Twisted Grip – Good Or Bad?

So there I was, minding my own business, learning moves and poling as much as I could. Then one day I found myself in a room full of soon to be instructors discussing how the twisted grip was essentially the devil when it comes to pole – a big no no.

I was surprised to learn that so many people had this opinion! At the time, I had only taught beginners and had never really had to think about teaching inverts and therefore not thought of the pros and cons of the twisted grip.

Learning On Your Own

The downside of learning moves at home on your own is that there is no one there to tell you whether that’s a good way to do the move or not. I’d been using pictures, videos and tutorials to help me figure out the next move to try. I got to a certain point where I’d use twisted grip for most moves – Butterfly, Extended Butterfly, Ayesha and Handspring to name a few. I found the twisted grip so much easier than a normal split grip. I could hold on so much easier and had so much power.

The Downside

Let’s flash forward to a point where I had been teaching myself these moves thinking there was absolutely nothing wrong with the twisted grip. Imagine being told that everything you thought was right, wasn’t. It’s almost like some one had told me that you never use your inside arm for any version of a firman spin. It blew my mind.

The theory is that the twisted grip is bad for your wrist and can really hurt you. You are also hanging in your shoulder rather than using the strength in your arms. All in all, not a good idea.

Changing My Ways

I’ve got dodgy wrists, always have. This is mostly to do with years of gymnastics and putting pressure on my wrists from handstands, cartwheels, handsprings etc. There are certain positions that my wrists just do not like and so for me, I felt a lot more secure in my twisted grip – the split grip was more painful!

However… I’ve realised that it is best to try and get rid of my pesky twisted grip ways. I’ve started go back to the beginning and work on the initial inverts starting with the butterfly. With each move that I used to use a twisted grip for, I’ve now started practicing these with every grip I can think of – split grip, forearm, elbow, cup grip. I have found since doing this that I have become much stronger in a short amount of time. I am a lot more comfortable in these grips than I thought I would.

The biggest shock is that the elbow grip which I used to avoid, I now love and can do confidently. The forearm grip is my least favourite as it puts my dodgy wrist in a position that does not feel or look good. My split grip is now my basic grip instead of twisted grip and my cup grip is getting stronger with each move I try.

Twisted Grip For Others

I try not to teach the twisted grip at all. I understand that although that’s how I initially learnt, it is much better for my strength and wrists to use a split grip – and to try other grips too. The only move I consider using a twisted grip is for a handspring – although I am using other variations too.

I try to encourage my students to use a normal or cup grip when trying the handspring and then use the twisted grip as a back up, telling them to be careful of their wrists. Otherwise I almost ignore the twisted grip.

What Is Right?

While the twisted grip is not considered to be good for you – the twisted grip is still everywhere. You find it as variations on lots of moves and tutorials.

As much as the twisted grip is bad for your wrists, there are some moves that are bad for other places, such as the knee hold. This bruises my knee every time, without fail. There are a lot of more advanced moves that give me aches and pains all over the place, but I keep going, like a lot of us do.

Is twisted grip bad for you if it doesn’t hurt you at all? Should we avoid the knee hold if it causes us pain. In the long run, it’s your body and only you can decide how far to push yourself. I have decided to limited the twisted grip in my classes as I do not want my students to hurt themselves.

What are your thoughts on the twisted grip? Did you think it was bad for you?

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Comments From the PoleFreaks Community:

  1. I started out trying any and all grips I could try. And Pantera challenged me because she does not use a twisted grip at all. Now I don’t use it either and I can do the inverted holds without it! 🙂 It makes me feel strong. If someone wants to use T.G. that’s their business, but I, myself quit!

  2. I have many thoughts on this subject as I was one that started out LOVING the twisted grip and could handspring, butterfly, straightedge… EVERYTHING with TG. Then after a couple months I started noticing some pain and tightness in my shoulders, biceps and lats. I thought it was just normal “working hard” pain but I also started noticing that it was the most intense a day or two after working on TG moves. I went to a physical therapist and that helped but of course I would go back and add TG in my routines and was right back at square one within a day or two. I remember one morning trying to put my hair in a ponytail and the pain almost brought me to tears. It was after that, and a long talk with my physical therapist, that I decided to rest my arms from pole and give them a chance to recover. I also swore off the TG. Never again! It’s been 2 months now and I am almost fully recovered. I still ice my shoulders and biceps after each practice just as a precaution but for the most part I am 95% pain free. My split grip and elbow grip are AWESOME now and cause me no pain what so ever. I am now a happy poler!!! It is always up to each individual but I wouldn’t feel right not sharing my experience. Happy poling!

  3. Split grip is the no no for me – I avoid using and teaching at all cost! It has caused me personal injury and I’ve realized several others have the same injury through research. I do believe TG can be dangerous as well and that students should prep their wrists (even working up to it weeks prior). But I prefer TG to SG!

    1. Sorry I somehow deleted half my comment….I just wanted to say I think it depends on the person I have seen some people execute it beautifully with no complications and others have issues using it like me so they learn to do things without it.

  4. I use the TG for handspring but this is the only move in which I use this grip. I read a lot on how this could hurt the wrists and was resistive to using it at all but I must admit I do fell secure with the grip for that move. I must mention I spent four months slowly stretching and working the wrist before I began working the move and I always make sure I am properly stretched and warmed up before doing this move.

  5. Funny how this came up in my feed two days after explaining to my students the reason why I taught them three different ways to do a handspring into an Ayesha. I do use the twisted grip on occasion, but I do teach the handspring initially with a normal split grip. The reason being is I want to make sure they can get the movement down without putting extra pressure on their wrists. It works, but I can tell their frustration with it, and now they are terrified to even try the twisted grip. So now I am at a loss. I don’t want them to be that scared of the grip.

  6. The twisted grip relies on skeletal structure to hold you up, and the lines of force go through your arm to your shoulder. This puts a load on the ligaments that hold your bones together. Unlike a tendon connected to muscle, once you stretch a ligament, it can never shorten which causes structural issues in joints. Things don’t come together correctly. Which can cause other problems. The only way to fix this issue is with surgery. It also puts a load on your rotator cuff muscles in the shoulder, which are not made to support a load. That is what your deltoid and various other muscles that interplay with the shoulder are for. Also, you will need surgery and or physical therapy to fix those guys.
    So even if you are not currently feeling your shoulder or wrist after training in TG, you will get to a point where you have stretched the ligaments or the rotator cuff muscles so much that you will start having issues, and once you have issues there is really no going back to the way the joint was without physical therapy and or surgery. Please always keep in mind the high risk that the twisted grip presents. It is way better to have a functioning shoulder (or wrist) than it is to have your twisted grip. Take it from someone who has their twisted grip but not the best shoulder. I would trade in a heartbeat because I have to cater to my shoulder and it holds me back from my training. I didn’t know any better, but that is not the case for anyone reading this. Take care of your body. It’s the only body you are going to have for poling. 🙂

  7. Twisted Grip is only twisted when the body is upright. If a person is inverted, it isn’t twisted. True grip/ split grip actually twists the arm and wrist more when a person is inverted than when they are upright. I personally love cup grip but many people aren’t strong enough to do cup grip for some time, and some moves rely on twisted grip. Most people get injured because they try moves too soon or they do pole too often. All inverted full bracket type positions are Power Training moves and should be done in accordance with Power Training guidelines. They should also only be introduced to students once a student has mastered lower level moves. Doing a Cartwheel or Handspring Mount into an inverted full bracket position should be taught after a student can lower themselves into that position, hold the position, and dismount. Teaching a student to use momentum before a student can hold a position is a recipe for disaster. I believe all grips are fine and it is usually when (and how) they are introduced and how often they are done, that is the real problem.

  8. When should teachers really be teaching split-grip spins? After the students have acquired proper one-arm strength? I see split-grip spins getting taught in beginner classes, which I believe is too early… right? They’re all over in beginner youtube tutorials :\

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