Suspension, it’s a team sport

One of the biggest mistakes I see inexperienced riggers making besides rigging above their own skill level is tying beyond their bottoms skill level.

While it might be easy to tie a person by only their ankles and wrists it’s extremely challenging for the bottom and unsafe to tie on inexperienced bottoms.

Easy for most Bottoms

  • Hip Harnesses
    • Most people find them comfortable and it’s frequently the center of gravity.
  • Futos
    • Pros: puts pressure on strong muscles, distributes weight. 
    • Cons: can be tricky to tie/lift, some people find it painful on their shins.
  • 3 line Chest Harnesses (Neko, Hishi, Butterfly etc)
    • Most people find them doable but not comfortable consistently.

Hard for Most bottoms:

  • Strappados
  • TKs/Box ties
  • Angel wings or Tengus
  • waist rope
  • single point suspensions
  • torsions
  • single column chest harnesses

Both Strappados and TKs require significant shoulder rotation and some flexibility,

this increases the likelihood the tie will be unsustainable or injure your bottom. 

If your bottom wants to do more challenging tying approach it as training for aerial arts. If you want to do advanced ties your bottom needs to practice in those more challenging shapes and ties.

When working with less experienced bottoms ideally look for ties that do not go to the maximum range of motion. If you seeScapular winging this is an indication that the shoulder is in a weakened position and vulnerable for your particular bottom. Test range of motion before you begin tying.

Humans are remarkably adaptive, and can learn to do almost anything, but we need practice to get our bodies acclimatized to the sensations and figure out how to best move our bodies. You wouldn’t try to do the flying trapeze with someone who’s never done trapeze before – even if you’re an expert. Rigging is the same, you need to work and train as a team.