It’s common for polers to dip into other aerial activities, each of the equipment kind of blend into one and you find yourself trying all of them at once. We all come from the same family! Some polers just stick to pole, but I’ve met a lot of people who started on hoop, or silks, and have only tried pole once or twice. It really depends where your interests lie. Each equipment is different in its own way, some are definitely harder than others.
I’m now just on 4 years experience in pole, and the benefits I got from this when starting other aerial arts were very clear! I first tried hoop, which I will openly admit wasn’t a struggle for me, as I am strong and have good balance, similar with trapeze. Trapeze is a different kind of balance, of course, it all feels familiar but slighty different when you try them all. Silks are the most difficult, in my opinion, they move with you, whereas the pole stands still! That was a shock to the system I can tell you, climbing was different for sure.
Here’s my list of what I’ve found when starting aerial after being four years a pole monkey –
1 – Hoop hurts.
You think ‘nothing hurts more than gripping the pole but you get used to it’, well, think again. A wrapped hoop means you have to wear leggings, that’s fine, but you don’t expect the searing pain when you put yourself into a hip hold. The hoops are a lot thinner, so the bar sits right under your hip bone, into your muscles (YAY) and you move slightly it adds a CRUNCH as the hoop moves over your bone. Lovely! All your weight is on the hip. Honestly, I was not prepared for that pain, especially when doing hip hold splits. Using back of the knee grip on a thinner, wrapped bar hurts more too, as you’re using more tension to grip, not relying on your skin to do half the job. Of course, I would say this now, when pole doesn’t really hurt me anymore, but if you still feel the pole burn then you can fight the other corner over which hurts more!
2 – SILKS ARE NOT A POLE.
So when you climb the silks it’s a massive shock to your muscle memory, as they realise it is A LOT bloody harder than a pole. Obviously. Problem is, they hang like a pole, use a lot of similar moves, and your body goes ‘yeah sure just invert hook that leg wait, why am I sliding, MY LEG IS HOOKED oh wait there’s no skin to help so I’m just sliding ok’. It’s so different entirely, harder to grip, less stable and a lot more challenging – but they’re very impressive.
3 – *Blank face* ‘go up normal pole invert then butterfly’ OHHHH
Basically, I need every new move on any equipment translated to re assure me! I mean, it’s not essential for me to know what I’m doing, but I do love it when the instructors translate for me, just makes it a little easier when I am getting into the move.
5 – You think your hands burn now, think again
Hoop burn, silks burn, rope burn oh it never ends! The wrap on the hoop can get sticky too, so you end up with bright red, burning, black fluffy sticky hands too. Smaller hoop means it’s a different type of grip to the pole, your hands wont be used to a smaller size. If you slide down the silks still holding on, like you would do on the pole, it will BURN like the pits of hell. Same with rope – don’t slide down the rope with bare skin, just don’t, that would be silly, wouldn’t it.