Learn to do a Pole Up

Learning to do a pole up will help you develop the upper body strength needed to climb, invert and perform tricks on the pole.

When I first started, I couldn't hold myself on the pole. I learned by doing little what I called 'pop-ups' like a small jump up and into a quick hold and release (illustrated at the bottom of this page.) 

I haven't seen too much information for total beginners in building upper body strength using the pole outside of Studio Veena's lessons. Every video I see and all of the instructions I find demonstrate getting on the pole, climbing or inverting for someone who already can pull themselves up on the pole or get into a tuck position without kicking into an invert. (I have a whole section for a beginner to learn NOT to kick into inverts). 

So I went back and went over my notes of how I learned and am sharing them here - again, these are most useful if you are just starting out or maybe have learned some spins and can climb, but are lacking strength in your back, arms, core and shoulders to pull or hold yourself up on the pole.

The Cross-Legged Pole Up

This move is awesome for beginners because you can use your legs to assist you in pulling yourself up on the pole without straining your shoulders or other muscles. The best way to build a muscle without injury or a bad case of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) is to gradually introduce stress and pressure to it. 

  • Using a mat or towel, sit cross-legged facing your pole with the pole between our crossed legs.
  • Place your hands high above your head. Keep your shoulders down and back muscles engaged.
  • Pulling down with your middle, ring and little fingers and tightening your core (abs and back muscles) pull yourself up, pressing down with your legs to assist you. 
  • Lower yourself down with control and repeat changing the position of your hands (left over right, then right over left for the next repetition.)

Pole Up from the Floor

This exercise uses your legs as well to assist you in pulling yourself up.

  • Kneel down on a yoga mat facing your pole.
  • Grasp the pole high above your head. 
  • While pulling down on the pole with your hands, press down with your feet to assist pulling yourself up.
  • Lower yourself down with control and switch hands (right on top for one rep, left on top for the next) and repeat.

Beginner Pole Up from Standing

This standing exercise is for beginners that cannot pull themselves up yet from a standing position. 

  • Stand facing your pole.
  • Keeping your knees soft, reach up above your head and grasp the pole. 
  • Keep your shoulders down and core muscles engaged. 
  • While pulling down on the pole, do a little hop up and hold onto the pole with your knees when you come up.
  • Hold yourself as long as you can without hanging. Keep your core and back tight.
  • Release by stepping down. Repeat by switching hands (left on top of right for one rep, right on top of left for the next).

Learn to do a pole up > Learn to invert from the floor


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