Upside-Down Exercise

Tired of the old treadmill?   Enter the wacky workout world of the circus.

At least two Chicago gyms are turning their clients upside down with strenuous stunts you normally find under the big-top, or in a musical review.

At the Crunch gym, instructor Brent Holton uses giant loops of sheets to flip his customers over, under and sideways.

"If working out was this much fun all the time," said Holton, "don't you think everyone would be fit?"

It's cardio, stretching, and the best part is you get to do things like hand-stands and swings that you haven't thought of since you were a kid.

And if that still sounds tame, you can put yourself in the center ring at CircEsteem on Chicago's northside.   Former circus superstar Wolfgang Bientzle shows how he amazed audiences for years by rocking and rolling around in a huge metal wheel.  And then he has his  customers of all ages try it. 

"The first time I did it I had to close my eyes I was so scared," said 66 year old Melanie Sikorski.  "Next week my grandchildren are coming with me because they have to see granny do this."

It's a full body workout, but very low impact, according to Bientzle.    He began teaching the wheel to children, and now offers it to adults.


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