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Changing up your grip

So you’ve been doing this whole pole dancing thing for a while, and you’re pretty confidently doing inverts, shoulder mounts, maybe even some inverted poses/holds. Now is the time to experiment with trying to change grips. Not grip aids. Grips! What? You didn’t realize there were other grips? Well read on, because there are various grips for many moves/holds, and each one leverages your body and strength in a different way. You might find that a deadlift shoulder mount that seems impossible in a princess grip is easy as pie in a Chinese grip. Or vice versa. Also, different grips lend themselves well to different transitions in/out, as you’ll see in a few of the example videos linked with the descriptions. Please note that these descriptions are NOT intended to be a substitution for eyes on the ground. When attempting any of these you should make sure you have a mat and a reliable spotter!

Shoulder mounts

Today we’ll talk about shoulder mount grips. There are several grips you can use to do a shoulder mount. In fact, I may not even be naming/describing all of the possibilities! One of the most common is the double cup grip. That’s the one I’m doing in the picture above. But there are so many others you can (and should!) try!

princess_gripPrincess grip: I also know this one as the twisted grip. One hand is high on pole, arm crosses over the front of the pole, hand wrapped around the opposite side. Low hand is cup grip above head. This video shows one in action.


Claw grip: Think of this one as a princess grip but with the high hand behind the pole rather than wrapping in front. Called the claw grip because most dancers place the pole between their fingers as their hands make a claw shape. This one isn’t used very often.



Chinese grip: So called because this grip is used frequently in Chinese pole (which is, as are all things pole, AMAZING to watch). For this grip, both hands are placed in front of the pole, with palms facing backward and fingers wrapped. Most students are petrified the first time they do this one — but it is a very secure grip when done properly! The powerful and gorgeous Sarah Scott does one here.


Half Chinese grip: One hand placed in front with fingers wrapped, one hand cupped behind the pole. You can do this one with top hand to the front/bottom hand cupped behind, or top hand cupped behind/bottom hand to the front. They feel different, and different dancers have their preferences.


Elbow grip: Love love love your EG stuff? You can totally do a shoulder mount with one! Bottom arm is wrapped behind the pole, with inside of elbow as contact point, top hand is usually cupped. I don’t see this one much so I don’t have a picture of it. If you have a good one, or a video showing it, please comment and post it! 🙂

Next week we’ll talk about different grips for inverted poses and holds. Until then, happy poling! <3

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