Training male acrobats

Published on June 7th, 2013 | by Joe Starks


Weird Workouts: Circus Workouts

When we see the acrobats of Circus du Soleil we admire the perfect bodies of the performers and their amazing acrobatic skills. They swing on the trapeze as if they were born to fly and they balance on objects like cats. When you see their skills you can’t help but think that you have to be born to do something so hard and amazing. Yet that is not necessarily true.

All across America a new type of fitness club has emerged. The so called circus fitness clubs offer you a chance to become one of those graceful acrobats, defying gravity on a trapeze. Together with basic dance and yoga lessons, you get the chance to train in the air or on other circus equipment.

One of the important facts to remember about circus training is that it is mostly low impact. This means that you can start at any age and not worry about ruining your joints. It is a sport that needs strength and passion, as well as a pretty good health. People who suffers from heart or respiratory disease should have a serious talk with their doctor before attempting to join a circus fitness club. People who already suffer from painful joint pains should also consider it very seriously, because the strength you need to keep yourself in the air can be painful.

Some of the typical circus fitness exercises are:

  • Trapeze and low trapeze swinging. Those swing-like contraptions help you pose in the air, using the swinging momentum to change poses and do a variety of aerial exercises. Just swinging back and forth can be a great exercise for those who are not used to it yet.
  • Juggling. Learning how to handle throwing up items and catching them rhythmically can be a very fun experience. You look cool while doing it and it is a trick you can show to your friends. Juggling improves hand eye coordination and relieves the stress.
  • Tightwire. Balancing your way across a tight wire is probably the perfect exercise to improve your overall balance. Learning to do it is one thing, but doing it gracefully and easily is another. This exercise will keep you working for quite a while before you can sport your amazing balancing act.
  • Aerial fabric or silks. These are long ribbons of fabric hanging from the ceiling. By binding them around your body you can exercise in the air, twisting in the fabric and striking amazing poses. Exercising while ignoring gravity is very good for the musculature, as you move in ways new to your body.
  • Hand balancing. Using your hands instead of your feet to train helps you improve upper body strength, while also helping you coordinate your limbs in new ways.
  • Balance board. This board usually balances on a single wheel or object. To exercise on the balance board you must learn to alter your balance according to that of the board beneath you.
  • Hula-Hooping. Training your midrift helps you improve your core strength, which is vital when you want to hang on a trapeze or from aerial fabrics. To be good at circus fitness you need to be able to use your core efficiently.
  • Strength training. To lift your body up with your arms alone you need to do some serious strength training beforehand. Lifting weight or training with resistance ropes will get you to that level if you are diligent.
  • Circus rings. This is an exercise that will strengthen your whole body, with emphasis on your arms and back. Training on circus rings is important to get control of your body, learning how to keep your body straight and when to twist it.


Circus training might not be for everyone, but if your health is generally good you can join a circus fitness club at any age. You need strength and some serious passion to so such a quirky training. The end result is worth any effort, as you will become a graceful and strong athlete.

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