The Progression Series- Basic Beginner Moves

By now you should all know that I don’t teach based on levels. Meaning, just because you hit “level three” does not mean you are prepared to flip upside down. Everyone is unique and progressions should be based upon ability… not time.

So if I don’t teach based on levels, how do I teach?

Based upon proper progression of course!

crawl befor walk

Now, what I am going to outline below is very subjective. Meaning, as much as I follow these stepping stones, occasionally (alright, more often than not) they are altered. Just because one move should come before another, doesn’t mean everyone will master them in this order. Again; each student is unique and their program should be catered to their personal strengths.

The first thing I teach to all new clients is what I call swing motion. This teaches them the principals of a spin (grip, hand placement, momentum) without their feet really leaving the floor. It also allows me to determine what they will struggle with within the next few weeks.

From there we move into basic firemans and their variations. These spins are great starters because they allow the student to grip the pole with a bit of their legs and feel more secure. Again, it reinforces the necessity of creating and controlling momentum. We also spend this time focusing on how to elongate the spins and land them correctly.

Front hook and variations are next. Again it allows the student to use part of their legs for grip and begins to teach them how to thrust their hips- a skill needed much later.

Attitude Spin4

After they have mastered the front hooks I like to transition into an attitude spin or sometimes a knee hook. These are great spins for explaining counter pressure in pole dancing and having students learn to manipulate momentum. The need for both a push & a pull without the risk of coming into straight bracket grips. It also requires the inside leg to completely abduct and remain away from the pole, which begins to challenge the student in a new way.

Then comes a back hook spin which I love because it is all about body awareness. It challenges the student to slow down, understand the pivot, and which muscles need to contract to keep you off the floor.

All of the spins outlined above are taught with an emphasis on transitioning in & out of them. How to land correctly, protect the shoulders through pulling and learning to increase/decrease momentum (the how and why). Before getting into more technical spins, I have them learn a few combinations with the spins above (front hook extended into a back hook).


I also teach basics seats to beginners. While this is a bit “controversial”- GASP!-  here is why:

Sitting on the pole reinforces the necessity of “pulling” in pole dancing. It begins to strengthen the upper body to help get them up on the pole while conditioning the inner thighs to the pressure that will come from more intermediate holds. On top of that it requires the student to learn how to dismount from the pole. I use a carousel dismount which is done as a negative chin up- thus reinforcing the development of upper body strength.

Everyone progresses through basics seats differently. As some people cannot up with the arms enough to hook the legs, some start from the floor leaning into the pole. Some great conditioning exercises stem from learning to “step up” on top the pole using your arms to pull and your foot to push.

As far as seats go there are many different ones I progress through (basic seat, thigh hold, seat wit extended legs, tilted seat etc). All of the require staying relatively close to the pole.


All beginner sessions will also include moves like pirouettes, squats, swoops, floor get ups etc. But my big goal for beginners is to develop strength through the upper body, learn to contract necessary muscles and understand the  mechanics needed to leverage their bodies on the pole.

I also like to end each session with pole conditioning exercises. I place an emphasis on upper body, core stability and extension. Why extension? Much of pole dancing (and life!) is done in flexion (bringing knees close to chest) this further develops any postural imbalances. I look to correct, or at least balance that by including extension exercises (hip thrusts/supermans etc).

Pole dancing is a fun, challenging workout and a great way to stay in shape. But safety should always be a priority. Have a plan and build up form there.

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