by Mary Jo Gruber November 09, 2020 2 min read

When it comes to Aerial Lyra, there are few moves as breathtaking and challenging as your straddle up! Straddle ups make for a gorgeous entrance to your hoop and are a foundational move for building a lyra flow. Whether you’re a newbie who is just beginning their aerial lyra journey or you’ve been at it for a while but still struggle to straddle up with control, these 3 moves can be used to supercharge your upper body, deep core and adductors and can be done with or without your hoop.

Negative Pull Ups 

We get it, pull ups suck. Conditioning your upper body, mainly your shoulders and biceps, is a key component of strengthening your straddle up. If you find yourself wincing at the thought of pull ups, try to do sets of negative pull ups instead! Begin by holding yourself with your chin slightly above the bottom of the hoop, elbows bent and feet lifted off of the floor. Slowly lower yourself down until your arms are straight. Release your feet down to the floor, stand up and do it again for 10 repetitions. 

Girl doing a modified push up on her yoga mat

No Hoop Option: Perform 10 reps of negative push ups by beginning in a plank position. Lower your knees to the mat, followed up lowering your upper body down with control. 

Inverted Sit Ups

Next, it’s time to work those deep core muscles we rely on for effortless straddle ups. You can intensify your regular sit up by performing it while on your hoop! Begin by coming to a hock’s hand with both knees. Then, slowly lift up in a sit up position until your elbows tap the tops of your knees. Lower yourself back down and repeat 10 times. 

Girl doing an Inverted Sit Up on her Aerial Hoop

No Hoop Option: Come to a hollow body position on your mat by lifting hovering your head, shoulders and legs just a few inches off the ground. Think about engaging your core by pressing your low back into the ground and tilting your pelvis slightly upward. Hold for 30 seconds.

Straddle Leg Raises

Finally, we come to the often overlooked adductors! These tiny muscles that connect your inner thigh to your hip can really make or break your ability to straddle up smoothly. You can strengthen your adductors by practicing straddle leg raises. Come below your hoop in either a long arm or bent arm hang. Then, slowly lift your legs off the ground while maintaining a straddle posture for as high as you can. Lower them back down with control and repeat 10 times.

Girl practicing Straddle Leg Raises on her Aerial Hoop

No Hoop Option: Come to a comfortable straddle position on your mat. Without arching your back, slowly lift one leg at a time for 10 repetitions. For an added bonus, try lifting both legs simultaneously while resting your hands on the floor behind you.

Straddle ups require the strength of your upper body, deep core and adductors all working together. With proper conditioning, you’ll be soaring with your straddle ups like never before. 


Written by and photos by Mary Jo Gruber

Mary Jo Gruber
Mary Jo Gruber

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