Health & Fitness

By Jasmin Guleria

Photography by: Liz Glines

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Ms. Carrie Bradshaw attempting a trapeze ‘catch’

A few weeks ago, I decided to re-watch a few Sex and the City episodes to gear up for the movie premiere (yes, I’ll admit it – I’m an addict). A certain episode, where our favorite fashionista Carrie Bradshaw took a class at the Trapeze School New York (TSNY), particularly piqued my interest. While in her version of the experience, she found a correlation between relationships and trapeze, it got me thinking about the correlation between trapeze and muscle definition. Could swinging on a trapeze be the pilates of the fitness future? The thrill-seeker in me had to find out.

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Located downtown on the Hudson River Park on top of Pier 40, TSNY offers both indoor and outdoor trapeze lessons. Since the weather was nice, I opted for an evening outdoor rooftop lesson.

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Fred, our instructor, giving us our first lesson

The group class consisted of 10 trapeze-newbies. Our instructor taught us the basics of how to grab onto the handle, how to jump off, and how to do our first trick, which involved hooking our knees onto the bar and letting our body swing in a pendulum-like motion. The instruction lasted about 10 minutes and we were off.

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all strapped in and ready to climb up!……getting nervous……Fear? What fear?!

Climbing up the ladder, my once ‘can-do’ attitude turned into a bit of a ‘don’t wanna do’ attitude. When I finally reached the platform and looked down, I wondered if maybe my increasing heart beat due to sheer fear and anxiety might be considered my cardio workout of the day. After a few deep breaths, I grabbed the bar, bent into position, and jumped off. If you’ve ever been on a roller coaster, that is exactly what swinging on a trapeze feels like. After the first swing, I was ready to do the second, and then the third! Maybe it was the height or perhaps my rise in confidence, but I very quickly began to believe that I was ready to audition for Cirque du Soleil.

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on to the net and ready to go again!

With heavy-duty ropes, a corset-tight belt, and trained instructors, there really is no reason to be worried about safety precautions. For beginners, you don’t even really fall into the net but are gently guided down by an instructor who is holding the rope attached to your belt. Safety is certainly of the utmost concern to TSNY instructors.

After my lesson I realized that, although trapezing is a fun, exhilarating and unique outdoor activity, it really isn’t a significant workout for a beginner. The momentum of the swing makes it easy to raise your knees and do tricks on the bar, requiring hardly any muscle effort at all. That being said, the instructors are all in great shape because they consistently practice difficult gymnastic-type tricks on the swing. Thus, if you were to include trapeze as a regular addition to your current fitness regimen, it definitely would have some effect on your muscle tone.

As for me, I think I’ll stick with my weekly pilates class for my usual workout, and swing on the trapeze when I’m looking for a high-adrenaline filled good time.

Check out newyork.trapezeschool.com for more information and to schedule a lesson!

Originally published July 2008
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