wear dance shorts, yoga shorts or fitted leggings. They both work, it’s really a matter of preference. You will bruise either way (more on that in a bit). 

3.  Avoid moisturizing your body or hands before class to prevent slipping.  If you have sweat hands like I do then take a bottle of hand sanitizer with you to class (the alchol kind) or try Mighty Grip.    

For more tips check Sheila Kelly's video. This actress turned pole dance instructor shares some moves and what pole dancing can do for women. Her S Factor book and dvd's are awesome. 

Pole and Aerial Dance Recovery Tips

After your first few pole dancing lessons or aerial classes your body might feel a bit beat up.  Most people in my aerial dance class said they were sore for nearly a week. My soreness lasted about 3 days.

**The dance company where I take aerial classes teaches single point on trapeze (featured in video) and on other crazy contraptions like the one I'm hanging out in pic.

You will probably get ugly bruises and/or sore upper body especially if you’re not used to exercises that requires you support your own weight.  The best remedy for all that is take a hot shower then ice anything that’s swollen. After you ice for 10 min. apply heat for 10 min. Let it cool then rub in some Biofreeze if sore or try some arnica gel on those ugly bruises.

If you’re feeling extra sore and tight go for an easy 10 minute walk then stretch for 10 minutes or try some swimming or the hot tub. Feel like somebody ran you over with a truck? Try a massage or some foam rolling and try not to worry too much about it. Eventually you get used to it just like you do to any challenging workout.

*More aerial dance class footage.

*Workouts I do for aerial.