When most people think of an aerial class, they either think of yoga or a circus. AIR Aerial Fitness redefines this. Now open in South Orange at 15 Village Plaza, AIR Aerial Fitness is a dynamic workout method that fuses elements of conditioning, Pilates, ballet, and HIIT (high-intensity interval training) on aerial hammocks. The Montclair Girl chatted with the owner of the studio, Maura Hargrave-Kerns, about what to expect. Read on for an inside look at South Orange’s AIR Aerial Fitness.
About The Workout + Studio
Maura took her first AIR Aerial Fitness class at the New Providence, NJ location. She only did it to tick off a bucket list item, never expecting to return. Instead, she fell in love with the class. After her first class, she signed up for 100 Days of AIR, a studio special that allows clients to sign up for 100 days of unlimited classes. She fell even more in love and decided to complete her teacher training, which led to her opening a franchise in her hometown of South Orange.
As Maura described it, AIR is in its own workout category. It’s unique in that it’s one of the only aerial classes that’s rooted in fitness. In fact, people who are skilled in aerial silks come to AIR for additional cross-training and conditioning.
Read More: The Most Unique Fitness Classes in Montclair
AIR Aerial Fitness prides itself on three main components. The first is efficiency since participants are using more (and different) muscles than in a typical workout class. You’ll even feel the burn in your hands and fingers. The second component is results, with AIR being a fast way to build a strong core, and the third is quality in the classes, trainers, and studios.
Maura added a fourth component, which is inversion therapy. “There is a lot of science behind the benefits of inverting for 90 seconds a day,” Maura told The Montclair Girl. “It helps with the blood flow to your brain, which in turn improves focus and mindfulness. This is why we always implement going upside down in every class we have here.”
Maura urges beginners to start with the Foundation class, which introduces new clients to aerial exercises on hammocks. The class emphasizes basic alignment, foundation, and specific muscle action so that the body can learn how to balance on aerial hammocks. Beginners can also try Intro to AIR, which is an aerial fitness and yoga fusion class. Aerial experience is not required to take either class.
Maura urges beginners that “the hardest part is walking in the door.” She adds, “All of our instructors go through extensive training on safety, alignment, and curing formats. So once you’re here, we’ll walk you through it and give you modifications. Everything that’s done on the hammock can also be done on the mat.”
Additional class options include AIR Core, a 30-minute ab blast using aerial hammocks; AIR Flow, a 50-minute mixed-level flow class linking movements and power postures with the breath and hammock; and the traditional AIR class. It’s recommended that new clients take three to give AIR Foundation classes before graduating from AIR.
In addition to the adult classes, AIR has a robust kids program. This started at the New Providence location during the pandemic as a way to expand programming and has quickly grown to new locations and become a part of the brand.
In South Orange, the studio runs eight-week kids’ sessions throughout the year. The summer program kicks off the last week of June, and there will be another session coming up in the fall. The studio allows drop-ins for the first two weeks so that kids can try out the program before committing to it, and there are also half-day camps that run throughout the summer. This month, the AIR Kids Camp in South Orange will be hosting a drag story hour in honor of Pride Month with Harmonica Sunbeam.