So many of us are still separated from our pole studios right now – wah! BUT! that doesn’t mean we can’t work on our invert strength!
Here’s a quick workout you can do at home – without a pole – to help you nail your invert deadlift. All you need is a resistance band (or a suspension trainer if you have one!).
Yaaaas ninjas! Let’s do it! ?
Missed the anatomy bit? For the full breakdown of what’s going on when we’re going upside down on the pole, head back to my Anatomy of the Pole Invert post!
Don’t have your invert yet? This workout will help you create a good foundation of strength and body awareness to help you to land this move faster when you are eventually reunited with your pole.
Already have your invert but can’t get to your pole right now? You won’t have to start back from square one when you are reunited with your pole. Off the pole conditioning exercises like these will help you to keep alive the ‘muscle memory’ for your invert and maintain strength in the movement pattern until you once again have your chrome in your hands.
In this No Pole Invert workout, we’ll be focusing on the following elements of the invert that are crucial for success.
✔ Upper body horizontal pulling strength
✔ Core strength
✔ Eccentric bicep strength
✔ Quad and hip flexor strength (…with bonus hip extension!)
Exercise 1: The horizontal pull and upper back engagement
For me, this is probably the most important aspect of the invert and an area that is, unfortunately, often neglected in invert training. You can geek out with me on the importance of this over on my previous blog post. In that post, I covered a few different ways to train that engagement both on and off the pole, but for this No Pole workout, we’ll start with a simple resistance band pull.
If you have a suspension trainer, you can replace or progress this with a horizontal row:
Exercise 2: The core engagement
In our invert, we need to be able to lift our legs from the floor and maintain our core engagement whilst in an open-chain position. Exercise 2 will help us to work on the deep abdominal engagement required for this part of the movement.
This isn’t just about the core. Focus on keeping your shoulders and upper back on the floor, too – this will help you to co-ordinate your upper back engagement WITH the leg tuck.
Progression: If you are working on straight leg inverts, you can progress this exercise by straightening one leg and eventually, by straightening both legs. BUT! Please only straighten the legs once you can perform the movement perfectly with the legs tucked!
Exercise 3: Bicep strength
As we invert, our biceps work to keep our arms bent. They also contract eccentrically (in other words, the muscle is contracting as it lengthens) to control our tip backwards as we straighten the arms. When we hold our chopper, our biceps are contracting isometrically (to hold the position still).
In Exercise 3, we’re focusing on this eccentric bicep contraction.
If you don’t have a suspension trainer, you can use a resistance band as demonstrated below.
Exercise 4: Hip flexor and quad strength… with bonus hip extension!
For the chopper/straddle position, we need strength in our quads to keep our legs straight. Our hip flexors also work hard for the active hamstring flexibility required to bring our legs close to our torso.
Exercise 4 allows us to work these elements while inverted on the floor.
There is a LOT going on with this exercise but remember what we are working on! Focus not only on your quad engagement (keep those legs arrow straight and tightly engaged!) but also on maintaining core engagement throughout. Ideally, you only want to use the hands for light support – you shouldn’t be dumping all your weight into them!
About that bonus hip extension… On the pole, when we transition from an inverted straddle to an outside leg hang, we usually need to get our hips closer to the pole and take our straight leg higher up the pole in order to get our knee above our hands. The lift from straddle to pike in this shoulder stand replicates this part of the movement. You can read more about this here.
How to set up your no pole invert workout
There are only 4 exercises in this workout, so it makes for a nice quick little circuit
Take your time to warm up properly first! I would recommend including some core engagement drills into your warm up (like this and this) to set you up for your invert tucks, as well as some roll downs and neck warm ups to prepare you for your shoulder stands.
For your circuit, perform each exercise in turn, resting when you need to in order to maintain good form. Aim for around 10 reps for each exercise, except the TRX bicep curls – you’ll probably only need to do around 5 reps of those – the slow lowering should be quite intense!
Rest for 30-60 seconds at the end of each circuit and do it 3 x through in total.
Don’t forget to cool down and stretch at the end and – most importantly – enjoy!
You can view all of these exercises together in the Youtube playlist below:
Want MORE pole-specific strength and conditioning exercises to help you on your pole ninja mission? My book, Strength and Conditioning for Pole is available now – over 400 pages of pole strength geeking awaits!