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Tuf or Buff: How Spray Rosin Can Sabotage Your Training

I have such a love/hate relationship with spray rosin (aka Tuf Skin or Firm Grip). On the one hand, I love the awesome flypaper effect it creates when I’m performing doubles and my partner is being so inconsiderate as to actually sweat. On the other hand, I hate watching my students douse themselves in it in hopes of Velcro-ing their hands to the fabric. So, when is spray rosin a blessing, and when is it like the friend who brings over a pie when you’re dieting? Let’s discuss.


Spray rosin, mostly powdered rosin (pine tree sap) and alcohol, can be a God-send when:

  • You’re working with a partner and need a little extra grippy oomph
  • Smoke, fog, or haze will be used during your performance (this can sometimes leave a slick coating on your apparatus)
  • You’re pushing your limits of endurance in your piece, are working at altitude, or are performing multiple acts in a show and want to be conservative with your grip strength
  • It’s seriously hot or humid and you’re sweatin’ like a whore in church, causing you to slip and slide in alarming ways


When is it not a good bet? During your daily or weekly training. Two of the most beautiful aerialists I know don’t use ANY sticky stuff – not rosin, not Tuff Skin (shout out, F & J!). How is this possible, you gasp? They’ve trained their grip, pure and simple. If you coat your hands in aerial super glue, don’t be surprised when your grip is noodly. I have banned spray rosin in my class for this reason (but I KNOW some of you still use it…). The stronger your grip, the more confident you’ll be in the air, and confidence is beautiful!

So kids, the moral of the story is this: use as little Sticky Awesomeness as possible during your training – this will encourage a stronger grip. Use what you need to be safe, but actively train those fingers to hold tight. You’ll thank me one day when you can hang on to a trapeze with one finger. While sneezing uncontrollably. Over a shark tank. Booyah! Love and pull-ups, Laura


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