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A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Perfect Aerial Apparatus

Updated: Mar 1

Aerial is one of the best hobbies you can take up in 2024. Aerial offers a unique and challenging way to build strength, flexibility, and grace and it's so much fun you'll never have to drag yourself to class they way you do to the gym. There are so many apparatus to choose from, each with its own set of benefits and challenges, that it can be a little confusing when you don't know where to start! In this guide, we'll explore the factors to consider when choosing the right aerial apparatus for you.

Consider Your Fitness Goals: Before diving into the world of aerial arts, it's crucial to identify your fitness goals. Are you looking to improve your strength, enhance flexibility, or cultivate a sense of artistry and expression? Do you have pre-existing fitness levels or are you starting from scratch? Different aerial apparatuses cater to various fitness aspects, so aligning your goals with the right apparatus is the first step toward a fulfilling experience.

Understand the Basics: Familiarize yourself with the basics of each aerial apparatus. Aerial silks, sling and rope (also known as corde lisse) involve climbing and wrapping movements in the fabric, whilst aerial hoop (also known as lyra) incorporates spins and poses within a suspended hoop made of metal. Trapeze has a combination of both ropes and metal bar whilst pole is all vertical bar. We're not gonna lie here, aerial can hurt, it can bruise and pinch and constrict. Understanding the fundamentals of each piece and how it feels will help you choose an apparatus that resonates with your preferences and physical abilities. You might not mind the feel of the metal bar against your muscles, but you might hate feeling constricted by the silks, or vice versa. Maybe you enjoy the spinning and flying sensation you get from pole but can't stand trying to wrap fabric around yourself. Perhaps you'll enjoy the vertical element of silks but prefer the simplicity of the rope instead.

Assess Your Physical Abilities: Every aerial apparatus demands a certain level of strength, flexibility, and coordination. Assess your current physical abilities and choose an apparatus that complements your strengths while providing room for improvement. For instance, if you want a gentle start to your aerial journey you might enjoy aerial yoga and sling. If you're up for a bit more of a challenge but have no pre-existing fitness levels then aerial hoop and pole are great starting points. There's a lot you can do in silks without any upper body strength and you'll build it very quickly as you go along. If you do have existing strength and you want a new way to use it, rope and straps are great classes to start with, as well as all the others above.

Explore Personal Preferences: Aerial arts are not just about fitness; they are also a form of artistic expression. Consider your personal preferences when choosing an apparatus. Do you enjoy the fluidity of silks, the elegance of aerial hoop, or the flying freedom of pole? The more you connect with the apparatus, the more motivated and engaged you'll be in your training. Try watching videos of different aerial performances and see which ones speak to you.

Trial and Error: It's perfectly normal to try different aerial apparatuses before finding the one that resonates with you the most. At Cloud we have the widest range of disciplines in the North West and we have beginner classes in every one. Try out some classes or workshops for various disciplines to get a taste of each. This hands-on experience will provide valuable insights into your preferences and comfort levels and we know you'll find one you love.

Seek Professional Guidance: Speak to our instructors, they can guide you through the learning process and offer personalized advice based on your fitness goals and abilities, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience. Professional instruction also accelerates your learning curve, helping you progress faster in your chosen aerial discipline.

With a myriad of aerial apparatuses available, each boasting its unique charm, it's essential to navigate the choices wisely. Below, we'll delve into the distinctive qualities of silks, trapeze, aerial yoga, pole, aerial hoop, straps and corde lisse to help you find the perfect match for your aerial aspirations.

Aerial Silks:

Aerial silks, also known as aerial fabric or tissue, involve climbing, wrapping, and performing acrobatic movements on long suspended pieces of fabric. This apparatus emphasizes

strength, flexibility, and dynamic sequences.

Ideal for: Those who enjoy the fluidity of movements, intricate wraps, and challenging inversions. Aerial silks provide a versatile canvas for both strength-building poses and graceful, flowing routines. You don't need a base level of strength to start this class and you will still achieve plenty, but be prepared for a few weeks of challenging work as you build your strength.


Trapeze is a classic aerial apparatus that comes in two forms: static and swinging. We teach static trapeze in our studio, which involves performing poses and movements on a stationary bar.

Ideal for: Individuals who appreciate a combination of artistic and dynamic movements as well as the classic look of the circus. Trapeze allows for elegant poses and graceful swings, making it an excellent choice for those drawn to the theatrical aspects of aerial arts. Trapeze is a great class for people with no base level of fitness as it's a gradual introduction.

Aerial Yoga:

Aerial yoga combines traditional yoga poses with the support of a fabric hammock. It provides a unique fusion of yoga, aerial arts, and inversion therapy, promoting flexibility, balance, and relaxation.

Ideal for: Aerial yoga is accessible to all fitness levels and offers a gentle introduction to the aerial arts, focusing on alignment and mindfulness. Also perfect for yoga enthusiasts seeking a playful and challenging dimension to their practice.

Aerial Hoop (Lyra):

Aerial hoop, also known as lyra, consists of a circular steel apparatus suspended in the air. It involves spins, poses, and dynamic movements within and around the hoop, highlighting strength and flexibility.

Ideal for: Those who enjoy the elegance of circular movements and artistic poses. Aerial hoop combines strength with grace, making it a captivating choice for individuals with a flair for visual aesthetics. Aerial hoop is also another great introduction to aerial arts as we start the journey slowly with lots of accessible moves before progressing onto the tricks that require more strength.

Rope (Corde Lisse):

Overview: Corde lisse, or aerial rope, involves performing acrobatic movements on a vertically hanging rope. This apparatus demands upper body strength, grip, and coordination for climbs, drops, and dynamic maneuvers.

Ideal for: Adventurous individuals seeking a physically demanding and visually striking aerial experience. Corde lisse allows for powerful and dramatic movements, making it an excellent choice for those with a penchant for intensity. This is one for people with a base level of fitness, although you don't have to be crazy strong to start.

Aerial Straps:

Aerial straps involves performing on vertically hanging fabric straps. This apparatus demands a high level of strength, control, and coordination for intricate wraps, rolls, and dynamic movements. Aerial straps showcase a unique combination of power and artistry, providing a platform for mesmerizing displays of strength and fluidity. One of our most popular classes, this is a physically demanding discipline with a linear progression towards fitness based goals, which have proven very popular with people who seek mindfulness from challenging physical activity.

Ideal for: Individuals seeking a challenging and visually captivating aerial experience. Aerial straps offer a dynamic mix of strength and grace, making it an ideal choice for those who are drawn to the aesthetics of controlled and intricate movements. Our straps classes are nearly always full, find out why!

Pole Dancing:

Pole dancing is a highly athletic and artistic form of aerial arts. This apparatus involves performing on a vertical pole, incorporating spins, climbs, inversions, and transitions that require strength, flexibility, and body awareness. At Cloud we have both the traditional exotic style pole and the tricks based pole fitness classes so whatever your style you'll find it with us.

Ideal for: Those who enjoy a combination of dance, strength training, and self-expression. Pole dancing is a versatile and empowering form of aerial arts, allowing individuals to explore a wide range of movements and styles, from sensual and fluid to dynamic and acrobatic.

Choosing the right aerial apparatus is a personal exploration that blends physical fitness with artistic expression. Whether you're enticed by the ethereal beauty of silks, the serene practice of aerial yoga, or the intensity of corde lisse, each apparatus offers a unique journey into the captivating world of aerial arts. As you navigate these choices, consider your preferences, fitness goals, and desire for artistic expression to find the perfect apparatus that will allow you to soar to new heights in your aerial journey. Try a class with us today to start your aerial journey, we know you'll find one you fall in love with! You can see our full timetable here and choose a class you want to try today!

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