Who cares about all these grips?
Well, you should! I believe very strongly that in order to be a physically balanced and well-rounded dancer, you should know all of them and try all of them. Sure, you’ll have your favorites, but each grip works your body in a different way, uses different muscle groups, and lends itself to different transitions. Alternating the grips you use can also help you avoid repetitive use injuries, something that’s crucial if you want to stay on the pole!
So. Today’s post is about more grips for inverted poses: elbow grip, forearm grip, and cup grip.
I put these the first two in the same post they are quite similar. Generally speaking if you’re comfortable with an elbow grip you will also be able to bust out a forearm grip. Cup grip requires a different kind of arm strength, but many dancers find that it quickly becomes their favorite grip for the amount of control it gives you over your angles and body position. You’ll notice that in all of these inverted grips, the bottom arm is the same. Neutral wrist, shoulder in handstand position (that is, by ear rather than having shoulder back and down), actively pressing away from the pole.
Elbow Grip Elbow grip was the first grip I learned for aysha, pencil, etc. There are a LOT of polers who are terrified of elbow grip though, because it feels so different from twisted or split grip. Here’s the thing about using the elbow grip: you need to think of using your elbow the same way you use your knee pit in an outside leg hang. Rather than just wrapping it around the pole, you want to wrap and then pull your fist down as you’re squeezing your elbow pit into the pole. Boom, locked grip. SUPER SECURE. And yes, SUPER PAINFUL until you get used to it. Here’s a little screenshot of the amazeballs Sergia Louise Anderson doing an elbow grip….click on the picture and you’ll go to the YouTube video source. And if you do that, you’ll see a move that absolutely blew my mind the first time I saw it. The pop-out from elbow grip to cup grip. And of course done with tremendous musicality. <3
Cup Grip When I think of cup grip, an inverted grip where the top thumb faces downward and the pole is cupped in the palm of the hand, I instantly think of Nadia Sharif. She is the queen of cup grip as far as I’m concerned. Look how happy she is in her cup grip fang! Note her top hand particularly. No wrapped thumb, it’s all cupped for extra pull power. Yeah! And why wouldn’t she be happy? Look at that suuuuuuper neutral wrist. That’s one of the two best things about cup grip. The ability to maintain a completely neutral wrist at all times, and control. Cup grip is my very favorite for those exact reasons. And of course….the previously mentioned bad-ass pop-out. I mean, come ON. Why wouldn’t you want to train a cup grip?
Forearm Grip I don’t see this one very often — in fact, I couldn’t find a photo that exemplified form (to me) so I didn’t even include a picture here of a forearm grip legs-off-pole pose — but it’s definitely a valid grip. To me, forearm grip is very similar to elbow grip in body position and “feel,” the only difference being the position of the top arm. My gripe against forearm grip is that most polers don’t get their hips away from the pole enough, which puts tremendous pressure on your low hand.
In a forearm grip, you can still have your entire forearm locked against the pole while getting those hips A-W-A-Y. Your stomach should NOT be resting against the pole. Let me repeat: your stomach should NOTTTT be resting against the pole. You do this by allowing your elbow angle to straighten. Try it. I promise, it works! PS: I used a screen shot from a Club Mynx video of Brigitte Boyes doing a beautiful caterpillar climb with forearm grip to show just how far away your hips can go in this grip (rock it out, Brigitte!). Click on the picture to see the video source. If you have a video or picture showing a kickass forearm grip, with hips far back from the pole where they should be, give me a shout. I’d love to add it! There are few new grips that have surfaced, which I didn’t cover. Maybe another post in the future!
Happy poling, Pole’r Bears!!!