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The thing I hear most often associated with Superman is the pain. Doing navel-to-the-ceiling layouts doesn’t hurt nearly so much, but Superman–holding with our sensitive upper and inner thighs–can burn!

In addition to being painful at first, Superman possesses one other very insidious piece of pole dancer kryptonite: it has no good, useful emergency exit once you’re doing it up in the air. Your options are basically to spring off the pole and hope you land on your feet, or fall off the pole and hope there’s a mat under you to break your fall, ’cause you’re going down face first. The first one can be damaging to your shoulder girdle, and the second can be damaging to your face!

Seeing as how I’m a big believer in having a good exit strategy in all pole moves, this is a problem for me. 

That’s why getting your body used to the burn is extra important — and one safe way to do that is to work this pose from the floor long before  you ever take it into the air.

Get on your hands and knees, then back your butt up right against the pole. Keep your hands on the floor in front of you. Bring one leg up off the floor behind you, making sure you cross the pole with your inner thigh in order to get the first part of the grip (think of it as an inverted thigh hold). Both hands are still on the floor! Now bring your other leg up, engaging your inner thighs and crossing your feet if it helps. Your body should be in a feet-airborne plank, with shoulder/core/thigh engagement to help you hold both the pose and get the necessary grip.

Once your legs feel secure in the hold, then and only then reach behind you and grab the pole (thumb up) well above your hips. Arch your back as you reach behind you — you want your shoulders higher than your hips for Superman or it will not be secure, and you’ll end up like Leen Isabel’s famous “Super Fail” cartoon.


This really sums it up for many dancers, at least at first!  Thanks to Leen Isabel for being awesome and drawing the truths of pole dancing.  🙂

So — back to our Superman from the floor. You’ve got your legs engaged and holding, and one hand is on the pole. One hand should still be on the floor, that’s where it stays until you feel like you can test out your hand grip and leg hold by easing it off the ground.

Do Superman this way until you aren’t compelled to jump off the pole fanning your legs and screaming “It burns! It burns!”  Trust me, the pain will go away!

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