EXCLUSIVE: An Interview With AntiGravity’s Christopher Harrison

antigravity christopher harrison

I am a creature of habit.

No, really. I love structure, schedules, and lists. They help me stay (mostly) sane and organized. When it comes to my workouts I’m the same way. I never walk into the gym hoping to “freestyle” it. I know whether I’m taking a class or if I have a specific circuit I want to complete in an hour. Don’t get me wrong. I am not militaristic and I always make sure I enjoy my time at the gym (after all, working out should never be seen as punishment) but prioritizing my time is of utmost importance. My routine revolves around strength training (body weight and weights), cardio, and yoga and I barely ever stray. If I want to challenge myself, I go for more reps, higher weights, or longer times.

Naturally, because I am also the editor of Bite Size Wellness, I have the occasional trial workouts at various gyms and studios around New York. It’s my job after all and I love it, but I tend to stick to what I like at the end of the day. However, that’s all changed. I’ve got a new workout I’m adding to my weekly workout circuit – no matter what – and it’s called: AirBarre.

AirBarre is a class created by Christopher Harrison as a part of his AntiGravity Fitness Method. With the utilization of the Harrison AntiGravity Hammock, the instructor of the class guides you through Barre-like movements and even inversions. Never having even done aerial yoga I thought that I for sure would fall flat on my face. Luckily – as I soon came to find out – that was not going to be the case. As a matter of fact, I was assured this by Harrison himself, which is a pretty big deal.

If you are not aware, Christopher Harrison has been all over the fitness scene as of late. Being the choreographer, mastermind, and fitness guru behind the Alexander Wang x H&M fashion show, everyone in the industry had his name on their lips and rightly so. While he has been dancing and performing for an incredible amount of time, worked on a plethora of high-profile pieces and productions, and assuredly brushed shoulders with the best of the best, here’s one thing that automatically stood out: He is the kindest, most humble, and down-to-Earth person you will ever meet. If anyone can make you feel like it will all be alright, it’s him.

My first class was at Christopher Harrison’s very own AntiGravity Lab in New York’s Garment District. A fellow editor and I were warmly welcomed by everyone including the receptionist, instructor Lorianne Major, and Harrison himself. We had our hammocks adjusted and were given a mini-brief on the AirBarre class. Then, the class began.

It was essentially a mixture of Barre and aerial yoga. We focused on working all muscles from our arms, core, and legs through Ballet-like movements and positions. We even performed an inverted arabesque which opened up my hip flexors like I hadn’t felt in years. We also completed a floor routine using the hammock as a barre that consisted of second position, tendues, and plies that left my thighs shaky as ever but feeling long and strong. It should be mentioned that I have a dance background – primarily practicing and performing Ballet and Jazz – and I was surprised to see how this class not only helped me tap into that old muscle memory, but also challenged me in more athletic ways.

By the end, I was understandably sweaty and as I got into my cocoon (perhaps the best way to end a Wednesday evening) I was filled with an immense sense of peace, pride, and strength in what I had accomplished in that hour. The “workout” was a workout in the sense that I had definitely put my body to work, but it felt more like fun play then repetitive or monotonous movements. I knew I would have to come back again….

….And I didn’t have to wait too long because the next morning I was off to yet another AirBarre class but this time at Crunch’s 59th Street location for their debut partnership. If anyone has a membership to Crunch I would highly suggest taking the class regularly. It is clear that the benefits are astounding. Not only does it strengthen muscles many people don’t know they have, but it also is a great regenerative workout that will ultimately help you increase flexibility and feeling longer than before. In addition, you can’t deny that going upside down is oodles of fun. You feel like a kid again playing on monkey bars. If you can’t perform a handstand or headstand in yoga class, this is a great way to get used to the feeling while having full support of the hammock.

Both experiences were delightful and almost life-changing – at least routine-changing. Harrison even shares:

“When your body gets used to a routine, it becomes more efficient, and you stop seeing results.”

It made me realize that I truly might have fallen victim to this and incorporating the AntiGravity method into my own routine would reinvigorate my workout plan. Naturally, my curiosity didn’t end there. I just had to know more about the man himself and how to incorporate his method into an existing regimen for optimal benefits. Take a look below at our exclusive interview with the man, the myth, the legend himself. Plus, for everyone who is looking to grow their own fitness empire, Harrison has some pretty great tips, too.

Christopher Harrison, AnitGravity Barre

Image via Rachel Neville
  1. When and how did you first decide to enter into the health & fitness industry? Perhaps a little glimpse into your “Aha!” moment?

There were many.  In 2002 my AntiGravity®  performance team and I were traveling to Milan, Italy to perform a big aerial show for fashion week. One of my star performers got off of the airplane and her back was out.  We couldn’t do the show without her.  We did not travel on this trip with our company bodyworker and didn’t have access to any local chiropractors we could trust. I considered that the injury had to do with compression and immediately thought of the opposite, decompression as the solution. Instinctually I had her hang upside down on the silk hammock and she was healed and did the show. “Aha!” Inversions became a ritual for us all as we entered a new venue.  We would always hang the Harrison Hammocks first so we could all get the kinks out from the flight.  Later I made it into a company warm-up that we practiced at the AntiGravity®  Skyloft in Midtown Manhattan.  More “Aha’s!”  I also hung one up in my home and healed my compression injuries.  “Aha, Aha, Aha!”  I did the same for my mother.  The inspiration grew until I could no longer keep it to just my family and company members.

  1. How did you begin and grow your business to what it has become today? Do you have any advice for others looking to enter into the fitness industry?

I grew my business one step at a time while following my passion.  The best advice I can give to anyone entering the fitness industry is:  “operate with integrity, no matter what. You are only as successful as your word is good and your agreements are respectful.”

  1. In addition to the AntiGravity® methodologies, are there other workouts or practices that you incorporate into your routine or/and would recommend others to do as well?

If your workouts are basically compression based, then find decompression.  If they are mindless workouts then find mindful playtime. Spend time training out of doors.  I am a big in-line skater, skier and cyclist and I still lift weights once a week. Recently I’ve discovered Muay Thai boxing! There are so many possibilities — get creative, don’t get stuck!  We are only as young as our spine is flexible and our mind is open!

  1. What do you think the benefits of AntiGravity are as opposed to taking a conventional yoga or barre class? Would you consider this a lower impact or higher?

All AntiGravity® Techniques offer zero-compression inversions, one of the best things you can do for your health.  More than just “lower impact” we like to stress decompression which aids in reversing the aging process.  We also make sure we live up to the name antigravity — against graveness.  In other words, AntiGravity® classes are inspiring and fun!

  1. How many times a week (minimum) would you recommend incorporating the AntiGravity method into a routine for optimal benefits?

If you are a beginner then I highly recommend that you commit to 3-5x per week for 3 months until you feel you have a good handle on the technique.  During AntiGravity® training you will learn to listen to your body and you will know how much to continue after that.  No matter what, try to get in no less than once a week to get the benefits.

  1. How do you want students to feel once they walk out of your class? And, what do you think the ULTIMATE benefit of this method is – both mentally and physically?

There are so many benefits and everyone values one more than another.  If you are suffering from back/neck pain then you value the pain relief.  If you are short you may value the extra inch in height.  No matter what, all students leave an AntiGravity® class feeling that their body and mind have reconnected and been recalibrated.  You finish on an AntiGravity high with fresh hormones swimming through your blood stream to optimize all your bodily systems, thereby improving bodily function.  I guarantee it!

For more Fitness features, check out our articles here.

Who else is ready to get on the AntiGravity bandwagon?


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