First Flying Trapeze Trick: The Knee Hang

The acrobatic power, the risk, and the glory. All of the things associated with a successful Flying Trapeze career begin with the same flying trapeze trick: the Knee Hang. This trick is a simple yet exciting way to introduce a new flyer to the world of Trapeze. It, like many other flying trapeze tricks, can be broken down into easy to follow steps, and is an exhilarating way to experience every aspect of the apparatus. In the Knee Hang you will feel the exciting rush of the swing, as well as the unique sense of weightlessness rarely produced by other activities. Here we will explore the necessary actions needed to execute this trick.

Important Trapeze rule: when hearing commands from your instructor, do your absolute best to react quickly to the instructions. Trapeze is about timing. If you think for too long, you might miss your chance!

The Departure:

After you have departed from the platform, hang straight with your entire body in the shape of a banana, feet behind you. This position is optimal for a few reasons:

  1. As you fly through the air, maintaining tension in your body is important for control.
  2. If your feet are in front of as you travel upward toward the front peak of the swing, it requires more strength to keep them there due to the increase in G-forces.
  3. When we initiate our motion into our first position, being able to kick forward will allow you to harness the natural momentum the swing already has, reducing the need to use your strength.
First Command: Legs Up, Hook Your Knees!

The goal here is to get your legs hooked onto the bar. Assuming you are in your banana position, kick your feet forward and curl your knees toward your face in one quick motion (imagine trying to roll into a ball). If you quickly kick forward and roll, the natural momentum of the swing will roll your hips upward and the bend in your knees will allow you to get under the bar. All that’s left is to clamp your legs onto the bar as quickly as possible.

Second Command: Hands Off!

Assuming your knees are hooked firmly on the bar, you will hear your instructor call the next command, “Hands Off”. This call will always be said at the second peak of the swing, closest to the platform. As with the first command, you must react immediately to the command. Simply squeeze your legs on tightly, take your hands off of the bar, and reach your arms over your head. As you put your hands over your head, try to reach long with your body, pressing the hips out and away from you, as if you are trying to grab the net. By pushing your hips out, it will force your knees to grip the bar more tightly and it will also allow you to arch your back more deeply.

Third Command: Look Up and Reach!

As you approach the next peak of the swing, your goal is to be reaching out long and looking up high. This position will make the catcher more able to catch you. Looking up and reaching long will allow your catcher to more easily make connection with your wrists. Assuming all has gone well, your catcher will firmly grasp your wrists. At this point you will grab them back, unhook your legs from the bar, and go for the ride of your life!

These are the three basic components of the Knee Hang trick. Follow these steps and you will find that success is only a few swings away. More important than anything, however, is listening to what your instructor is saying and reacting appropriately when commanded. Take your time, pay attention, and most importantly, have fun!

Joe Summers