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How to Master the Flying Trapeze

Whether you have hopes of joining the circus, or you just want to experience the exhilaration of flying through the air, swinging from a trapeze is something anyone can learn.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Once you're comfortable doing the knee hang, tackle the "knee-hang catch." Hang from your knees, and stretch out your arms over your head towards the outstretched hands of the trapeze artist swinging towards you. At the very top of your swing, let them grab your wrists first; then you grab theirs. Don't forget to release your knees from the bar!
  • TIP: Be patient: It may take a few tries to master this.
  • TIP: Make sure you don't have any cream, lotion, or oil on your hands or they'll be too slippery to grab onto the other flyer.
  • Step 2: Practice. It will not only help you master your acrobatic aerial moves -- it'll give your entire body a great workout, too.
  • FACT: The flying trapeze was invented by Frenchman Jules Leotard in 1859; the word "leotard" comes from the garment he created to wear during his aerial antics.
  • Step 3: Learn the "knee hang": Swing away from the platform, then follow your instructor's commands to bring your knees up to your chest, hook your legs over the bar, and release your grip on the trapeze bar.
  • Step 4: Step off the platform and swing back and forth by your arms a few times to get the feel of it. Dismount by letting go of the bar when you're on the forward end of the swing, crossing your arms onto your chest, and falling into the net on your back.
  • Step 5: Sign up for a flying trapeze class; many large cities offer them. Wear tights, yoga pants, or sweats; a fitted T-shirt that covers your stomach; and socks or ballet slippers. Secure your hair away off your face.
  • Step 6: Do about 15 minutes of warm-ups before your class, like jumping jacks, push-ups, and shoulder rolls.
  • Step 7: Practice hanging upside down on a trapeze, your legs hooked over the bar at your knees, on a stationary training bar a few feet above the ground.
  • Step 8: Prepare for flight: get suited up in a safety harness; then climb the ladder to a platform. While holding onto the platform pole with one hand, lean over and grab the trapeze bar with the other. Now comes the fun part: let go of the pole so you can grab onto the bar with your other hand.
  • : Trapeze-flying involves risks. Pregnant women and people with health conditions that preclude strenuous activity should not participate.

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