Want to practice at home? That's great!  Here are some guidelines to help you stay safe.  

Written by Joanie Garcia, Program Director of Flagstaff Aerial Arts.  

  • Use The Right Gear. Order equipment from a reputable source such as Aircat Aerial Arts or Aerial Essentials. Do not use materials from the hardware store.  Inspect your gear regularly.  
  • Rig only from load bearing beams.  Use a protective barrier such as a carpet swath wrapped around your beam to protect your spanset/polyester round sling from wear and tear.  Make sure that the beam you rig from is load tested to 1,000 lbs.  
  • Never practice aerial without an enveloping mat underneath.  Before considering how much it will cost to purchase a home setup, be sure to take into account the cost of an 8 inch enveloping mat.  You can make your own mat cover and order 8" thick foam to make it more affordable, but don't skip the mat! You can get a mat from matsmatsmats.com for $318. Your head and spine is worth $319, isn't it? Yes it is.  
  • Training: Instruction will help you avoid costly injuries.  The most common injury in aerial arts is to the shoulder.  Working with an aerial instructor not only will improve your form but it will insure that you learn proper body technique to stay safe in the air.  I started out training by myself as a young aerialist because I lived 8 hours away from the closest training facility.  The first year I did aerial arts I caused some significant damage to my shoulders.  I can never undo the damage I did that year, but when I started training with an instructor, I noticed a dramatic difference not only in my ability but also in my quality of movement and reduction of shoulder pain.  You can learn aerial arts on your own, but you will learn much more and have a more quality experience learning from trained professionals.    
  • Learning by watching videos: We all love watching videos! The more you train with a professionally trained aerial instructor, the more you will SEE when you are watching those videos.  Before trying things out on your own, share videos with your instructor and start a conversation. How was their shoulder rotation? How did their hip placement keep their body engaged in that silk wrap?  Was the performer I saw on Youtube doing this move safely and correctly?   The more you work with a trained professional, the more you will understand the body mechanics of aerial technique and learn how to stay safe when testing out the moves you see.  You will learn if you are ready to execute the moves you see in your videos in a safe and healthy way.  Your instructor will also have an opportunity to let you know if they do not feel that you are ready to try the move you saw in the video.  Do not try out new moves alone and without the supervision of a trained instructor.  It's not worth it! Here's a great article from our friends at Versatile Arts in Seattle, WA about learning from Youtube.  

Additional Resources:

http://www.delberthall.com/ - subscribe to Delbert's super educational rigging newsletters. They are amazing! 

https://aerialessentials.com/index.php?route=information/information&information_id=12 - more resources on rigging

http://www.paperdollmilitia. com/Aerial_ABCs.html - shoulder and aerial body technique tutorials from our buds, Paper Doll Militia