Progression Series- Flipping Upside Down

So you’re ready to flip upside down. More importantly (to me anyways!) I’ve deemed you ready and physically capable of inverting…. now what?

Flipping upside down is always the main attraction of pole dancing. Everyone wants to try it. If you’ve read part one of this series, you’ll know that I’m pretty specific about allowing people to invert. I expect control which reinforces safety.

With the wide variety of moves out there, how do I know which ones to teach them once they can invert? It’s simple, I progress them.


Starting off- just like anyone else, my students start off learning a basic invert from the floor first so that they understand where there body is supposed to go and what muscles need to fire to get it there. After that, we discuss the “safety” dismount.

After the floor part is understood, they are ready to try and lift- not wildly kick or swing- into an invert.

Right after teaching the basic invert, I teach a crucifix. Why? So they understand how much strength is needed through the legs to hang upside down. Along with the crucifix, I teach a basic twist dismount (again from the floor).

Twist Dis

Following a crucifix come chopper and Gemini (again- from the floor). Both of these moves will have a lot of time dedicated to them as they are essential. While most people can flip upside down, lifting the hips with strength (versus using the legs to pull up the pole) is a challenge.

I consider the Gemini (outside leg hang) a “safety” move. Meaning, this is the move you should come back into them all else fails. This move should feel beyond secure and the student should be able to transition in and out of it without thinking. Until this occurs, no other inverted moves are given.

After the Gemini comes the Scorpio and Gemini Pull Up. Since the pull up is used to transition int many other moves (apprentice/shooting star/side elbow seat/genie) we stay with it until it’s seamless. After all the work on the cross knee release and the apprentice pull up, this shouldn’t take long. The student should have more than enough strength to perform the move and it should simply be a matter of tweaking technique.

After that, progressions become individualized depending on student strengths. Moves like shooting star, side elbow seat, switches, hip holds etc are great for people who are strong through the legs. Other moves, like butterfly, caterpillar, handstands etc are better for those who are upper body dominant and really understand the push and pull of pole dancing.

shooting star

Regardless, every single move, let me emphasize that, every single move should be taught with a proper, controlled dismount. Do not, ever, wait until a student is upside down and try to cue them to get out without having shown them.

I personally teach all clients three separate (plus the safety) dismounts. They are free to choose whichever feels more comfortable at the time.

While it seems that there are so many pole moves you can teach (and there are) stick with the basics first. I always ensure my client is strong enough and understands the technique before allowing them to try it. Play to their strengths, but always prepare them.

Happy inverting ๐Ÿ™‚

Want to know how to learn pole properly? Safely? With proper progressions to make you a badass? Check out these sessions.