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How to achieve an AYESHA in Pole Fitness: A Pole Progression Chain

Well hello and welcome back to our series of Pole Fitness Progression Chains, Ayesha edition. If you didn't see the first one, have a cheeky look as it is the chain for an Invert and takes you from the very beginning all the way to a Basic Invert and beyond. For those of you who haven't read our first Progression Chain Blog and have no idea what the bloody hell I'm talking bout, a Progression Chain is the roadmap of pre-requisites and skills you need to achieve a move, and the move we will explore here is a True Grip Ayesha.

A couple of points before we dive in, sadly this is not a science or a guarantee, it is definitely more of an interpretative art/suggestion type of situation. But, used with the aid of an instructor, a bit of personalising and some common sense, these progression chains should be able to point you in the right direction to achieving whichever move you are aiming for. For this post I will be focusing on a TRUE GRIP Ayesha, with nods to other grips, so you know where to take the tangent should your desire for an Elbow Grip really take over.

So strap in and get comfy as we work our way through the pole world into an Ayesha.

  • Invert. I'm starting with the assumption you can already Invert, and because I've already covered it in my previous progression chain I will not repeat that chain here.

  • Crucifix As we progress through this chain, we will use a Crucifix to get into other moves so it is good to start with this.

  • Gemini As with the Crucifix above, we also use a Gemini as a starting place to get into other moves on in this progression chain.

  • Butterfly Handstand Your first encounter with pushing your arms down, really understanding and working your upside-down overhead strength.

A handstand shape pole dance
Butterfly Handstand
pole dancer upside down
a Pole dancer performing a leg hang
  • Pole Handstand Your first move where one arm is pushing, and the other is pulling: This builds the foundational strength for an Ayesha.

  • Butterfly Either from a Crucifix or Gemini (my preference is from a Gemini), a Butterfly is the first push and pull move where both hands are on the pole.

  • Caterpillar, from the floor Adding a dynamic pushing move is amazing for building strength, and a Caterpillar movement will be of use later if you wish to look at a simple way into other grip variations.

  • D Getting the body further away from the pole and transferring most of your body weight into your arms. This one took me a looooong time to get. I vividly remember my instructor having to physically drag my hips away from the pole because I was too scared!

A handstand on a pole
Pole Handstand
A preparation for a pole Ayesha
A pole move Butterfly
  • Butterfly Extension This is a serious milestone in your pole journey! Sending one leg back tests your balance and how stable your push/pull strength is.

  • Caterpillar, up the pole Similar to the Caterpillar from the floor, this builds loads and loads of pushing strength, and is the preparation for other grip variations.

  • Flower Working a bit harder with the top hand, and finding more 'pull' and less 'hang' than a Butterfly Extension.

  • One-leg Flower Testing your balance, and transferring 95% of your weight into your arms.

  • Ayesha Find the balance sweet spot, keep the pull in your top arm and the push in your bottom arm, legs in line with your hips, and create that iconic Ayesha shape.

A pole Fitness Ayesha
A pole dancer performing a Butterfly Extension
Butterfly Extension
A pole preparation for an Ayesha

That's it, you bloody did it! Well done! Massive congratulations, crack open the champers and sparklers. Honestly, an Ayesha is an amazing achievement. Every single poler has had an Ayesha on their bucket list at some point, and you just did it!

Of course, as with everything pole, there is always more to learn so the section below includes a few extras you can add to your Ayesha repertoire.

  • Other Grip Variations Twist Grip, Cup Grip, Elbow Grip, Flag Grip... I once saw someone do an Ayesha with their teeth!

  • Straight-edge Legs together and straight up to the ceiling. A beautiful test of balance and strength.

  • Handspring Kicking up from the floor into an Ayesha. There is an argument to be made for starting to prep Handsprings before you can do a full Ayesha. I agree with that argument, as there are people out there who find kicking into moves easier than slowly flowing into them, and you can build a lot of trust in the move if you know how to get there from the floor. HOWEVER, if you aren't learning with an instructor there to spot you it would be foolish to try and jump into a move you can't do yet. Doing a twisty grip handspring before you are ready is a guaranteed trip to the physio for a ripped rotator cuff.

  • Iron X The height of pole move royalty (aka the move I get asked to do most often when in da cluuuub).

  • Full Flag Straight legs perfectly parallel to the floor, perfection from every angle.

A pole dancer human flag iron X
Iron X

While a Progression Chain can be a really useful tool for developing a skill, please remember we are ALL INDIVIDUAL! An Ayesha is an ADVANCED skill and no one says you have to be able to do it to be a poler. Some of the best polers I know can't Ayesha but my gosh can they do a stunning, gooey Body Roll or Twerk like they came out of the womb shaking their ass. If an Ayesha is something you want then I hope this has helped just keep in mind Pole is all about the journey, not the outcome, so enjoy the ride!

What moves do you want to see next?


Alex :)


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