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How to achieve an INVERT in Pole Fitness. A Pole Progression Chain

Updated: Dec 2, 2023

Hello again!


I want to start a collection of Blogs about the Progression Chain of Pole Fitness Moves. "But Alex, what is a Progression Chain?" I hear you cry! Well dear reader, let me tell you. A Progression Chain is the roadmap of pre-requisites and skills you need to achieve a move.


A really simple example of this is the Progression Chain to a Fireman Spin

  • Lifting arms directly above head with elbows straight.

  • Step Around

  • Fireman Spin




Now 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.


With all that in mind, I wanted to kick off this collection with a fundamental skill that is not as easy as social media would have you believe! A Pole FItness Invert. In this chain progression we will go from the very first skill you need all the way up to an aerial chopper and everything in between. So, let's get on with it!


  • Pole Walks focusing on being able to maintain hand grip and a long, high arm.

  • Step Around still focusing the above and adding coordination of the arms and legs.

  • Short-arm Grip Tucks introducing the arm and hand placement for your invert, as well as core strength and taking the feet completely off the floor.

  • Fireman Spin learning to add momentum without jumping.

  • Fan Kick (or Flare) introduce more complicated leg movements while maintaining a strong short-arm grip.

A Step Around pole spin
Step Around
Pole dance Fan Kick
Flare
Pole Fitness Tuck conditioning
Short-arm Tuck
  • Chair Spin holding your entire weight with only your hands, and using your momentum efficiently.

  • Shoulder Stand this may be your first ever inversion, and is key to figuring out how your body responds to being upside-down. Your head will be parallel to the floor in this, meaning you will be looking back up at your legs. There is an option to turn this into a shoulder-roll to make it more interesting.

  • Headstand this may be the first time you are TOTALLY upside down, meaning your head is upside-down too! This step is a key one and you should celebrate getting to your first ever fully inverted position! Well done!

  • Upright Crucifix from a climb, preferably ending with your hands off the pole. This one does require a climb which I haven't included in this chain as arguably it doesn't directly affect your invert - Climbs are something you would be expected to learn in parallel to your spins.

  • Straddle Lifts more weight and effort into your short-arm grip strength, and introducing more load into the hip flexors.

  • One-arm Spins such as a Fireman Spin or variation of. Building trust in your arm strength and control in each arm as individual limbs.

  • Crucifix leg position, from the floor from lying flat with your arm pit in the pole, lift your legs and hips up like a Shoulder Stand and get your legs into the Crucifix position. Focusing on knowing exactly where your legs will be going when you start an invert.

A Pole Fitness Spin
One-arm Spin
A Supported Headstand
Headstand
A standing crucifix on Pole
Standing Crucifix
  • Assisted Invert this allows you to get your hips up and let your head drop back while someone holds your inside leg, so you can press down and lift the other leg into a 'Basic Invert' position. Look at you go!

  • Forearm Stand this one is a bit more of a 'nice-to-have', but can be really fun and accessible if headstands came easy to you. One for those who wish to explore being upside-down but haven't quite got the strength for a full invert yet.

  • Unassisted Invert into a 'Basic Invert' position aiming to get the hips as high as possible, potentially using your feet to help you, and getting your legs in to the Crucifix position while keeping your hands on the pole. To exit safely, SLOWLY slide down onto your back.

An assisted inversion
Assisted Invert
An invert in Pole Fitness
Basic Invert
A Pole Fitness Forearm stand
Forearm Stand

That's it, you did it, you ACHIEVED an INVERT! Bloody well done you! Go ahead and crack open the champers, post the milestone on socials and ring every member of your family. An unassisted invert is probably all you were here for, so go ahead and frolic in your goal of achieving amazingness.


However, as with everything pole-related, there is always more to more to learn, further to push yourself and new goals to be smashed. The next part of this post takes you from your first Basic Invert all the way to a Pike Deadlift. These are NOT easy skills and can take years to get, but if you have made it this far there is nothing stopping you from continuing to build on your invert skills and getting strong, more coordinated and even more bad ass!

  • Chopper, from a Basic Invert bending the knees from a Basic Invert position and sliding your feet down into a 'froggy' position, with your feet still on the pole. Then, one at a time, take your feet off towards your face into a Straddle or Chopper. I know it's tempting to look at your legs but KEEP LOOKING BACK to keep your hips nice and high and close to the pole.

  • Chopper, from the floor inverting straight into a Chopper, without using your feet. Keep looking back, squeeze the shoulders together at the top and crunch the hips as high as possible. This one is WELL 'ARD!

  • Aerial Invert inverting from a climb into a Basic Invert, using a little bit of momentum but focusing on keeping that lovely short-arm strength.

  • Bent Knee Deadlift taking away the little swish you probably have that has helped you get up this far. Build some crazy core strength.

  • One Leg Bent Deadlift keeping one leg straight, making it a bit harder.

  • Full Straddle Deadlift with both legs straight, making it harder again.

  • Aerial invert into a Chopper aiming the hips higher and the head back in one motion, from a climb.

  • Deadlift into a Chopper no swish, just straight into a Chopper.

  • Pike Deadlift - Now you're in beast mode.

A chopper invert from a climb
Aerial Chopper
Invert to a chopper Pole Dance
Chopper
Basic Invert from a climb
Aerial Invert

While a Progression Chain can be a really useful tool for developing a skill, please remember we are ALL INDIVIDUAL! You may find you fly through this list, or you may get stuck on one point for months or years, or you may never get an invert, and all of that is absolutely and totally cool! Pole is all about the journey, not the outcome, so enjoy the ride!


What moves do you want to see next?


Cheers


Alex :)











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