Sunday, June 6, 2010

Adventures in Cross-training: Circus Class

After a very busy spring in both running and life, I decided I would tone things down for a month or so to give my body sometime to rest and my IT band sometime to heal. This was actually the plan prior to the IT band flare up, but it became a 'must-do' afterward. Since I don't sit still well and tend to get a bit ornery when not exercising, I decided to look for alternative forms of exercise that don't involve a running/walking motion. So I signed up for Circus class.

I can hear your confusion from here: What the heck is Circus class? No, no we didn't learn how to cram 14 clowns in a VW bug or balance on top of elephants (though that would have been cool), but we did learn a variety of circus techniques and tricks. I did have to resist constantly making circus jokes, and got most of them out in the car ride there (no the did not mime all the instructions to us).

Let me start at the beginning. The local Circus Arts Institute had a trial special a few months ago where you could learn some circus basics and get to know what they offer (90 minute class for $16? You're speaking my grad-student language). Being a lover of all things non-traditional and unusual, I signed up right away, but due to scheduling (thesis and racing), I just got around to going.

Unfortunately, I don't have any photos of my actually experience because I needed both of my hands while hanging upside down from the trapeze, but I have googled some good examples of what I learned and tried. They basically let us try everything in the place to give us an idea of everything you can learn, so of course, I tried everything (even the juggling).

Individual basics: Included things like juggling, tight-wire walking, and balance boards. Great for reaction time, stability work, and core work.

Body Balancing: This was a series of balancing acts with a partner or group. We built various forms of pyramids and aerial balancing tricks. They are really fun and its all about knowing just how to balance and what body parts to balance on. It was a great strength and balance workout and it was really fun to see what crazy shapes we could form.
Not the party trick you try after a few drinks.(credit)
Spanish web: Similar to the rope you used to climb in gym class, but it has a loop at the top and is a lot softer. It was a little challenging to get used to the inch-worm style climbing, but cool none the less. Great for strength and flexibility.
Yep, I looked just like this. (Credit)
Low Trapeze: This was the item I most wanted to try. It was super fun. We learned how to swing up, balance on each leg, swing down into a birds nest, and dismount. Great for balance, strength, and general sense of fun.
We did not wear outfits like this. (credit)
Overall, I really enjoyed circus class. It is a great core, stability, strength, and flexibility workout. There is a whole series you can take to learn more tricks and advanced moves, and they are really good about letting people advance at their own pace. If I end of staying in the ATL (life is ever changing which is why I have been such a poor blogger), I definitely will think about using it as a strength and flexibility workout.

Happy Monday to all!


  1. This looks incredibly cool!

  2. How cool! I have never heard of a circus class, but if one came to KC, I'd be there. What a fun way to enjoy some down time--and keep yourself sane (I know what you mean about getting antsy when not exercising


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