top of page

Technique Tip: Russian Bicycle Climb

We recently conducted a poll on Instagram to find out how many aerialists preferred the 'Russian Climb' compared to the Classic Climb, also known as the French Climb.

Of 2,623 respondents, 88% favored the Russian Climb, while only 12% preferred the Classic Climb. That's a remarkable difference!

Personally, I've always been on Team Classic (it was the first climb I learned and it feels more natural to me), but it's clear that the majority of aerialists are passionate about the Russian Climb.

Inspired by these results, we're excited to present this week's tip: a variation of the Russian Climb called the Russian Bicycle, demonstrated by Aerial Physique instructor Nafeesa! This climb is her personal favorite and she kindly shared her expertise with us. Check out the video below for a detailed breakdown and helpful tips.


This is currently my favorite tension climb taught to me by @jbincalifornia @iloveclimbs and I’m on a mission to make it your favorite climb too! Enjoy! - Nafeesa


The climb starts like a Russian climb, but the bottom leg turns out from the hip as the top leg extends forwards and down at an angle. I keep the bottom leg turned out and sit before walking my hands up. Keeping the bottom leg turned out, and the knife edge of the foot turned down, I extend the bottom leg forward, bring the free leg across my body, placing the knife edge of the foot on the pole. The bottom leg goes out to the side, and then down at an angle as I pull up and again sit on my foot.


One common mistake is not keeping the bottom leg turned out and the knife edge or outside of the foot turned towards the ground. As you can see here, my right knee is facing the ceiling, so the fabric falls right off. When my right knee stays facing down, like I’m sitting criss-cross applesauce, the tail stays on better.


Another common mistake is not fully sitting on the turned out foot, which prevents the tail from locking in. Here, my left hamstring does not sit on my right foot, so the tail falls right off. But when I do sit on the turned-out right foot, the tail stays, and I get a 'rest-portunity' before continuing.


The third common mistake is extending the top leg out instead of down once I’ve folded the fabric over my foot. This also prevents the tail from “locking in.” When I extend the top leg down at a slight angle, the tail stays easier because it’s kind of locked in.


Another mistake is not reaching the free leg high enough on the pole, which makes the climb harder to manage. If the top foot is too close to the bottom foot, there isn’t enough room to really fold the fabric into the climb. So when you bring the free leg across your body, make sure you place the knife edge of your foot on the pole about 1 foot or more higher than the other foot. This will give your bottom leg more room to fold over.


Remember that this is a tension climb, so the foot is never totally locked in. The key is to fold the fabric over the foot and keep it there by keeping the leg turned out, and the knife edge of the foot facing the floor as you extend it forward. As I say in my classes, this is definitely a journey climb that takes a little while to master, but once you do it is very satisfying! And you likely noticed I'm wearing socks - while I personally like to train in socks, it may make the climb more challenging for you. This is my favorite climb and I’m on a personal mission to make it your favorite climb too, so please do let us know how it goes!

🌟For more tutorials & skill inspiration, join the app Aerial Physique TV! Enjoy hundreds of aerial tutorials, live masterclasses, lesson plans, and more! Skills are searchable by apparatus, name, level and skill type. To start your absolutely free 3-day trial, visit 


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page