There are some moves in pole that we need to work on over just a couple of sessions, and then there are those moves that can take weeks, months and in some cases, years.
When we get these latter moves, they really should be considered as milestone moments in our poling career. They are the ones that for most, are unachievable for so long that we should probably throw a party when we get them; They are that important.
Every person varies and the list of incredible poles moves out there just keeps getting longer. I’m sure in a few years time, the list below will have to be updated, but for now let’s keep it to the more well know moves.
I think all of the moves below feel incredible when you achieve them. Some are harder than others, and some will take more time than others. Some need strength or flexibility and others just require you to breathe through the pain.
Your First Proper Spin
This is a big one – and probably the first milestone you hit. The first time you manage to control your body and be able to lift your legs up where you need them to be, is a big achievement. You may even get it on your first lesson!
I’d now like to be more specific and say a good Chair Spin should be celebrated. To nail it, you need to be able to get the push / pull with your arms right, as well as coordinating your body enough to be able to bring your legs up as well. Talk about multi-tasking!
Your First Climb (Legs Only!)
The first time you climb the pole is an amazing experience. You watch it being shown to you, probably thinking that you’ll never do it. But you give it a go anyway, and the likelihood is that you get much further than you think you will. Now all you have to do is squeeze!
While getting up there might not be too bad, taking your hands off is a whole new ball game. Some people might be able to do it straight away, others might take a bit longer. It takes a little while to get used to where your legs need to be, to figure how hard you need to squeeze (very) and to get used to the pain – usually on the foot.
So when it all comes together, and you can climb to your Crucifix and then take your hands off, you should clap and cheer!
Your First Invert
When you get it, it’s a great feeling. Some of us (me included) take weeks of just trying over and over to get there. I remember thinking that I would never get it, and then one day it just happened! I had no idea what to do when I got up there. I never thought it would happen, so I guess I didn’t plan ahead. If in doubt, just keep squeezing and don’t let go!
The Superman is an amazing move but it can be tricky. Trying to get your hips up and over the pole takes some doing. Now add in a lot of pinching pain and you’ve made it a whole lot harder.
My advice is to stick with it. Try 5 on each side if you can bare the pain, if not stick to three. You need enough practice to get it into muscle memory and inch further into the move, but you don’t want to do it too many times, where your skin is red raw and you’re put off doing it again.
If you’ve been practicing for a long time, have a break and come back to it in a month or so. We did this in class and about 5 students who were close but not quite there, managed to flip it and hold their Superman. 🙂
This is the move where you stand against the pole, build up the nerve to try it, and then realise that you’ve been standing there too long and your hands are too sweaty to try it. Yeah, I’ve been there.
I love this move as it leads into so many other moves – which is why I think it’s an important milestone move. You feel like you’re going to fall off, but that’s harder to do than you think. If you don’t make it, as long as you keep the hands and shoulder on the pole (which needs to happen) you will land safely feet first. If you get there, you’ve done a shoulder mount, woo hoo! All you need to do is squeeze!! Your body doesn’t want you to fall. When you get up there, your body hopefully will naturally find it’s way to an inverted Crucifix position, and will hold on. So when you think about it that way, you’ve got nothing to lose 🙂
Handsprings are great… when you can do them. They are the most frustrating thing when you can’t. This took me years to get. Similar to the Superman, I took a break from Handsprings (as I kicked the pole and split my pinkie toenail in half, again – ouch!) and when I came back to it, at least half a year later, I got so much closer. I was stronger and more confident on the pole.
It’s one of those ones where you can watch tutorials over and over again, but really this one just needs practise. I hope it doesn’t take you as long as it took me – I’m sure it won’t!
With this one, make sure you can hold your Ayesha before trying your Handspring – and try it with different grips too. In your Ayesha, practice lowering to the floor to work the same muscles as the Handspring – getting you stronger in the exact way you need to for this move.
Ahh deadlifts. How we love you and hate you all at the same time.
When you realise you can deadlift any invert whether basic or extreme, you will (and should) be super happy! It means you are super strong and in control.
Deadlifting a normal invert is the first big one to go for. A great way to practice is working on your tucks. Stand as if you are going to invert and bring both legs off the ground at once, and tuck your legs up to you chest. Try and hold. When you can do this, you need to rock back – think of doing a backwards rolly polly. Your legs should instantly become closer to the pole and you may be able to invert from this roll back.
If you’re inverting already, try to lower down from a V Invert as slowly as you can. This will make you much stronger for the way up!
The deadlift I’m working on is to go up into an Ayesha – think Handspring with no momentum. I can do it every so often, but it’s not every time. I’m always getting stronger so I must be getting closer! If you’re working on it like I am, just keep going. We can get there together 😀
There are so many other milestone moves I could add on – but I would end up writing every move down. These moves require a range of different skills, and can be worked on over time. We don’t need to nail them all in one day, but if we keep going, we will be able to do them all… one day 😀