If you’re in lockdown without a pole, looking longingly out of the window at telegraph poles and lampposts, I feel ya! But I have good news: there is still SO MUCH we can do to maintain (and, yes, even BUILD) pole specific strength while we wait for our studio doors to re-open. Yay!
I’m compiling some ‘at home’ workouts that focus on individual pole tricks. Last week we covered home based strength training for the Ayesha and this week, we’re training at home for our shoulder mount. Boo-YAH! We’re pole dancers, no lockdown can keep us from our goals, no Sir!
No pole? No problem! Grab a resistance band and train for your shoulder mount at home!
First, let’s take a quick look at the key components of the shoulder mount:
✔ Vertical pulling strength in a bent arm position
✔ Ninja-level core strength that helps us to rotate our pelvis from an anterior to posterior tilt
✔Awesome upper back strength to keep our scapular positioning on point
✔ Good active hamstring flexibility, hip flexor, abductor and quad strength to lift our legs and hold the lines of the straddle/V position
Exercises that work on all of these aspects (off the pole) will help us create a solid set-up for mastering the shoulder mount. Of course, ‘on the pole’ progressions are important, too (this is a skill requiring technique, after all), but while we’re all waiting for our pole studios to re-open, there is SO MUCH work we can be doing to lay some Shoulder Mount foundations so that when those studio doors fling open, we’ll be primed and ready for those pole progressions.
Here are some ‘off the pole’ resistance band exercises for building Shoulder Mount strength that I PROMISE will really boost your progress with this move! Let’s do it! 💪
Exercise 1: Vertical pulling in a bent arm position
In our shoulder mount, with our elbows bent, our biceps have to work hard in the initial pull, together with the lats and triceps as we lift our body up and our elbows move closer to the side of our body. At the same time, we need to engage the muscles of our upper back to control the position of our scapular and prevent our shoulders rounding forwards too much.
The exercise below works the same movement pattern, using a band. De-loading the movement like this means we can REALLY focus on all the small but important details of how this engagement feels.
We are goal-driven creatures. When we’re on the pole, sometimes we’re so focused on getting into the final position, that we forget to consider the important details of HOW we get there. By training the correct engagement regularly, we’re giving our body (and brain) a head-start and reinforcing the optimal movement pattern that we want to achieve on the pole.
Exercise 2: Core engagement in the tuck
Here, we are focusing on the deep abdominal engagement required as we tuck our knees up towards our chest. This exercise looks deceivingly simple. But REALLY focus. If you do it correctly, it should feel tough!
Nailing this strict core engagement for the tuck is going to give you a super solid foundation for the magical lift of your shoulder mount!
BONUS EXERCISE! Progression for Exercise 1 and 2: Bent arm pull WITH core engagement
Remember – we’re pole dancers, we do everything EXTRA! Once you’ve got exercise 1 and 2 nailed to perfection, you can begin to combine them together on the pole.
Now we’re REALLY working that shoulder mount movement pattern!
Exercise 3: Leg strength for the lift and straddle
Here, we are tucking the knee in and extending the leg into a straddle, just like we would in our shoulder mount. By using the band, we are adding some resistance to the movement to create challenge and overload.
Exercise 4: Posterior pelvic tilt
When we perform our shoulder mount, we usually begin with our hips in an anteriorly tilted position and move into a posterior tilt as we lift our legs and tuck our hips under. This movement requires some ninja level core strength, particularly from our deep abdominal muscles, but also all of the muscles around the trunk that help to stabilise our spine and hips.
While exercise 2 focused on the deep core engagement required for our shoulder mount, here we’re working this ‘anterior to posterior tilt’ movement pattern.
Exercise 5: Balancing the push-pull
Whaat? Pushing? Whyyyy? Don’t worry, I may have gone a little insane during this lockdown but haven’t lost my mind completely. There is method in my madness! We’re doing a whole load of pulling in this workout, so exercise 5 is simply here to help us create a little more balance and work opposing muscle groups.
Option 1 – do your push-ups in an elevated position. This takes some of the weight off your upper body.
Option 2 – full push-ups. Go ninjas!
Your Shoulder Mount Home Workout
How to scoop all of this awesomeness up into a workout? You know me, I’m a circuit or supersets kinda gal, BUT because this workout uses a single resistance band in a few different set ups, it’s probably going to be faster to do each exercise one by one, so you don’t have to keep tying / untying the band.
- Perform Exercise 1 for 10 reps, then rest for 30 seconds. Repeat twice more through to make 3 sets in total.
- Do the same thing for each exercise in turn.
*Because the straddle exercise works one leg at a time, you can skip the rest time on this one – you’ll be resting one leg while the other works! 🙂
Dreaming of a specific pole trick and don’t have a pole at home? Hit me with it, I love a challenge!
Want to know more about how you can strength train for pole – without a pole? Of course you do! 😜 Check out my book Strength and Conditioning for Pole which is available now in paperback or ebook!