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.
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?