How to Invert

How to Invert

NOTE: Use the top-left playlist button to view all videos in this tutorial.

In it’s most basic form, inverting is a way to get upside-down on the pole quickly and easily. Being able to invert opens you up to a whole new world of pole moves and transitions, so it makes sense that it’s a sought-after achievement in the pole world. Once you understand how to invert properly and safely, you’ll be set for good poling habits down the line.

Today, you’ll learn the steps to achieve your invert.

Are you Ready to Invert?

This is the most important question to ask yourself.  If you are new to pole, regardless of athletic background, it is important to start the process at the first step. Even a seasoned pole dancer can benefit from revisiting the starting steps of an invert for better execution and strength.

As we note, people progress at different speeds, and inverting is a major step as a pole dancer. From there comes aerial tricks and transitions from even greater heights!  It’s a very exciting place to be, but safety and preparedness are vital.

Inverting is about proper muscle engagement and an overall awareness of what your body is doing:

  • Your primary muscle engagement should be in the shoulders, back, and core (and later, your legs.)
  • Your invert should be a fluid and controlled movement, beginning to end.
  • The ultimate goal is to invert with straight legs, but you will not start out that way; work your way up!

There are several effective training methods to familiarize your body with an invert, but at the most basic level, there are two that are easy and will be beneficial:

  • Ab tucks on the pole; also called pole abs.

Using a stronghold grip and keeping your shoulders down and engaged, bring your knees to your chest for a Tuck pole ab. This will help strengthen your shoulders, back, and core. You can read more about pole abs here.

  • Straight-leg (pike) lifts from the floor.

You can also use the pole for this. The pike is similar to tuck pole abs but with straight legs. This will help engage the legs and core muscles you use when inverting.

 

Inverting is a goal that takes work starting out, so don’t feel discouraged if it takes you a while to get the hang of it. Some people invert on their first day, while some don’t invert for weeks, and others don’t invert for over a year or more. It’s all apart of the journey.

 

Being ready to invert depends on a variety of factors from strength, confidence, how often you train, and many other variables. Inverting properly engages the full body, so even if you are generally considered strong, it can be hard to invert at all until you achieve strength in all the right places.

After some practice with the invert prep and conditioning, you will build the strength you need to invert properly.

While you are engaging most of your body throughout the invert motion, the primary focus is on the back, shoulders, and core – until you engage the legs. Still, we aren’t used to using many of these muscles outside of pole. Typically, you’re in a prime position to try an invert once you can do multiple pole ab tucks and lift your body weight up off the pole.

Invert Prep from the Floor

Training for your invert on the floor is a great way to test and strengthen the muscles necessary to do a standing invert.

Note: See the full tutorial series at the top of this article.

 

While it’s true we all have a stronger or dominant side – and that will become clear when you first start out – you should always alternate sides of your workout so your body can stay balanced and versatile.

Right-Handed

  • Lay flat on your back to the left side of the pole, with the pole touching your waist.
  • Grab the pole with a stronghold grip, left hand on top, right hand on the bottom.
  • Lift your legs to the pole and wrap them around, left leg on top, right leg behind.
    • Grab the pole with your knees and ankles.
    • Your hips will be off the ground.
  • Using your stronghold grip, engage your shoulders, pulling down on the pole.
  • Using your core, loosen your leg grip slightly, tighten those glutes, and push those hips up and as close to the pole as possible, straightening your body. Re-grab the pole between the knees and ankles at the end of a rep, but always keep in contact with the pole.
  • Maintain your stronghold grip and slowly bring your hips back down to the floor, using your leg grip to guide.

BENEFITS OF INVERT PREP:

– Safe for first timers, low impact and easy to follow.

– Gets you used to the basic body mechanics of an invert.

– Creates comfortability of holding on with legs, another important step in pole dancing.

– Forces you to keep your shoulders down, engaging in proper muscles.

Standing Invert – Starting Position

Note: See the full tutorial series at the top of this article.

Right-Handed

  • Walk up to pole keeping it on your right side and get slightly in front of it.
  • Your hips should be in front of the pole, right shoulder will be behind.
  • Get on the balls of your feet, as tall as possible.
  • Wrap your right arm around the back of pole, and tuck it into your armpit.
  • Grab the pole with your right arm below ear height. Place left hand on top of the right.
  • Your elbows should be bent at a 90° angle, your shoulders down and back, and the pole should be very snug.
  • Remember to keep your hips in front of the pole; the extra bit of contact with the pole on your hips will help facilitate the move.
  • Squeeze the pole tight in your right arm and pull down on the pole with both arms.

 

TIP: If you are in proper position, your shoulders will be square (down and engaged) behind the pole, your hips will be in front, on the balls of your feet, elbows bent, pole tight in the right armpit.

How to Invert

We’ll guide you through doing a tuck knee invert first, and later a straight-leg invert.

Tuck-Knee Invert

 

Note: See the full tutorial series at the top of this article.

 

  • Pull your shoulder blades back and down to engage them. Grip the pole and engage your arm muscles. Use the pole to support you as you tuck your knees to your chest as if you are doing a tuck pole ab.
  • Lean back and slowly straighten your arms bringing the pole into your waist pocket as you rotate.
    • Your waist pocket is the soft space on your side, between your ribs and your hip.
  • Engage your back muscles and tip your entire body backward – including your head – straightening your arms and continuing to engage your core, pushing your legs past the pole.
  • As you learn back, bring your knees to your chest and extend your legs out, engaging the glutes and pushing through your calves to get straight legs. It may feel like you’re pushing up with your butt or hips here! Always point those toes.
  • Engage your back muscles and tip your entire body backward, straightening your arms and continuing to engage your core, pushing your legs past the pole.

Straight-Leg Invert

Note: See the full tutorial series at the top of this article.

  • Pull your shoulder blades back and down to engage them. Grip the pole and engage your arm muscles. Use the pole to support you as you straddle your legs and point your toes, pushing with the backs of the knees as if you are doing a straddle pole ab.
  • Lean back and slowly straighten your arms bringing the pole into your waist pocket as you rotate.
    • Your waist pocket is the soft space on your side, between your ribs and your hip.
  • Engage your back muscles and tip your entire body backward – including your head – straightening your arms and continuing to engage your core, pushing your legs past the pole.
  • As you learn back, bring your knees to hip-height and keep your legs extended, engaging the glutes and pushing through your calves to get straight legs. It may feel like you’re pushing up with your butt or hips here!
    • Always point those toes to help keep your leg straight.
  • Engage your back muscles and tip your entire body backward, straightening your arms and continuing to engage your core, pushing your legs past the pole.

 

Look behind you! If you look at your hands, feet, or the ceiling, you may lose your posture and start caving your chest inwards, which throws off your center of balance and could strain muscles.

 

Once you’ve achieved the chopper position, your head should be near the lower part of the pole, so you can see the floor if you look down, and you should continue to engage your back, core, glutes, and legs as long as you are inverted.

Got this down? From here, you can go into your Gemini or Scorpio for an easy leg hang.

Coming Out of Your Invert

Once you’ve gotten into your invert, the key is to come down slowly and with control exactly the way you got into it. If you lose your balance or slam your feet down as you come out, it’s not only an unsightly habit, but it’s also poor form that can put a lot of strain on your muscles and joints over time. You can also move from the straight-leg position into another move such as Crucifix, Gemini, Scorpio, or a number of other moves.

 

Nice!

You’ve gotten onto the pole and into your inverted crucifix, or another move.

If you’re not sure that you can get down safely, it’s OK to bail – properly!

Use the skin that’s on the pole to slowly melt towards the ground – again, you want control here.

When you’re nearing the ground, tuck your chin to your chest and use your arms and shoulders to slowly brace your body weight as you sink down onto the floor. It’s so important to make sure you tuck your chin here so you can avoid any injuries to the neck or spine!

 

Kick-Up or Deadlift Invert?

Kicking up is a bad habit that can be tough to get rid of. Many studios do teach their students to invert this way, unfortunately.

Some do it because they have always done it that way, some do it to give their students a feeling of success early on.

Unfortunately, kicking up into your invert not only looks sloppy, but it puts your body through far more torque and muscle strain than it needs to be under. We can push our bodies, but we don’t want resistance – you’ll risk injury.

Kicking up also skips engaging key muscles that will help you progress to more advanced inverted moves, and you’ll expend more energy so you’ll find yourself tiring out faster.

If you can’t deadlift yourself properly into an invert like we’ve shown in this article, then you’re not quite ready to invert and the invert prep exercises will give you a better foundation for growth later on. Yes, it can be a little disheartening if you’re watching other students who are already inverting, but it’s always better to play it safe than to harm your body over time.

Having Trouble? Try These Tips!

Remember to Look Back, Away from the Pole!

  • Not only will looking back help your momentum but looking up at your feet as they’re coming up onto the pole will curve your back and you’ll lose a lot of your much-needed muscle engagement.

Having Trouble Reaching the Pole?

  • In a straight-leg invert, your ankles or calves aren’t actually reaching for the pole, they’re reaching behind the pole. You should end up with straddled legs over your body. From here you can go into dozens of inverted moves.

Your Hand Grip Should Never Change or Move

  • Not while you’re in the process of inverting! Your elbows will straighten out as you move past the waist pocket, but when you come out of your straight-leg invert, your hands should be in the same grip as when they started.

Have the Strength but Still Can’t Invert?

  • If you’re still having trouble with your invert but you have plenty of arm and/or back strength, then you may not have enough core strength yet.

Safety First!

  • The most important part of an invert is preparation. If you are trying to invert for the first time, make sure you have an instructor with you, or a crash mat to prevent injury. It will not be perfect the first time, and that is ok – the more you train, the better it will be, and with these tips and techniques, you will have your invert in no time.

 

Have you tried inverting with these tips? What was it like? Share your victories, share your questions in the comments below!

By |2018-09-27T06:27:39+00:00August 26th, 2018|Form and Body Mechanics, Video Tutorials|0 Comments

Leave a Reply

avatar
Show Buttons
Hide Buttons