Pole spin practice

Warm up: with the girls

1) Windscreen wiper x 5 (each is left and right) x 2 (i.e. both sides)
2) Hooked-leg sideways stretch and lift x 10 x 2 (i.e. both sides)


1) TG shoulder mount x 3: struggled for the first one.  but was better for the next two… manage to keep legs in V (eagle) for a bit, although I needed to use my feet to pull me towards the pole. Exited using my favourite splits dismount

2) Open-close cup grip shoulder mounts x 2: I needed a bit of swing, and could do with lifting my legs higher… but it was not bad. The only problem was that I spun quite a lot because of my swing and lifting my legs up, so I got quite dizzy and didn’t dare to try it a third time

3) Bullet, starfish, into split grip with knees on the pole [conditioning for left arm + extended butterfly] x 3: Three successful attempts. Two times in between, I lacked the strength (and commitment) to bring my bum up. Note: I really need to lower my left arm down the pole to lower the centre of gravity

4) Pencil mount and dismount x 1: Felt a bit stressed with this given it’s been a while since I practiced. It felt a bit wobbly going up and keeping my legs/feet straight… I had to look at the mirror AND use my feet to find the pole to get stable. Was okay coming down slowly… although the final roll-down was still a bit quick. Note: For pencil mount, need to really remember that the first step is to bring the BUM TO THE POLE, then move legs SIDEWAYS and upwards

5) “Pretzel” x3: Monkey (Spin-style flying body spiral into ballerina) and bring the back leg in front – this will increase the spin. Note: For spin pole, J teaches keeping the inside hand high up on the pole (single-hand spin), step on the outside leg and sweep the inside leg around (opposite to static pole flying body spiral), go into a blade, then into ballerina, and then finally bring the back leg in front into ‘Pretzel’

6) Outside angel (weaker side), inverted pike, into superman (weaker side) x 3: J spotted me for the first couple of times, I made the third attempt alone. Note: Need to really get the body very close to the legs, really hug the knees, so that I can reach out to the pole above with my outside (in this case: left) hand. Also, need to put inside (right) hand on the bottom of the pole FIRST and PUSH OUT. Let legs drop down to get into the superman

7) Caterpillar (invert), into butterfly and extension x 1: E and J both spotted me. The position felt weird… probably because I’m not used to it..?

8) Archer practice x 3: Did it from a lazy side hook from standing. Was okay getting into it and holding.

9) Side hook into superman (usual side) x 3: Got inspired watching two other girls practising their superman. So tried superman from a side hook from standing. It worked! What I did was: 1) Pull my top leg towards me, 2) Twisted my hips and faced forward very quickly

10) Knee hold prep x 2: Did it from a side hook from standing (haha, as all my moves this night!), started with my lower knee higher up, and slid it down into place, pushed hips forward. Kept top hand on the pole. Left knee really hurt after just two attempts, so I stopped.

Cool-down /stretching.

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pole private

– pole pull-ups x 4 x 2 (different hand on top)
– eagle x 3 x 2 (on both sides)

1) Shoulder mount x 5: Lift chest, think about going into tuck first before lifting legs up, REALLY VISUALISE legs going UP and BEHIND, once the heel is hooked onto the pole, slide legs UP the pole

2) superman x 3: this was much much better than recent attempts. I was able to do it slowly and with control. tips include: i) slide lower hand lower down the pole, ii) keep hip bones on the pole, iii) slide upper hand slightly lower as well, iv) once the legs / feet have been brought together, let the bum slide down

3) combo: climb, caterpillar (invert), outside angel, starfish, superman, starfish, climb above, slide to stand x 2: was okay, although transition from outside angel to starfish was quite awkward and needs to be worked on. when climbing above (post superman, starfish) on my usual side, need to bring the left (outside) hand ABOVE the right (inside) hand

4) bow & arrow (on left leg hooked on the pole) x 3: we tried it once swapping arm placements, which was terrible. so after that, we just switched legs but kept my usual arm placements. was generally okay. the right hand needs to keep a normal grip around the pole, not a cup grip, and the elbow needs to be really tucked in. i was struggling a bit to roll up, so i need to use my left hand to push myself away and up from the pole

5) extended butterfly attempts x 4 or 5 (bullet, starfish, butterfly prep, and halfway-extended butterfly): i managed to kind of do the extended butterly (although I didn’t manage to fully straighten the leg on the pole because i was scared) with N holding my bum. but i don’t think i could have held it if she didn’t hold my bum. it is key to get the body aligned to (and facing) the pole first, before extending the leg that is hooked on the pole

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Pole practice

ballet warm-up

– front and side planks, reverse plank (30s each)
– lift legs and back but with paddling legs/feet (45s)
– ‘dish’ pose but with paddling legs / feet (45s)
– legs perpendicular to the floor, reach out to the feet with the hands (as many as poss. in 30s)
– plank with ‘windscreen-wiper’ alternate feet sweeps (as many as poss. in 30s)

it was very cold today. at first the heater wasn’t on and I had goose pimples all over my skin because i felt really cold.

Technique practice:
1) superman x 10: tried this multiple times. managed to do it more or less successfully when B was around to supervise me (2x). but my attempts were much lamer when she wasn’t around… the first set of attempts (pre-B’s supervision) were clear failures, the 2-3x i tried after she supervised me, i managed to get into superman, but the form wasn’t great. but at least it’s a start. the key is to loosen my thighs a bit to let the bum drop, then really squeeze my feet together and lift my feet up, so my body is in the mini ‘dish’ shape. it’s also really important to transition quickly and not over-think it and get stuck halfway.

2) extended butterfly prep (bullet into starfish into split grip inversion with knees gripping pole) x3: i was gripping quite strongly with the knees, so it didn’t feel like i was working my left (lower) arm very much at all. but it’s still a start, esp after the side planks we did for conditioning!! (my left arm was shaking quite badly when i did the left side plank, but less than during the last practice conditioning where we did the same move)

3) half-flag x 8: B supervised me on this one too. her advice was as follows: i) really get a good armpit grip and tuck the elbow to the side of the body, ii) get a really good position on the lower (supporting) arm to dig into the side of the body, iii) bring the inside leg straight out as a guide before lifting the outside leg, iv) really keep the body facing sideways (the entire width of the chest glued to the pole) instead of facing diagonally downwards. i’m still struggling to hold it. need to continue practicing

4) open-cup grip shoulder mount kicks (x 2 x 2, left and right) and tucks (x 2 x 2, left and right): these seemed kind of fine, but my shoulder mount attempts were dismal

5) open-close cup grip shoulder mount attempts x 3: dismal, despite me lifting my chest, trying to think “pull down pole”. i managed to get my feet onto the pole, but didn’t feel secure enough to pull my hips and rest of the body up and tilt back. think it was just a mental block… need to tilt back next time!!

6) climb, invert (caterpillar), cat ripples, split dismount x 3: i pushed away primarily with my left arm this time (i.e. left arm closer to the ground). my cat ripples are clearly getting much stronger and much more confident. i’ve managed to push away and (my bum) up quite confidently and strongly. yay me!! 🙂 think this is good to strengthen my left (weaker) arm, especially in pushing away, which i really need for my handspring!!

7) climb, invert (caterpillar), mermaid, thigh hold, split dismount x 1: mermaid was reasonably good and confident, although at the start my legs felt a bit unstable and towards the end my lower (pusg-away) arm might be sliding down.. but i think overall my form was good.

8) knee holds x 3: multiple failed attempts from a side climb. i’m not sure if i’ve forgotten the technique / appropriate placement of the pole on the knee, or if i’m just being all wimpy because i’ve lost the inurement to the pain after not having practiced it for a while.

9) outside angel, inverted pike, inside angel (usual side) x 1: was okay.

10) hangback into pencil x 1: felt very insecure and unstable (maybe i was tired because i tried this towards the end of the night). and i basically didn’t release my pencilled feet from the pole and just scissor-legged down

11) pencil mount x1 (right hand on top): this was fine and seemed quite stable and confident, although i’m still a bit messy coming down (legs are uneven). Tried pencil mount with left hand on top and FAILED miserably. i’m just not used to the body placement/dynamics with that hand combination (strange and surprising how a tiny tweak can throw the body off)

12) Ballerina: attempted a couple of times to get into ballerina from up on the pole. Failed!! am really struggling to get the inside arm through.

other conditioning / stretching:
1) scissor climb up the pole (left hand on top)
2) ballerina stretch on the floor x 3 x 2 (both sides)
3) sideways prep/conditioning for ‘hangman’ or handspring deadlift x 2 x 2 (both sides)

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Pole spin

warm-up: was actually there for the full warm-up for once!

1) combo: sideways ‘frog’ extended pose, swing right leg across into invert-V x 3: tried several times, i kind of got part-way there but was not strong enough to invert fully

2) [some of kind sideways extended-pose-like move – maybe dying swan?].. i remember my right hand was on the pole, i had to arch my back and lean away, and J said it was good. not sure what it was though

3) outside angel into inside angel  x 3: getting better, but i still prefer to keep one hand on the pole (more as a security blanket than real support) when i switch the legs over

4) hangback into pencil x 3: did this with my left hand on top instead of right (i.e an alternative hand placement to my usual). This felt much more unstable to me, probably because I’m not used to this hand placement I guess, so my body lacks muscle memory. And despite my left hand being on top, I still felt like most of my weight was being borne by my right hand/arm, and my left hand/arm wasn’t really pulling its weight so to speak. interestingly, J usually places her left hand on top, and she feels unstable if she puts her right hand on top.

5) the violator (hello boys) x 5: climb, extended pose, then lean the body to the left side, keep both hands quite low (this is key!!), keep left leg extended (pole is on left butt cheek), right is bent first, then unfold right leg to form V legs. the key is to really keep the hands low, hips turned in/upwards, and lean away. was much better this time than before… my violators generally looked very confident, although i messed up some of the later ones because the pole was too warm i think

6) extended butterfly prep (bullet, starfish, transition into butterfly upper body positioning) x 4: 1 successful try with J helping me push my butt into place, 2 failed attempts, 3 successful own-attempts – yay!!! this was a real morale booster, since i was struggling with it at first and another girl got into it super easily, so i was feeling bummed at first. anyway, the key is to get the lower hand REALLY LOW…. much lower than i thought it needed to be, and then some! so: bullet (easy), starfish (easy), hook right ankle on the pole (easy), bend the left leg at the knee, slide the lower (left) hand ALL THE WAY DOWN, then tilt the body so that the head is facing down, meanwhile the left knee (of the bent leg) is clamping the pole with the right ankle – and this is actually a surprisingly stable position (it feels like i could stay here forever… except that my right forearm was aching a bit. and i wasn’t sure how long my left arm could stay pushing away from the pole). but i was REALLY happy. WHOO HOO!!!!

7) invert, cat ripple, clamp the legs behind the pole and rise up x 3: was struggling a bit with my cat ripples, i think partly because i was tired, partly because i was trying to do it with my left hand pushing away (instead of having my right hand pushing away as is my usual), so i didn’t feel confident enough to bring it closing to chest-level (instead of face-level) which would enable me to push away more and get more of a ripple going

8) the little combo of: climb, inside leg hook /forward spin, swing across to the other side (flying body-spiral style) into ballerina: was struggling to get the momentum to switch sides of the pole, then forgot the ballerina pose (tried to get the wrong arm behind the pole), then struggled to reach my leg. so, all in all, was a bit of a hilarious attempt, haha.

summary: the extended butterfly prep made my day – yay!

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Pole spin

1)    Reach for the stars (Attitude) – I could hold my leg / foot and lean away, but was struggling to do this hands-free. Needed to get my knee pit tighter into the pole, get my knee more parallel / in-line with my hips instead of being higher, and needed push my hips forward more

2)    Falling angels (left-leg hang to right-leg hang) – I manage to do one switch (outside to inside angel) 3 separate times. It was quite slow (I was really slow and careful about it) and not particularly smooth. But I guess that’s alright to start with…

3)    Invert, thigh hold (future combo is thigh hold into inside angel, which I didn’t work on) – was ok. It was a bit difficult to slide down in thigh hold though because the pole was too sticky

4)    Invert into cat-ripple/caterpillar – J said my cat-ripple was really good and strong – yay!  I didn’t actually manage to see myself though as the mirrors were too far away 

5)    Flying body spiral into ballerina – did this on the weaker side (left hand on pole). Need to really lean body down / to the other side of the pole to get the inside arm down and reach out for the inside leg

6)    Hangback into half-moon – did this quickly. Not sure if it looked nice or not.

7)    Hangback to elbow-stand and straddle roll-down – was okay. Stayed upside down but bum was lightly resting against the pole. Roll-down was quite slow and controlled though, so pretty good.

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Pole spin valentine’s day

was late (as usual) to class


1) Pencil:
1a) tried pencil mount x 6: most times i managed to get my bum to the pole. a couple of times, i even started raising my legs (in a straddle), but i never quite gained the full confident to lift it all the way to the pole, because no one was spotting me. i really need to work on getting my legs up in a ‘symmetric’ way – both legs up at the same time. the couple of times i started bringing my legs up, i noticed that one leg was lower than the other, which made me feel unbalanced/slightly dizzy, and when i tried to compensate, the imbalance would the other way (the previously lower leg would now be higher). having a mirror definitely helped
1b) Pencil from hangback x 3: J spotted me for my attempts at pencil from hangback. I was unstable, especially from the middle, and J had to hold on to my middle (hips / bum). I think the main reason for my lack of stability is that my back was not flat against the pole. It was slightly arched, which made it super unstable. I tried to really focus and get my back aligned, but I think I struggle because my legs were initially behind the pole (in hangback), necessitating an arched back. It’ll take time and practice I guess.

2) Bullet (crunch) spin, removing the top hand, and straightening legs into pike x 5: initially i kept having the pole on my stomach, but it should be very high up on the thighs instead. to be really stable, i really need to lean to the side, so that my body is parallel to the floor. i was struggling to straighten my legs (flexibility issue i think) and keep my body parallel. To make it easier, the straightened legs should be leaning/ pointing towards the floor slightly

3) Crunch butterfly (ie. bullet into starfish into butterfly) x 6: J spotted me about 3x on this… pushing my hips up and holding me there. I didn’t feel very stable in this at all, and came down in a shockingly ungraceful manner. The other 3x was me trying to work it on my own and trying to push up into the butterfly. But after a while, my right heel was feeling sore from hooking (hitting) onto the pole – oops ;p. Basically, the key is to have a solid starfish (leaning back and away from the pole, so the right leg is quite far to the right and front of the pole, and has space to hook onto the pole), then lower the left hand towards the ground (to make it easier to really PUSH away and get the left knee up and behind the body)

4) Shoulder mount (TG) x 5: I did 3x just simple tucks (because my right forearm especially was on fire, and felt like it was about to drop off), then J pushed me up into a straddle.. but I didn’t dare to hold it at all because I didn’t trust my right arm. Then I did a couple more attempts at shoulder mount tucks to finish off.

5) Routine: we practiced the routine a bit… more hanging off the right arm!

6) Outside angel into pike hold into inside angel: I was quite tired and not feeling confident, so didn’t dare to go into pike. Really need to work on this one!!

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Spin pole practice class

1) superman x 3 x 2 (3x on each side): struggled to do this, even on my better side. the callus on my right was in the process of being torn off, so I didn’t put too much strain on it
2) pencil mount x 2: just tried to pull down on my arms and lift my butt to the pole… but again, didn’t try very hard

3) bullet tuck spin into side V and hooking right leg to position into butterfly x 3: mostly i just marked it again

4) australian grip shoulder mount x 3: managed to do shoulder mount into caterpillar with janet supporting and pushing my bum up

5) caterpillar x 3: i did this and then did the lift / unfold from the waist

6) climb outside angel x 4, inverted pike x 3, inside angel x 2: tried to the entire set of transitions, but i was too chicken the first time. to really feel comfortable in the inverted pike, really pull the leg down and curl the body up and into the piked legs. i managed to get into the inside angel, when then inner thigh of my inside leg hurt so much that I had to get down as quickly as possible

7) conditioning including: shoulder mount tuck x 3 x 2 (open cup grip); shoulder mount swan hold x 3 x 2 (open cup grip)

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First class of 2012 – spin at Splash

I had taken 3 weeks off pole since mid December, so I was really nervous about starting again, and was almost tempted to bail, especially since there was some pressure at work.

Technique and moves I revised (all on the other side) include:

1) Climb (more like pull-up) eagle, outside angel, inverted pike (called an “egg”), inside angel x 1: I did the climb eagle and outside angel several times and tried to get the courage to do the inverted pike on the other side, but I failed until Janet was available to spot me.

The key is to make sure the inside leg is engaged and has good grip with the pole. It’s very difficult to really feel secure, so the steps are as follows:
– bend the inside leg (the one not hooked on the pole), and bring it it forward towards the body and face (press the inside of the thigh tightly against the pole)
– straighten the leg, and use both hands to pull the leg as close as possible towards the face and body (as if trying to do a split with body leaning over the front leg)
– once you feel secure with the grip of the straight inside leg (very difficult to feel so!), bring the outside leg to join the inside leg
– i can’t remember which leg should be on top to keep the legs down (i think the inside leg should be on top), and wrap both arms around the legs and keep pulling them towards you
– to transition into inside angel, let go of the hands, and simultaneously hook the inside leg on the pole, and drop the outside leg back to secure the position

2) Climb, hook, superman: I tried this several times, but was struggling to get the confidence to let go of my bottom (right) hand, and rely on my top (left) hand. I think the next time, I would need to lift my feet upwards and when I let go of my right hand, and really reach out

3) ‘The violater’ (a.k.a. Hello-boys) x 3: struggled with this somewhat. Bum cheek kept sliding down. Think I think to turn my hips up more. The steps for the violater are:
– from an extended pose, turn back to face the pole, slide hands lower down (both hands on the pole)
– lean the body to the left, so that the weight is on the left leg
– bend the right leg and continue leaning leftwards, so the right quads is leaning on the pole
– bring the left leg towards the body, then extend right leg out
– try to curl the hip upwards (like in a V-sit)

4) Caterpillar into butterfly x 3: I was struggling to see whether I had actually done it correctly until I saw myself in the mirror, so I had to move poles. The first couple of times, when I didn’t get to see myself in the mirror, I don’t think I managed it at all, because I was struggling to visualise it. The third time was slightly better.

– Caterpillar
– Keep one hand higher up on the pole nearer the legs (left hand for the alternate side, right for the usual side), and the other hand above the head (nearer the bottom of the pole)
– Keep the lower hand slightly higher up (closer to the chest) and push away, and bend legs and sit back (push hips and bum up and away, like in a cat ripple)
– Then push body away from the pole, drop one leg back (the back leg in the butterfly), and slide the other leg to hook onto the pole to get into butterfly. Try to straighten that leg into extended butterfly

5) Flying body spiral into ballerina x 5 (a.k.a. ‘Full monkey’): This was okay. If I did the flying body spiral into swan into ballerina, then I would slide too far down and struggle to get into ballerina. This worked much better when I went straightaway from flying body spiral into ballerina.

6) Twisted grip (Australian grip) shoulder mount (on right shoulder): I made valiant attempts at this. Janet suggested that I have my hands lower as there will be less height to jump.

anyway, if I did it that way, with my hand lower, my wrist would hurt and I struggled to jump up. So it actually worked much better for me if I extended my hand straight. I mainly did tucks, then kicks. But it was much better progress than before.

Janet suggested I try to do a shoulder mount off the floor, and I managed that into caterpillar, although it did feel scary to be so near the floor. But the plan was meant to do an eagle before going into caterpillar from the floor. Oh well, next time then.


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Last private lesson of 2011

[can’t remember]

1) Superman (Climb, hook, starfish, superman) x 3 (last time without climbing): yay!!!! Managed the superman! Three times!! It seemed to just click into place. In starfish, make sure the pole is directly on the hips (no gaps between hips and pole), lower right hand if needed, pull top leg towards my chest then quickly swing it around to bring feet together (bottom leg remains in position) and allow legs / hips to drop. To get out of the superman, turn body back to the pole, let the legs drop a bit and grip pole with left (lower) hand, hook the right leg onto the pole, go back into starfish, then bring left hand onto the pole ABOVE the right hand to climb up the pole, and then come down gracefully.

2) Showgirls x 1: Need to really make sure that the right heel is pressed against the pole, and the left abductor is pressed strongly into the pole – left foot should NOT be hooked behind the pole. Left leg is bent with left foot near the right knee, left leg pressed IN towards the pole. To be safe, first keep the right / outside hand on the pole in true (cupped / Chinese) grip. The left / inside hand is off. Keeping the legs in position, move body around the pole and in front of the pole until right arm is the inside arm (need to let go of pole with right hand), right legs bends to hook pole in an inside angel (left leg goes behind in inside angel shape). To move back to the other side of the pole, lengthen right leg back to the pole (extended inside angel) and create showgirl shape with left leg, then swing body all the way around to the other side, and hook right leg onto pole into outside angel.

3) Aerial half-flag x 2, half-flag x 1: Failed at aerial half flag – my body was not sideways enough. I couldn’t lift my lower (right) knee up… I kept having to support it on the pole. I think I was just too weak.

4) Inverted swan x 3 (the last time I took hands off): I wasn’t very neat and clean getting into the inverted swan (N said I looked dangerous!) – I basically had some trouble getting my body around the pole. N says I should grip the pole with my right hand, and then move under my right hand and use my left hand to grip the pole (pole is tucked into left armpit, and left elbow and hand are gripping pole). To get into inverted swan, sickle right foot to the pole, then hook left leg onto the pole lean out to get the grip, create a swan shape (right leg on top of left to hold left leg in position), then SLIDE BODY DOWN slightly to remove the gap between the pole and body (hands need to slide down slightly as well). Then you can release the hands, but make sure the inside (left) shoulder is pressed against the pole, bring shoulder blades together by arching the chest FORWARD (instead of just bringing the arms/ shoulders behind).

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L5 class

No conditioning.


1) Handstand 4 (ie. inside angel into split handstand), and spin out (grip pole with inside hand, swing outside leg backwards and push off with outer hand)
– i was falling/ sliding down a lot with my inside angel and usually found myself very close (too close) to the floor
– the handstand still feels weird and unstable

2) Cat ripple, straight legs parallel to but off the pole (candle legs), split dismount
– my candle legs were okay and split dismounts very solid, but my cat ripples were non-existent!

3) Aerial walk (push away with side of inside forearm. place forearm up to elbow along the pole and push away. outer / upper hand high on the pole. turn body away from the pole and push away with inside forearm)
– i was really struggling with this throughout.
– it was especially difficult at first because i didn’t get the placement of the inside forearm and elbow
– it was better later, but i struggled to do the aerial walk because I was struggling to turn my body sideways and out (away from the pole)
– my undergrip was surprisingly stable and solid (ie. wrist didn’t hurt), but couldn’t swivel my hips, especially not when my legs were higher
– i got really imbalanced when i tried to swivel my hips, and fell off

4) Superman
– I struggled to get this. i think i was too tired to really focus and make the effort.

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