A straddle is one of those really annoying moves that looks like it should be fairly easy. It’s actually really hard to get a straddle. Especially being able to lift into it, hold the position and come down gracefully! I receive so many messages from people asking for tips on how to get a good straddle. So I’ve put together some conditioning exercises that will target the muscles you use for a straddle and that use the same movements to help your body work out what it’s supposed to be doing!

The Exercises

Using a knot is a brilliant way to prep for a straddle. It will give you support on your back and will act as a pivot point. This will take some pressure off your arms and core and make it easier to get over. It will also get you used to being upside down without worrying about your hands slipping etc. Once you are comfortable with going over with a small kick, you can then start crunching up and lowering your legs back down slowly. If you move the knot higher it will make it harder as the pivot point will be higher, thus making your muscles work harder. You can also try lifting and lowering with your legs straight to make it even harder. Another really great exercise is to have the knot really low with your legs straight and hips up. As your body is more horizontal it will make it harder to lift your legs. You can do this with either bent or straight legs. As you’ll see in the video, I stuck with bent legs, it’s so much harder than it looks!

Alongside practising doing a straddle on a knot, you can build up strength by doing knee raises. I have included a few variations in the video depending on your ability. Keep your arms bent at a right angle as this is how you would start a straddle. Lift your knees as high as you can without jumping. Gradually increase the height until you can bring your knees all the way up and past your elbows. Also work up to doing a number of knee raises without touching the floor between them.

Once you feel happy with all the conditioning and prep exercises, you will hopefully feel strong enough to straddle. To reduce your risk of injury, you should crunch up into a straddle with no or very little kick, be able to hold it for a few seconds then lower back down. Make sure you push your hips to the ceiling and bend your arms when you lower back down. If you need to really swing into it, or drop out of it, try to do more conditioning exercises to build up to it and try it again when you feel stronger. It’s definitely not an easy move and there are so many other stunning moves to practise as well! Have a look at Aerial Silks Conditioning Exercises for more ways to improve your strength!

How is your straddle? xx