Hi, I’m a circus instructor who’s moved to a small town and getting my own equipment to train and teach. I’ve been scouring the internet forever and reading everything I can before ordering the best hardware for my silks and trapeze. I’ve been wanting to have everything steel but so much is aluminum. How do you feel about steel vs aluminum? Are you still happy with your swivel from amazon? How do you decide when to retire your hardware?
Hi Brittney – Thanks for your question. I’ve heard many people say (with who knows what data backing their opinion) that steel is better than aluminum. I generally hear this from older union riggers, but have a very trusted friend who has worked as a rigger for Cirque for many years and builds custom aerial equipment, that there is not enough difference to choose one over the other. A rating is a rating is a rating – as long as your carabiners are appropriately rated for the workload you should be good to go.
Another highly debated topic is when to retire equipment. My first silk is about to be retired after sprouting quite a few runs in the fabric over the past month. It had a tiny hole, which turned into a run and now that those have multiplied it’s time to be replaced. If your silk has a tear near the bottom, cut it off and use it as a shorter silk or hammock.
For carabiners, there is a myth that once dropped, they should be replaced. If everyone followed this rule we’d have a whole stock pile of perfectly good retired equipment. As long as there is no visible damage and the gate and locking mechanism still work I’d continue to use it. Carabiners that are deformed, have deep gouges or excessive wear should be replaced. I replace my carabiners every two years since they’re being used multiple times daily. Obviously hardware that is used occaccionaly for lovely graceful spins on a lyra is going to last longer than hardware used for daily drops from 20 feet in the air.
For spansets, if the core of a polyester spanset is visible or there are kinks or broken strands in a metal spanset, it’s time to retire it.
And regarding swivels – over the past four years I’ve used nothing but Black Diamond rotors and have never had them lose their spin or come close to breaking – definitely recommend!
For anyone else interested in aerial equipment and rigging, I’ve shared all my favorites here >>>
I’m a beginner in aerials and my knuckles, hands, and forearms are very achy well into a class and the days after. Is there anything you recommend for strengthening grip and anything besides ibuprofen/Tylenol to relieve the achy hand joints afterward?
Hi Ashlay – The good new is, that after a few weeks your body will get used to all this climbing and your hands will stop becoming so sore. Pay attention in class to what we call ‘the death grip.’ Notice if you’re holding on extra tight because you’re unsure your body will hold you up or are nervous being in the air. A lot of new students grip much tighter than necessary – a little sliding is OK.
Achy hands like to be warm after class and in between sessions a good hand/arm massage always helps to relax aching muscles and joints. I use a grip trainer like this a few times a week to strengthen my hands and forearms as well.
I took an introductory aerials class yesterday and I fell in love. Aerials are only offered one or two times a week in my area, so I want to do as much as I can in the off days to improve my strength and flexibility. (Right now I can barely climb!) Do you have any suggestions for supplemental workouts (especially for flexibility) that I could do to help me improve at aerials?
Shelly – These posts should really help with flexibility and strength. When stretching, I recommend holding poses for 5 to 10 minutes. This will break down connective tissue and actually lengthen your muscles instead of just giving you a good stretch. Make sure you’re already warmed up, so you don’t pull anything. In our aerial classes we only stretch at the end after we’re warm head to toe. For quick aerial strength, the dreaded pull-ups, push-ups and crunches will do wonders :)
Sleepy selfie (hate that word!) in between classes yesterday
Thank you for all your sweet comments on Friday. I swear these past few weeks are trying to do me in, but things are a bit better now. Generally after a few days of being knocked down I get back up angry and more motivated than before. I hate to say this shit happens for a reason, but maybe it does.
Here’s my gratitude list for fighting against bad ish: tons of new students in class this week, friends who listening to me complain and leave bottles of Malbec at my door, a new striped hat, snuggly piglet sleeping with his face right on my shoulder, waking up with great hair, and watching The Punk Singer (Kathleen Hanna is so damn cool.)
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Currently reading Crush It! Why now is the time to cash in on your passion >>>
AND! Sarah is giving away a Solution Session – small businesses, GET ON THIS! >>>
No Fix-It Friday today, dealing with some personal stuff. It will be back next week <3