We test drive aerialates, a Pilates-style workout performed on aerial equipment, including trapeze bars and fabric ropes, at Studio U.

melissa colgan trying an aerialates class
Stephanie Colgan

As I hang upside down, my thighs and calves squeezed tightly around a trapeze bar, I remember my first childhood visit to the circus and try to channel the glittery garbed trapeze artist who mesmerized as she gracefully flipped and flew with the greatest of ease. No, I’m not at circus school (though maybe that should be my next adventure), I am trying out Aerialates. Created by Elizabeth Skwiot, a former circus performer and certified Pilates instructor, Aerialates is a Pilates-style workout performed on aerial equipment including trapeze bars and fabric ropes. Or, as I said to my friends, “It’s boot camp masked as a playground experience for fitness-minded adults.” The hour-long session works the core (think plank pose with legs suspended from fabric), the shoulders and back (pull-ups on a trapeze bar), and the legs (suspended squats). While no workout can really prepare you for the way your body moves in Aerialates, a few private sessions on the Pilates reformer machine built up my core strength enough to make monkeying around a lot more fun.

Where to try it: 
Studio U, 1516 W. Lake St., Mpls., 612-396-9780,