Aerial Inversion Technique: Pancake vs “L”

What do you look like when you invert? Are you squeezed in tight or more L-shaped?

In the finished position of an inversion, the arms are straight. At some point along the process of a bent-arm inversion, they transition from bent to straight. 

Most aerialists (based on my observations) transition about halfway through–the L-shape. The moment you straighten your arms dictates the shape of your inversion. 

The pancake shape requires more strength, control, and flexibility. The L-shape uses more momentum (unless you are releasing with incredible awareness and control). 

I am not prepared to suggest that the L-shape is *wrong* per-se, but I do think that the compressed inversion more consistently represents strength, flexibility, and attention to detail.

Both can be done with total control and intention, but most of the time the L-shape is a result of an underutilized core and not fully being aware of what you’re doing. 

As an aerialist, you want to train the compressed version on a regular basis to develop control, awareness, strength, and flexibility in your inversion. You do not always have to invert in this exact way, but it’s good to be able to. 

I posted a video on my Instagram account @wakefulascentaerial illustrating the difference between L and pancake. Soon I’ll be posting some drills for developing your pancake inversion so be sure to follow if you want to catch those. I also have a workout dedicated to this type of inversion in Fit4Flight, a series of aerial-specific workouts you can do at home without equipment. 

Be mindful of the way you move, and ask questions about everything! This is how we learn as aerialists.