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Doing This Aerial Hoop Workout Basically Makes You An Acrobat

Ever have one of those days when you want to get your feet off the ground, but you're 100 percent sick of squat jumps and don't feel ready for a hanstand? Yeah, been there. That's how we met — and fell in love with — the aerial hoop workout. It's aerial yoga and pole fitness's more carnival-esque cousin, and TBH, it's a seriously fun fitness challenge. (If you still want to master that handstand, though, this is how you get it done.)

So when the Fitness staff was invited to the Body & Pole fitness studio in New York City to try an Intro to Aerial Hoop — AKA Lyra — workout class for Facebook Live, we couldn't say no. Especially once we heard the class would be led by trainer Elaina Royter, a professional aerialist who's performed throughout the U.S. and across the world.

The class starts out with a fun dance warm-up and stretch, then moves into special hoop conditioning drills. At first, it might seem like all fun and games, but maneuvering around inside the hoop quickly becomes a total-body workout. Not only will flipping around the hoop help you develop killer grip strength, but all the pulling and hoisting up of your bodyweight will call your lats (powerful back muscles that stretch between your armpits and the lower half of your spine), biceps, triceps, and upper back muscles into action. Hanging upside down by just your legs is like the ultimate hamstring curl, too — let go and you're falling to the floor. Oh, and don't forget about your abs, as curling your upper body is all core work. Still, with all of that going on, none of it feels like a workout. And that's how you know a workout is good.

But hey, we get that the idea of twirling through the area can be a slightly terrifying one. That's why you should consider the benefits of overcoming a workout fear. And if you're dying to try it, well, go on and sign up for a class. Though the Body & Pole studio's only location is in New York City, different pole and aerial yoga studios offer aerial hoop workouts nationwide.


Lauren Mazzo

Lauren Mazzo is a digital assistant editor for Shape and Fitness. She's an Ithaca College alumna, a Rochester, NY, native and an NYC transplant.  More →

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