If you want to improve your aerial skills, strength training is so important. During your aerial practice, you will build a variety of different muscles, but supplementing your practice with extra strength training sessions is the best way to improve your skills. 

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Your upper body and core are the most important areas to focus on. Whether you are working out at the gym or at home, these are some of the best strength exercises to improve your aerial skills. 


The pull-up is at the heart of many aerial moves, so practicing your pull-up skills is vital during your strength training sessions. The great thing is, you can easily do it at home with a simple pull up bar that fits over the door.

A standard pull-up will build muscles in your arms, chest, back and core. However, if you really want to improve, you should look at some different pull-up variations to target specific muscle groups.

Hanging knee raises, for example, are brilliant for improving your grip strength while also building core muscles. One arm pull-ups are perfect if you have a strength imbalance that you need to even out. Doing different variations also keeps things fresh because doing pull-ups every day quickly gets boring. 

Dumbbell Exercises 

Dumbbell exercises are great for building various upper body muscles. You can either get your own set at home or join a gym, like Fitness 19, where you will have access to a wider range of weights and equipment.

A simple dumbbell bench press is one of the best exercises for building strength in your chest. If you want to build up your back muscles, a single arm bent over row is perfect. Dumbbell exercises are very versatile and they allow you to target specific muscle groups, so you can make sure to get a rounded workout. 

Core Exercises 

Building a strong core is vital if you want to improve your aerial practice, so make sure that you have plenty of core exercises in your routine. Sometimes, it’s the simplest exercises that are best, like the plank or simple sit-ups. These are easy exercises that you can fit into your daily routine. If you are looking for more active core exercises, standing twists and high knees are both great. 

Flexibility Exercises 

Flexibility is so important in aerial and if you have been doing a lot of strength training, your muscles can get quite stiff. That’s why it’s a good idea to make flexibility exercises a part of your regular training routine as well. You should also add some ballistic stretching exercises to your routine to improve your range of motion.

These can be used as a great warm-up exercise before you get into your strength training routine. If you keep up with the strength training and you incorporate flexibility moves as well, you will notice a huge difference to your aerial practice. 

Although strength training isn’t as fun as aerial, it’s very important if you want to build the core and upper body muscles that you need to improve your aerial skills. 

What do you include in your fitness training program for aerial silks? I would love to know.

In happiness and health,

Vanessa Barthelmes.

Check out my flexibility classes and online coaching.

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