What is an aerial sling class?

Physiotherapist at Bupa UK
12 January 2017

It’s week two of 2017 and the second edition of our unconventional fitness class reviews. The celebrations of Christmas and New Year’s Eve are well and truly behind us – even if that second box of mince pies isn’t! This year, we’re replacing our usual list of things to give up with an exciting new ‘Exercises To-Do’ list, and trying out five new ways to keep fit.

If you missed out on last week’s review, take a look at what we thought of our first ever barre class.

Feet in pink trainers, jumping

What are aerial slings?

Aerial classes are circus-inspired workouts. Incorporating gymnastic and acrobatic style moves, you use materials suspended from the ceiling to hold yourself off the ground and master a series of moves.

The aerial sling set up

There are a range of aerial classes to choose from, including aerial hoop, silks, ropes, and slings. We opted for the slings (sometimes called swings or hammocks), hoping we’d have a little more material to cling to.

The class – here’s how it went

Hannah Zreik, Bupa UK physiotherapist, at an aerial slings classThe aerial venue was similar to an indoor sports and recreation centre, rather than a traditional gym or studio. Slings, hoops and silks were suspended from the ceiling and held in place using ropes and weights, while the floors were covered with mats.

Before our class started we had the opportunity to watch some of the ongoing ropes class. The instructor effortlessly climbed, wrapped and swung herself around the rope, demonstrating impressive strength and skill. Needless to say, we were all a little apprehensive about whether or not we’d be able to complete any of the moves.

We started our slings class with a dynamic warm up, including plenty of jogging and stretching. We worked all our major muscle groups, which was really important considering the nature of the class. We then separated into beginner and advanced groups and moved over to the mats, with 2-3 people per sling.

The instructor talked us through some beginner moves, and allowed us each the opportunity to practise. It was definitely not as easy as she made it look! But once we’d each had chance to practise and master the move, we were then shown a more advanced one and given the time to master this.

After much trying, failing, and trying again, we eventually got the hang of it. By the end of our hour, yes we were slightly bruised, but we were sitting, standing, lying, suspending and dangling ourselves from the sling.

The class was just as much about mental determination as it was about physical strength. One thing’s for sure, we each have a new found respect for acrobatic performers, but I don’t think we’ll be running away with the circus any time soon.

The verdict

Alternative fitness classes - aerial slings summary card 

This class is ideal for anyone who is determined, competitive and likes a challenge. It takes a lot of perseverance to master the techniques and moves, so this class is a mental challenge as well as a physical one. Unfortunately it’s not suitable for anyone with an injury or beginners. But if you’re fit and well and want to test your resilience – I’d say go for it!



Stay tuned as next week we dig out our swimming costumes for some Hydro Cycling!

Hannah Zreik
Physiotherapist at Bupa UK

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