How to Aerial

An aerial is a no handed cartwheel. Watch this video.

Not enough cartwheels

  • I’ve never met someone who could aerial really well who had a shitty cartwheel.
  • I’ve never met someone who was repping the fire out of the cartwheel who wasn’t at least close to the aerial.

The truth is, people just don’t rep shit enough anymore. The aerial is insanely easy. Why? Because cartwheels are easy. And the more cartwheels you do, the closer you’ll get to the aerial. Period. You just have to do something easy tons of times. Now, sure, at a certain point you have to start jumping and trying not to put your hand down, but the #1 problem I notice in people who cannot aerial, is not a lack of real aerial attempts, but a lack of cartwheel repetition and perfection.

How much is enough? Everyone is different, but I guarantee if you spent 1 hour a day repping the cartwheel 200-300 times a day for a month, while occasionally trying to jump in some of those reps, you wouldn’t need this tutorial. I’ve seen some of the fattest, stupidest, pot-bellied, sloppiest looking muther-fuckers aerial as good as me (they just don’t look as good as me while they do it because I’m a shredded muscular guy haha). It is not physically demanding, it is not scary, and it is not technically complicated. It just requires an absurd amount of easy work.

Bottom line: work the FUCK out of your cartwheel. Spend so much time training it that you get hungry in the middle of a practice session and have to eat a meal before continuing. Hours. Hours of work at a time. Do it so much you begin to go crazy and feel like you’re undergoing some sort of twisted chinese water torture. Is this overkill? Trust me, if you can’t aerial right and you’ve been trying, your problem isn’t overkill, you’re just not training it enough. Get out there and do fuck loads of cartwheels this week.

How to Aerial step by step:

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Alright now summon your power. Make sure you got loose fitting clothing on like these Zubaz zebra pants.

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This is my start for the aerial. I’m going down on my left side, I put my weight on my left foot first.

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Then I lean back and put all my weight on my right foot, and raise my left arm up and leg up. Think of it like winding up with a baseball pat. This is just a “windup” so I can generate momentum by moving through a longer distance.

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Now I start down toward my left side. Left foot is planted as I start going down.

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Now here we go, like a violent cartwheel entry.

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Everything happens in this slide. I dip down as fast as I can while my base foot is pushing into the ground to create a jump. As I dip down, my rear leg has an opportunity to create lift behind me.

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You need to look at my torso, face, and right arm in this slide carefully and compare to the previous slides. Notice how I use all of these things together to turn my torso over? I must create a path for the rear leg to travel through.

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Ask yourself this question: If my chest/shoulders were facing directly down to the ground, rather than out to the side, what would happen right now? What would happen to the rear leg?

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The answer to the previous slide’s question is: everything would jam up in the middle of the air. The leg would have nowhere to go if my torso wasn’t turned out like this. It would get caught and you’d have to bail and catch yourself by placing your hands on the ground. The thing is, it looks like I lifted up my leg “sideways” but I really just thought about lifting it up directly behind me. My body turn simply moves the leg around in space so it looks “sideways”

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The lift combined with the jump combined with proper alignment of my upper body is what creates this moment in the aerial: home free. The lift is the most common problem I’ve experienced myself with the aerial. For example, when learning on my other side: the thing I consistently screwed up was not lifting up hard enough. COMMIT TO THE LIFT!

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So here, for aesthetic reasons, you really should point your toes and try to keep your legs straight. If you’ve made it this far then you have no excuse, make your aerial look pretty.

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You’ll feel everything begin to tighten up at this moment as the movement completes. Simply spot the ground and drive your landing foot underneath you.

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As a side note here: notice how much this looks like a front split? I’ve never met someone who had a really good front split who couldn’t make use of that flexibility in their aerial. Training the front split, and your flexibility, will improve your aerial immensely.

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Try to drive your foot further underneath you than your intuition tells you to. You can’t simply “land” an aerial, you really want to get that foot underneath you really deep so your body pops back up after you finish the move.

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Landing stuck.

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Body up.

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Walk it off.

Technical tip videos

There are a lot of hacks to the aerial to get it working for you. My favorite ones are in these three videos below:

Supplementary training bullet points

  • Train your cartwheel. A lot. Everyday. Hours. Become a lunatic.
  • Supplement with dynamic flexibility exercises: front lifts, back lifts, side lifts, and side bends.
  • Work on your handstand, specifically bailing out of your handstand so your torso turns over.
  • Work on your front splits. If you’re not flexible enough to front split, the reason is because you aren’t practicing your front split. Start. Now. Fucking get into the split already and work.

Aerial training strategy

The aerial is one of those moves that people make counter-intuitive training mistakes in, that’s why it bothers some of the best tricksters out there. Tricksters typically know that in order to get to the next trick, they have to start crashing it. They put in some prerequisite work but they jump ahead and start working directly on the move they want. The aerial can be obnoxious to these kind of tricksters because it requires so many repetitions of the cartwheel for it to work, and it feels like you’re wasting your time cartwheeling. The cartwheel is NOT a waste of time, and those 100s of reps of it are not a waste of time, yet it feels like a waste of time. That’s what throws people off.

The other mistake is that people get in the habit of technique’ing the trick too much. Examples abound of out of shape slobs that can aerial. The aerial seems to defy the need for force because we see fat piles of lard aerialing really well. So people forget that there comes a point where you need to stop thinking about the technique and just BRUTE FORCE the move with all your might. But the BRUTE FORCE approach, which is essential, does not work if you didn’t put in the time to rep those cartwheels and get it perfected. The BRUTE FORCE approach depends on the insane amount of time you might have to spend on the fucking cartwheel.

I get it, the cartwheel gets old. You’re tired of me telling you how many you need to do (1 million of them) in order to land your first aerial. But so be it, if you still can’t aerial, then it’s probably because you didn’t put in the time on the prerequisites. Which aren’t hard at all, but require a deceivingly disproportionate amount of practice! To make the cartwheel more palatable, simply create more challenging ways to cartwheel. Cartwheel from a sprint setup. Cartwheel without stepping in front for momentum. Cartwheel out of a handstand. Cartwheel blind folded. Cartwheel as fast as possible. Cartwheel as slow as possible. But whatever you do, make sure you practice the cartwheel!

Good luck on your aerial! It’s not hard, it feels good, and for certain personality types, it’s perhaps the perfect trick. It is my personal favorite, my #1 trick, and it might be yours too if you get it to the level I’ve gotten mine. Which you can… if you do as many cartwheels in your life as I have in mine. 😉

 

 

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3 thoughts on “How to Aerial

  1. I like simplicity. I am going to brute force the hell out of cartwheels, in fact I did that from a tornado kick for 540.
    I am also doing weighted muscle-ups for brute force attacking iron cross.

  2. Thank you great tutorial and very detailed, as you explained the level of flexibility needed, the reps of cartwheel, different entries, body part positioning and you were realistic about it

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