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4 steps to getting untangled in the silks

Have you ever gotten stuck or tangled in the silks? I remember the first time it happened to me ... I was in my early days of training, and I did something strange that involved several coaches having to stack about five mats to get me down, eeek!

I definitely felt shaken up and managed to injure my ribcage in the process. Thankfully the studio I was training at reacted quickly to help me, but that's not always the case.

If you're an aerial teacher, studio owner, or an aerialist with an at-home rig, it's important to be proactive versus reactive regarding safety protocol and the possibility of stuck scenarios.

In my teacher training program, I teach a four-step process to get unstuck, that exact process I'm sharing with you today!

Click below for a step-by-step video and breakdown.

STEP 1 - ASSESS An aerialist is stuck or tangled mid-air. What do you do? Quickly assess how they are stuck and what you'll need to help them. Do your best to stay calm and solution-oriented.


If the aerialist is at a reachable height, or if they can reach the tail themselves, the tail can set you free! Typically following the tail is the best path out of the wrap or the tangled point.


If following the tail didn't do the trick, the aerialist will need to get higher than their locked/tangled point. This may mean putting a foot lock on if a free silk is available, resting for a moment and doing a pull-up, standing on someone's shoulders, stacking mats or getting a ladder.


Follow your studio's emergency safety plan if all else fails. At Aerial Physique, we utilize a pulley system in our emergency plan. One person puts gloves with grips on and pulls down on the rope while the other person unclips the carabiner, then two people lower the aerialist down to the mat safely. If you don't have a pulley system, you'd need a scissor lift or ladder that reaches the height of your apparatus.

If you're a studio owner or teacher, I highly encourage 'rehearsing' stuck scenarios and your plan of action. That way, when it happens, it helps to lessen panic, a possibly traumatic experience and/or injury for the aerialist. Plus, teachers and staff are equipped to take confident action quickly.

To avoid tangled mishaps in the first place, it's important to always practice new skills low to the mat. Make sure you or your students are at a reachable height whenever possible (depending on the skill). For those just-in-case scenarios, have a ladder or another way of reaching an aerialist quickly accessible.

Interested in becoming a technically skilled and confident aerial teacher with an emphasis on safety, skill progressions and class management?

The virtual version of our Level One course is open for enrollment through November 4th. For details and to apply, click here.

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