Taken A Class At The Circus Center

"Time is a circus, always packing up and moving away."
Ben Hecht

Earlier this year, I bought a Groupon for some classes at the
Circus Center of San Francisco, which included Aerial and Acrobatics training. Tonight, I took a class in Aerial Conditioning. The Circus Center is located near the Haight Street right across from Kezar Stadium.

After checking in and signing a waiver, our instructor Elena Panova had us run around the room 20 times. This was followed by a series of bodyweight movements that required both flexibility and coordination. These were done across the length of the room and back:
- squat, touch the floor in front, touch the floor below, and touch the floor through the legs behind
- knee up, kick out, lunge, up, and repeat with the other leg
- touch the floor at the feet, crawl the arms forward into a plank, do two push-ups, crawl the feet to the hands, repeat (this was done backwards in the reverse direction)
- keeping the hollow body intact, jump forward without bending the knees (also backwards in the other direction)
- start in a hollow body, do two sit-ups, roll onto the stomach, do two supermans, repeat
- holding onto a partners legs, kick up toward the partner while they push the legs in various directions (30 times)

This was tough, and when I looked at my watch, I realized it was no where near close to the end of class. This was tiring.

Next, we got into the big gym room, where they have all kinds of circus apparatuses. We took turns doing rope climbs, and while I was used to climbing the rope one way, Elena taught me how to do it a completely different way. Her method was much more graceful than mine.

After the rope climbs, we went to the trapeze room. We hung upside down and practiced engaging our core. This was followed by ten skin the cats and some very painful hanging sit-ups.

Finally, we did 20 pull-ups and 30 leg lifts holding the bar. After everything that we had done already, my forearms, grips, and wrists were totally burning, so this last part was tough. We followed that up with some good stretching.

After class, I hung around for a few minutes admiring the acrobatics other people in the room were doing.

One of the guys was an expert juggler.

I found that the exercises used for conditioning for acrobatic and aerial maneuvers are similar to the ones used for gymnastics and the reason is that efficient and aesthetically pleasing human movement tends to look the same. It's a hollow body position and an engaged core.

I had a ton of fun in this class, even if I did get totally tired and sore from it. I learned a lot, and I'd totally recommend it to other people. It's an enjoyable way to improve your fitness and learn some new skills. I always condone that.
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