Call it circus conditioning.
For a total-body workout that will leave you sore, but coming back for more, think like an acrobat.
Gyms and studios across the city are devoted to classes in the aerial arts that will have you swinging from trapezes, flipping through hoops and climbing up silk ropes.
“It’s getting more popular worldwide,” said Alex Apjarova, an instructor at Body & Pole who recently finished a stint in La Soiree, a circus/burlesque-inspired show at the Union Square Theater that features jaw-dropping acrobatic feats. “You even have aerial yoga now.”
There’s a reason the off-the-floor workouts are becoming more popular — they get the job done, providing an intense workout that combines flexibility, strength and conditioning exercise.
“You’re actually lifting your own weight, which is the best workout for you,” said Apjarova, who teaches aerial hammock and aerial fabric classes. Added bonus? You’re also giving your brain a workout, as you remember one combination to the next, said Apjarova.
Circus classes also beat the repetition of running or lifting weights for those looking to break up their standard routine.
“I think people are tired of going on the treadmill,” said Brian Anderson, who started InShape Circus in 2005 and has seen it “blow up” in the past two years. “People are looking to increase their functional shape, rather than just their dumbbell strength.”
And as you’re able to climb higher on the fabric, do more tricks on the hoop or just gain more confidence on these apparatuses, the sky’s the limit.
“When I want to run five miles and am sweating at three, I quit, I feel like I’m good,” said Anderson. “But with circus, you’re always learning new techniques. You don’t want to quit.”
If you’re curious about the aerial arts, here are a few places where you can get your circus workout on.
Aerial Arts NYC
Acrobats who’ve performed with Cirque du Soleil, Circus Circus and on Broadway share their expertise in silks, hoop, hammock and more. Group or private lessons are available for all levels, including an aerial conditioning class that combines silks, trapeze, fitness balls and floor exercises for a full-body workout. $35 drop-in rate, 235 E. 49th St., aerialartsnyc.com
Body & Pole
At the world’s largest pole fitness and aerial studio in the world, you’ll find classes in aerial hoop (lyra) and aerial fabrics, aka silks, for a range of levels. You might even find yourself working alongside cast members from Cirque du Soleil and “Pippin.” $25 for first class, $40 after; 115 W. 27th St., 212-334-6900, bodyandpole.com
Since 2010, this training facility has been teaching circus performers in both traditional and contemporary techniques, though those without any pro-aspirations can take beginner classes in flying trapeze, aerial hoop, silks, trampoline and more. $20-$60 for drop-in; 53-21 Vernon Blvd. in Long Island City, 212-751-2174, circuswarehouse.com
This circus arts program partners with such organizations as the 92nd Street Y and Asphalt Green Battery Park City, which boasts a 25-foot-tall ceiling, to offer classes city-wide. Aerial arts classes cover the basics in silks, rope and single and double trapeze, for beginners and advanced aspiring acrobats. Starting at $270 for six sessions, 917-848-4413, inshapecircus.com