Have you ever wondered how to flip, fly, and amaze a crowd like a world-class acrobat? If yes, you are in the right place.
Despite common misconceptions, the acrobat’s skills can be mastered by virtually anyone — with the proper instruction and know-how of some fundamental acrobatic exercises.
With the right circumstance, you can learn to practice acrobatic moves, maybe even from your own home. Check first with your health care practitioner that you are in optimal health before you begin.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
Your Practice Space
Before starting out, make sure you have ample room to safely execute your moves. If you are working in a gym, be sure you won’t run into anyone.
At home, clear a level space at least 10’ x 10’ if you have it available and if not, consider taking it outside in if conditions are suitable.
Be sure to wear closely fitted clothes that allow you to move freely.
The warm-up is central to any exercise practice.
Start with some jumping jacks or running in place to raise the heart rate and activate the circulation. When your body is warm, stretch the major muscle groups and mobilize the joints.
Beginning Level Acrobatic Exercises
As you work with stretching the body, you may discover that you have a natural flexibility. If this is the case, you may want to focus on cultivating this talent and stretch your splits, backbend, or lotus position.
Contortion work can range from simple poses to complex and demanding sequences, and it’s wise to find a mentor to help guide you.
Practicing beginner-friendly tumbling skills may require the use of a safety mat or even a trained and qualified spotter who can assist in preventing injury.
- Forward Roll: Also known as a somersault, this familiar move is a simple forward rotation on the floor, with the feet traveling over the head. Be sure to tuck the neck as you roll and try to keep the body as compact as possible.
- Jump and Roll: As a progression from the forward roll, this move starts with a jump and continues through the somersault. You can jump high or low, but try to take off into the roll before the feet hit the floor.
- Tuck Jump: Begin standing, jumping as high as possible, and hugging the knees to the chest mid-air. These are excellent conditioning exercises for the legs and the core. No equipment needed!
- Cartwheel: This is a basic acrobatic skill to master early in your training. Start standing, orienting your body to profile. With a little bit of momentum, put one hand to the floor in front of you at a time, while kicking the back leg up and over to bring you all the way around and back to your feet.
- Aerial Arts: While aerial arts can be accessible to all levels, they do require some preparation with a focus on strength-building. Pull-ups and push-ups will be helpful for building upper-body strength, and core exercises will help with inversions. When you’re strong enough, you can explore the many apparatuses available, such as aerial silks, Lyra or aerial hoop, and aerial straps.
Intermediate and Advanced Acrobatic Exercise
- Handstands: This standing inversion presents a challenge. Start by working your handstand against a wall to get accustomed to the basic position. Keep your spine stacked over your shoulders and your shoulders stacked over your hands. Eventually, you can learn to invert into position by pressing the hands to the floor and floating the feet into the air. Read full detail here.
- Round Off: This move is similar to a cartwheel, but you will land on two feet standing together instead of apart. Dive towards the floor with hands turned ninety degrees to the side. Spring off of them and twist your body to align with your hands and land on both feet together.
- Front and Back Hand Spring: Start standing with arms by your ears. Dive into the floor with two hands. You will move through a handstand position as your legs move toward the floor in a backbend. Spring back up from your hands and land on two feet. For the back handspring, reverse the steps.
- Front and Back Flips: Get comfortable with your somersault and your backbend to prepare for your basic flips. The hands will lead the way to the floor, with the feet following as your body turns in the air.Once you master your acrobatic flips, you will likely find any excuse to show them off.
- Horse Stance: This strengthening move is a preparation for high jumps and comes from the martial arts. Taking a wide stance with your feet, bend the knees and lower the upper body into a low lunge position, knees aligned over the toes. Hold for 60 seconds and repeat. Take the hands in an extended flexed position for an added challenge. Avoid resting your hands on the thighs.
- Partner Acrobatics: Add an extra element to your acrobatic exercises by working with one or more partners. There are many forms and traditions including hand-to-hand work, dance lifts, and acrobatic yoga. These are just a few styles to explore. Working with others brings a new challenge and new fun to the table.
Long considered the exclusive realm of circus performers, elite athletes, and martial arts masters, acrobatic exercises can be learned and perfected by anyone.
Even perceived limitations do not have to bar against this pursuit, with people such as Jen Bricker and Pitu Blazquez paving the way for new generations.
But you don’t have to strive to be an acrobat to practice these acrobatic exercises. Building strength, confidence, and fun, these moves can create a more engaging workout experience.
Everyone needs movement in their lives, why not experience the most creative movement of all with acrobatics?
Feel free to ask me anything in the comment section below.