When you’re taking a trapeze class for the first time, you really rather hope that you’re not the only newbie.
So when I walked into Twin Cities Trapeze
a few weeks ago I was thrilled when my kind-faced, well-muscled instructor told me that another first-timer would be joining us. “Oh, good!” I thought. “We can bond over our lack of upper body strength.”
Jake then introduced me to Layla, the other novice. I looked to my left and then down two feet because Layla was six years old.
Undeterred, I chatted Layla up. We discussed her prowess on the monkey bars and the argument she’d just had with her mom about whether she should wear shorts or leggings to trapeze class because “I always wear shorts on the playground so I don’t see why I need to wear leggings for this.”
Here’s what you need to know about taking a trapeze class:
1. It’s kind of scary (but not nearly as scary as you’d think)Is it a bit nerve-wracking to climb 28 feet up an insanely narrow ladder before you’re clipped into a harness? Yes. Is it a little terrifying to jump off a tiny platform 28 feet in the air? Also, yes.
But you’re wearing a harness with ropes on each hip and those ropes are being controlled by one very experienced and strong spotter on the ground – sort of the equivalent to belaying
if you’ve ever rock climbed. You’re also swinging over a very wide net and you’re hanging onto something. If you’ve ever cliffdived or bungee jumped it’s waaaaay less scary than that.
2. You’re going to use muscles you didn’t know you had (or needed)
You know what’s hard, you guys? Going from a dead hang to pulling your knees up and hooking them on a bar above your head. Within the space of a few seconds. Sure, I can struggle and paddle my way up there, with lots of grunting and hoiking if you give me 45 seconds – but instantaneously? Let’s not overestimate my abs, friends.
Thankfully, the incredibly patient and kind instructors showed me how to use the momentum of the swing and my own body weight to (finally) get my knees up in a (somewhat) timely fashion.
3. If you’ve got good instructors and you’re vaguely fit, you’ll succeed at this
By the end of my lesson, the instructors taught me how to position my hands and arch my back so another trapeze-er could snatch me off my perch. I was compleeeeeetely doubtful that I’d be able to accomplish this (remember how I paddled my legs up to the bar?) but when you’ve got good instructors, all you really need to do is follow their directions.When the moment came, I stretched my hands back in the W-shape as I’d been taught, stared through my ponytail and yelped when Jake grabbed me by my wrists. I’m flying! I’m a flyer! I’m pretty much ready for my sparkly, spangly outfit now!Even with an entire week of stiff muscles and a few blisters, I’m totally committed to trying trapeze again.
(after I spend a month doing a lot of ab work.)
Have you ever tried trapeze or aerial work? Would you?