If you’re new, injured or just not particularly strong, make sure to check for any prerequisites when you’re going to a new class or studio. It should explicitly mention that beginners or all levels are welcome.
But what does that really mean? Can anyone do aerials, regardless of fitness level and previous experience? And will they be welcomed and treated equally in class?
I do believe pretty much everyone should give it a try to see where they are truly at. It might turn out harder or easier than you expect it to be, and it’ll point out where your actual (not just percieved) weaknesses are.
However, that doesn’t mean you’ll always have a great time from the start. You might decide that it’s worth building up some strength before you take aerials up more seriously. It’s not strictly necessary – often learning a skill is best achieved by practicing said skill.
However… When I first started, I struggled with every part of aerials (climbing silks, getting on the hoop on my own, inverting on any apparatus, …). All I could do was some basic shapes, but it was enough for me to know that this was something I loved and wanted to get better at. However, I constantly felt like I was far behind everyone else and couldn’t progress as quickly as they seemed to. Some teachers weren’t really adept for teaching a total beginner and I had a couple of bad class experiences. But in general no one said anything negative, and perhaps they didn’t even notice, but I did.
So for a couple of months I focused on other fitness disciplines. I found pole in particular to be much more beginner-friendly (at least they had classes full of people at exactly my level, and teaching geared towards that) and great for building up upper body and core strength, which were the main things I was lacking. When I later started other aerials more regularly again, I was in a much better position. For instance, I could climb up on silks to a reasonable height, and while I still couldn’t pike properly, I could kick up. This made classes more enjoyable and also more relevant to my level.
One thing to keep in mind is that if you don’t have a lot of muscular strength, you can end up doing moves incorrectly especially once you get tired. This makes you more prone to injury. A classic example would be not engaging your shoulders properly. Just hanging off the apparatus can contribute to rotator cuff injuries. So make sure to warm up thoroughly, engage the required muscle groups, and pause if you feel your technique slipping.
My advice is to try aerials even if you don’t feel ready for it. It’s the only way to find out, and to see if you like it. If you do, but you feel like you’re not quite ready yet, you can then supplement your training appropriately.