Progression Series- Intermediate Moves

Often, when I think of an “intermediate” poler, a zillion things come to mind! Inverts, and lay backs and climbs and more. So how, as an instructor, do I progress my clients through them? Read on below!

The word “intermediate” can encompass a lot in pole dancing. To keep things simple, I’m going to simply start off from where I finished the beginner series. I break intermediate moves down into two categories: on the pole and inversions.

In part one, we’re going to focus on “on the pole” moves. There are certain things I expect of my clients before allowing them to flip upside down, and these moves are those things. Why? Because I believe that these moves make the student stronger and better prepared to flip upside down. It will allow them to do so in a controlled manner because they have developed all the skills needed.

The first of these moves, is none other than the cross knee release (layback). Why do I teach this? Isn’t it the same as going upside down?

Cross Knee Release

You definitely do have to have the hips above the shoulders ot correctly perform a layback. However, I use this moves as it does not allow the student any kind of jump/kick which makes for a controlled move. The cross knee also helps develops a pain tolerance on the inner thighs different from basic seats on the pole and necessary when performing cruciifx/inverted thigh hold etc.

Lastly, the cross knee release demands and develops the core muscles. If a student is not able to pull their body up, by themselves, from the layback, they are not prepared to invert (a controlled invert anyways).

The second move I require prior to inverting, is an apprentice (from the floor) pull up. This move is challenging. Extremely challenging. So why do I make it a pre-requisite? First off, it allows the student to get comfortable with having the hips above the shoulders and yet not be “stuck” in an invert.


Secondly, the pull up requires both muscle coordination and extreme pulling strength to accomplish- both things necessary when controlling an invert. If the student can perform an apprentice pull up, they are more than ready to lift into a basic invert.

While those two moves are mandatory for me to progress a student to an invert, some other moves I teach prior to flipping upside down are: hello boys, blade, aerial teddies, ballerina (provided they have the flexibility), side climbs etc.

The main goal of my progressions is to ensure the student is beyons prepared to perform an invert. By the time they are permitted to flip upside down, aside from a a bit of mind -muscle fixing and some coordination drills, they are coming up onto the pole easily, controlled and confident.

So what do I teach them once upside down? Check out part two to find out!

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