Last spring when I was interning at SELF magazine I started to hear a lot about trapeze as the next fitness trend. Celebrities were doing it, Equinox was incorporating it into its classes and Cirque du Soleil was going strong. I always thought it seemed thrilling, so when my friend Sam asked me to join her for a class one day, I was all in.
We headed to the España-Streb Trapeze Academy in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for their half-price Wednesday evening classes. It was right before Christmas, so the two-hour class was fairly empty. We arrived a little late (thank you, NJ Transit!), but still had plenty of time to swing. It was Sam’s second time on the bar but my first, so one of the instructors gave me the fastest introductory session (literally, two minutes) on a stationary low bar in the warehouse circus-y gym.
For some reason I had thought trapeze would be like simple, mindless swinging, and I was surprised at how much physical exertion it took. For starters, the bar is heavy. Like, quite heavy. You also have to keep your body “tight” when you swing, which goes against any natural impulse, and use it to build and maintain momentum. It’s definitely an adrenaline rush, though, especially when you take the first hop/mini jump (“but don’t look down!”) off the platform.
The instructors really just trust in your physical capabilities and throw you into it, encouraging you to try some simple tricks even your first time in class. I attempted a knee hang my second time up and succeeded, which was exciting. Sam, however, was a little more advanced than me it being her second time in class, and she actually did a knee hang and then had one of the instructors swinging on a neighboring bar grab her extended arms and catch her. Unfortunately I didn’t catch that one act on film, but I do have some photos and videos of our swings at Streb.
If you’re feeling up to it, I definitely recommend trying out a flying trapeze class, but be warned — your arms, back and abs might be absurdly sore for a few days afterward.
–Karina for TKGO