Bracket Holds!

another shot of twisted grip, wired up!

Pop quiz: which is my bad side??? I know, I can barely tell either. (looooooool jk jk).


After about 3 years of casually struggling every time I remember to try it, I finally got my half-bracket hold last night! I kind of credit this (along with all my other recent pole gainz) to doing pull ups. Seriously, the back, core, and shoulder strength you get from these is like having a pole super power. Highly recommend!

But aside from that, here are a few technical tricks that really helped me. Maybe they’ll do the trick for you too:

1. Use your elbow as a shelf for your rib cage

I always thought this was cheating. It’s totally not.

2. Retract your shoulders

SO key, both for execution and for the safety of your poor, hardworking shoulders. You can see on the right side of the video that my lower shoulder is scrunched up (not ideal).

3. Use your back

Once your grip feels safe enough to let go with the legs, use your back to arch a bit and pull your legs back and up (just like that back conditioning drill your teacher has you do on your stomach during warm ups!). I’ve found this changes your center of gravity and removes some of the strain from the lower arm. #magic

4. Turn your chest towards your lower arm

…or as my teacher Rica said, “turn towards the opening” which I found slightly confusing at first because OH GOD EVERYTHING’S OPEN I’M GOING TO FALL. Opening your chest and angling it out away from the pole really helps anchor your bracket hold and help you brace better. And again, opening my chest is something you can see I’m clearly not doing in the “fail” side of the video. Don’t be like me.

5. Start low

I was working on this hold with a class of other girls as part of a climb sequence and we all had some serious “Oh Shit” moments while attempting it from way too high a height. I’d definitely stick to one climb’s worth of height while getting comfortable with this move. You need to feel safe enough to get your legs away from the pole, and that’s asking a lot if you’re 6 feet off the ground. Bonus: if you fall from one climb up, it will be more like a tiny, adorable jump than a splat situation.

How do you feel about floats and bracket holds? I know some people have wrist and elbow issues that make this move a no-go. My forearms are definitely a little sore today, so I feel that. Also, how annoying is it that you just completely can’t do this with sweaty hands? It’s so all or nothing!


  1. First, for anyone reading this in the WordPress app, click through to the site to see the pic become a video. The you won’t think you or Cathy are crazy. Second, I always thought this was a full bracket (one hand high, one low and upside down) and a half bracket was like what most people do for a chair spin (one hand high, one pushing at mid height). Meaning I don’t know what anything is called. Third, this is helpful! I have stupid wrists so won’t like try any time soon, but have always wanted it badly and these tips seem good!

    • THANK YOU ANGELA. I always thought it was just a bracket hold too, but was since corrected over and over that a true bracket is how you grab for a chopper/invert (one arm hugging the pole with inside of the elbow and under arm, and top arm reaching overhead with a thumb-up grip). Now I’m rethinking everything and googling (which in hindsight I should have done before answering this comment but I already took too long because I was camping in the WILDERNESS aka a campground with plumbing and OMG this is so long someone stop me.) <3<3<3

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