Learning The Hard Way

Let’s face it, we all know I’m a know it all. I think we’re truthfully all a bit biased when it comes to something that “works” for us. But sometimes, what seems easy isn’t the best option.

This past weekend at the Expo was amazing, aside from meeting so many great people and falling in love with pole all over again, I learned a lot about myself.


In the last few months I’ve sustained quite a few injuries. Much of it is due to overtraining which will always be a hurdle to overcome for me. But some of it was due to sheer stubbornness.

I got the chance to talk to a few instructors this weekend about my injuries, specifically my wrist/shoulder pain and my lockes SI joint which resulted in a strained piriformis. And while I am slightly cursing myself now, I learned that both could have potentially been prevented.

If you’re an avid poler, I’m sure you’ve heard of twisted grip. Depending on your personal views you may be pro or con using it. The first time someone put me into twisted grip I laughed my butt off at them. What a ridiculous position for your shoulder! As someone who has torn part of their deltoid before, this position could only cause problems.

But I fell in love with it. Why?

It took me four months to get my handspring but I wanted it so badly!

Because it was easy.

While twisted grip not only distorts your shoulder placing an unnecessary amount of stress on the rotator cuff, it also allows you to hold positions your not yet strong enough for… like handsprings. Because the top arm is in that position and fully extended, it allows to dancer to actively grip and hang rather than pull through the top arm (in comparison to the cup or true split grip).

After a year or more of using twisted grip, and many handsprings later I recently learned that my wrist issues stem from a tight pec muscle which is beginning to impinge on my subscpularis- awesome.

Wrist Pain

If I had simply put in the dedication to learning how to do a handspring with strength I would probably be better off – lesson #1

Lesson number two came in the form of my splits. Many people cheat their splits, you’ve all seen it. People who have a great “over splits” with their hips fully facing outwards when they should be facing forwards. This is cheating. This is easy. And this is what caused my SI joint to lock.


While I always “try” to keep my hips squared when practicing my splits, often I let my hips stray and rotate outwards… often. Again, way easier and for me, less “tension” on my hips- which already dislocate naturally.

Well all that fun rotating really kicked me in the ass because overtime it stressed my pelvic girdle, lumbar spin, hip and siatica so much that I locked them. Which pushed the injury further into a strained piriformis.

So where am I going with this? Aside from persuading you to learn how to use your strength for a handspring and not twist your hips in a split?

Sometimes, you need to take the wrong road before you get to the right one.


Not that I am happy that I am injured, but I’m happy I know what the definite cause was – it means I won’t have my clients make the same mistake. While many of us are “know-it-all’s” when it comes to something we love, continuously educationg yourself is imperative. Especially within the fitness industry when things change so quickly.

Much of my pole dance journey has been self taught- and I’m sure your has to. Ensure you’re not allowing yourself to take the easy way just to look good. Put in the work, the effort, the sweat and the reward will be that much more rewarding.

Safe Dancing ๐Ÿ™‚

Want to know how to learn pole properly and not the hard way? Instead, learn to pole safely, with proper progressions and enjoy pole so much more. Check out these sessions.