For my birthday this year I wanted to do something really memorable. My memory isn’t that great to begin with so I like to mark certain times in my life with very memorable events. Going to a trapeze class was something in the back of my mind to do at some point, and when I found out there was one in DC that had a few spots left in a class on my actual birthday — that was that. I was going to trapeze school for my 31st birthday. I definitely will NOT forget it.
The school I went to was Trapeze School New York in DC. The class sizes are small so they do fill up in advance so plan ahead if there’s a certain date you want to go. You need to wear tight-fitting clothing that covers your knees, and socks. Your knees will be wrapped around the bar, so that is important. The beginners class I went to was two hours long. I think I got to swing about 6 or so times (see, I don’t remember). By the 6th time, my hands wouldn’t have been able to take any more anyway.
What hurt? My hands hurt after just a few swings. I must have had a death grip on the bar or something because I was the only one who’s hands where hurting. There was no way I was going to be able to go one more time after my last swing. Had I done it during the time I was regularly doing CrossFit they probably wouldn’t have hurt as bad. Am I sore? Yes. Yes yes. Mostly my pecs, upper arms, lats, shoulders, and chest area. Lots of muscles you don’t use all the time unless you are doing pull-ups regularly. Also my calves and abs are sore a little. Maybe from tensing up? Not sure.
Most people are most interested in hearing — was it scary? So I’m not typically afraid of heights. I love repelling, rock climbing, etc. Anything with a safety rope, and I feel ok about it. Usually I’m slightly nervous and my heart is pumping a little fast right at first, but I don’t freak out. This was pretty much the same way. You have safety ropes on your belt so even if you let go of the bar (which no one did, even a 7-year-old kid in our class was fine) you would either free fall a little and be slowed down before you hit the net. But I mean, there’s a giant net. Free falling would probably be more comfortable than being slowed by the safety ropes.
Back to the scary part. Climbing the ladder — not my favorite thing. Standing on the platform is when my heart started pumping a little fast, but I was excited to hop off and start swinging. We did a progression of swings from swinging to putting your knees up on the bar and letting go, to doing a backflip (!!!) and then a catch (!!!!!!!). All of which I (and almost all of the class) was easily able to do. The catch was actually easier then the backflip.
If you are on the fence about doing this, I say go for it (unless you have shoulder problems or something)! It was so much fun. The class before us was a little girls birthday party (great idea) and they all were able to do what we did. The ages in our class ranged from 7 to 45. I love things that test me, and take me out of my comfort zone. I think if my upper body strength was better I would have enjoyed it even more because I would have had more control and been able to get my legs up faster.
This is when my heart is pumping but I’m getting excited.
This part was really enjoyable, just swinging.
Here I am landing the backflip. A little scary, but I thought this pic was too funny not to share.
Then we practiced reaching for the catcher.
Then we actually did a catch! I look very focused on him catching me, but it was waaaayyy easier than I was making it out to be in my head. My friend Abby came with me and she was much more relaxed than I was (maybe from years of gymnastics?). I was just over-thinking everything (no surprise there) because I wanted to do a really good job, but even so it was really easy and fun. You do have to just get over the fear (if you feel fearful) and go for it.
This was the most fun, swinging after the catch. Probably also because it didn’t hurt my hands and I could just swing. The very first photo is him twisting me toward the camera for a photo during a swing.
Landing was also fun. I like free falling into the net and actually wish they wouldn’t have slowed me down with the safety harnesses at all — let me free fall!
Maybe next year I’ll get up the guts to go sky diving…
Photos taken by the photographer at Trapeze School DC (you can buy photos after the class) and my husband