Things to know before your first aerial straps class

I attended my first ever straps workshop during Maactober 2019 and I can safely say I was completely blown away with the discipline. Even though it does require a certain degree of strength, I would encourage anyone who is interested to give it a try regardless of previous experience.

We can all agree that aerial straps is not only super cool but incredible to watch. If you’re thinking of joining the aerial revolution and learning to perform on straps, then here are a few things you should know before your first class.

Long sleeves and wrist wraps

As straps are predominately wrapped around your wrists, you’ll want to have a layer of protection between the nylon and your skin. Tubular bandages are the number one choice for aerialists. They’re super cheap and can be picked up from most chemists or supermarkets. Also, it doesn’t hurt to have long sleeves on as well.

Sore hands

Even though your wrists will take most of the tension, your hands may still end up being sore due to ‘beginners death grip’ on the straps. The nylon material can be pretty hard on your hands until you learn to trust your wrap.

Top tip – If your hands continue to hurt, try extending your tubular bandage to your knuckles with a hole cut out for your thumb. This will protect your palm and ease the pain.

Tell your instructor if you have any injuries

This may be a given but its good practice to always inform your instructor of any injuries you have. If they’re aware, then moves and exercises can be modified so you can still take part and train safely.

I was training while recovering from a sprained wrist so please listen to your body and if it hurts, STOP!

Lats not biceps

Aerial straps is mostly trained using straight arms so that means no biceps! As I found out, the lats and shoulders need do all the upper body work which makes transitions and shapes flow more seamlessly so this is a challenge in itself.

Bonus… if you keep at it, your back will look amazing!

Leave your ego at home

Even though straps requires strength and (some) flexibility, this doesn’t mean you’ll be expected to preform a perfect flare or touch the floor with your toes during skin the cat.

Working hard to achieve your goals without comparing yourself to others is more beneficial than giving up straight away because you can’t nail a flawless meat hook on your first try.

And finally… just have fun

As the old saying goes – “Work hard and play hard” sums up most aerial disciplines perfectly. Enjoying your class while learning new skills, meeting new people and being the best version of yourself when training will help you develop your skills.

If you want to find out more about straps, send me a message or leave me a comment.

How to tape up an aerial hoop

Training on a “naked” hoop can be tough if you’re wearing leggings as the lack of skin contact makes holding on near impossible. Many aerialist tape up their hoops to improve grip, prevent skin chafing and to add a bit of colour.

What’s the correct way to tape up my hoop?

One way is to tape all the way around then add an extra layer of tape on the bottom third. However, not only will this increase the chance of the tape being unstuck and coming off but it’s also a waste of tape.

Alternatively, you can tape from the bottom up on side to the top then repeat on the other side which seems to be a bit of a time waster as well as again, there’s a chance the tape will roll and unravel after a while.

The best way I’ve found it to just start at the top, wrapping with a third of the tape overlapping and voila – a lovely dressed up hoop with minimal effort.

What will I need?

Your aerial hoop, a couple of roll of sports tape, some chalk and patience. That’t it!

What tape do I use for wrapping my hoop?

Most aerialists will use cotton based athletic tape with Mueller M-Tape being the popular choice. It comes in a wide range of colours so there is not limitations to how creative you can get. 

There are many other tapes available on the market so try different brands until you find the best one for you.

How long will it take?

It only takes me 15 minutes from beginning to end. I find the best way is to sit on the floor so I can rest the hoop on my knees and move it around easily.

Having a nice clear space and everything you need in arms reach makes the whole process quick and efficient.

How many rolls of tape will I need?

I used two rolls which are 9m each. This is enough for a 95cm hoop with a little left over for patching up wear and tear.

How do I get rid of the stickiness?

Every aerialist will know that new tape will make your hands sticky and the annoyance of the tape sticking to your clothes. However, you don’t need to buy anything fancy or expensive to prevent this. 

After consistent use, the tackiness will subside but if you want an instant fix then a light dusting of climbing chalk is the easiest solution. Don’t have any chalk? – then use some talc instead then brush off any excess. Easy peasy!

Do I need to buy ‘Pre-prep spray’?

The answer is no. It’s just a quick sale for most companies and is a completely unnecessary spray. The tape is plenty sticky without any added help.

Do I need to clean my hoop before re taping?

Not really but if you want to you can. Who am I to tell you how to live your life.

Finally…

Let your creativity go wild and wrap that hoop in the way that it makes you happy. After a few re-wrappings you’ll find your flow and what techniques work for you.