For Sharay: What Might Be Messing Up Your Invert (But I’m Just Guessing, Girl)

I have been getting some awesome fan mail lately, which makes me wonder if I’ve been accidentally sending out “I feel like I don’t have anything to offer anyone now that I’m not teaching anymore, might as well just give up on this blog” vibes and y’all just happen to be lovely supportive people like that.

Old photo (and slightly lopsided chopper) but note the straight arms, dropped head/upper body, and lifted hips!
One of my first (and slightly lopsided) choppers! Note the straight arms, dropped head/upper body, and lifted hips.

But THIS ONE got me so excited, because it asked for my help.

(I am nothing if not DESPERATE TO HELP, especially when “helping” involves me being a know it all. Like, you all know me by now, right? This is my jam.)

So anyway here’s a question I got from Sharay:

“I am having so much trouble inverting and doing an open v spin. Am i too heavy? Do you have any tips? Thanks so much!”

First things first (I’m the rilllllest): you are not too heavy.

Why do we always assume that something is mortally wrong with us when we can’t do something right away? This reminds me of being an 11 year old in 1997 when every piece of clothing was cropped and made of lycra and I remember thinking “I AM JUST SO FAT AND WRONG, I SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO GET DRESSED.” Now I’m all LOL, it’s because I was going to turn out all curvy and bangin’, and high-waisted side-zip clam diggers look good on no one.

But that was a tangent.

Sharay, you are not too heavy. Just saying.

OKAY, so from there, please know that inverts are fucking hard. It took me about a year to get mine, and even then, it was sporadic (could do it one day, not the next) for a few months. I still can’t aerial invert, but a large part of that is simply not attempting to.

Assuming you ARE attempting (which please, keep doing that, you’re getting stronger every time you try and fail, trust), here’s some stuff that might be messing you up:

1. You are not allowing your upper body to tip back

This one gets a LOT of people. It’s like you want to keep your head up so you can see yourself chopper, but duh, no one can anatomically get their legs over their heads unless their heads drop. Once you crunch your legs to your chest, let your arms straighten and TIP YOUR UPPER BODY BACK so that your head is lower than your hips. Scary? Fuck yes, this is terrifying, which is probably why your body may not be letting you do it. Get a patient, ballsy spotter who’s not afraid to position you correctly and get used to this position. You’re gonna spend a lot of time here when you get your invert!

2. Your arms are too high

You should be grabbing the pole about chest level, maybe a tad higher, while you’re standing (before attempting an invert). But if you let your hands creep up to eye level or worse, your arms will already be straight, and it will be impossible for you to drop your upper body once you crunch your legs in (see above).

3. You’re not pushing your hips up like your life depends on it

Do me a favor. Next time you’re near a pole, lay down next to it with the pole tucked into one of your armpits. Grab it with both hands as you would for any invert, then slowly draw your knees to your chest. THEN, push up from your hips/butt and open into a V as your booty lifts off the ground. Try it a few times slowly, both in and out. (This is conditioning by the way, so feel good about that!). Is inverting 80% abs? Yes. But that little hip/booty bump is what gets you up and over. And I have a feeling that’s where you might be stuck. So practice this exercise to get comfortable with the movement before you’re all OMG I’M TRYING TO INVERT AND THIS IS HARD AND TOTALLY DISORIENTING.

I’m too lazy now, but let me see if I can shoot a quick vid to visually illustrate these issues. Anybody else want to weigh in? Community effort!!

10 Comments

  1. Thank you so much. I will be doing the conditioning exercise as much as i can. Thank god i have a pole at home. If i have anymore questions you will hear from me again.

  2. Um, so YES, I needed this. Been poling almost 4 years and don’t have more than 5 inverts in my history because I had serious fails early on and gave up trying and just focused on free styling. I so want to nail this but am quite terrified. This helps.

    • Ahhhhh, I love hearing this, because I struggled with upside down stuff SO HARD. It sucks to see so many other polers with a social presence doing crazy flippy stuff like it’s not a thing and then the rest of us are like… ????.

      Yes you need strength, but I would like to officially issue this public service announcement: TECHNIQUE CHANGES EVERYTHING.

      It’s the difference between trying to climb a pole with pull ups and climbing a pole using your ankles to step up. TECHNIQUE.

      Imma make a short video this weekend to better explain how certain body positions make it impossible to invert (even if you’re hella strong). I definitely think we’re not talking about it enough, if this many of us are confused.

  3. I love your blog, it’s both funny and interesting so please don’t stop writing!
    And I’d love if you could put a link so one can subscribe to updates 🙂

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