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Top Tips to Nail Your Shoulder Mount:

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

The humble shoulder mount. High on the list of pole goals for many but a move that dancers often find a tricky beast to tame.

We’ve come to the rescue with a list of top tips to help you finally master your mount.

picking perfect pole wear

Pick the perfect pole wear.

Unless you’re Cameron Diaz in “The Holiday”, you’re not likely to go for a run clad in Prada heels, and choosing appropriate pole wear shouldn’t be any different. Make sure you pick a pole top like our Lotus or Helix Sports Bra that exposes the skin around your trapezius muscle as this gives you extra grip to help your shoulder stick and prevent that horrible feeling of sliding down the chrome to your doom. Pair with your favourite high or low-waist pole dance shorts and you’re all set.

Condition, condition, condition.

We all hate conditioning but the reality is, if you want to mount, you’re going to need to do some legwork. There are many key muscles at play as you lift, including the deltoids, trapezius, pectorals, biceps and triceps from our upper body which create the vertical pull, and our abdominals, hip flexors and hamstrings which help us execute the straddle.

If you’re lucky enough to have a home pole, knee tucks (either from the floor or standing), can-can legs and candlesticks from the floor will help hone those muscles and get your hips up and over.

No pole? No problem. There are a few nifty exercises you can do whilst you catch up with the latest episode of whatever is trending on Netflix that don’t require anything more than yourself and a bit of floor space (although this is another one we recommend doing in your pole clothes rather than your heels).

Bodyweight exercises like planks, mountain climbers, squats and press-ups will help you strengthen those key muscles. Aim for 3 sets of 10 reps each as a good starting point. You can decrease/increase the number of sets or reps if it’s too hard/easy.

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If you have dumbbells or a kettlebell, exercises like shoulder presses, windmills, and Russian twists

will also help target those muscles. Pull-ups are a great way of training the ‘pull’ so if you don’t have a gym membership, head to your local park. Sometimes they have fitness equipment or you could use the swings! Pull-downs using a resistance band tied to an anchor point can also work well.

Train the negative.

A great place to start with your shoulder mount is to train the downward movement giving you a feel for the balance in the shoulder-mount position.

Different studios use different names so you may know them as shoulder roll-outs, or shoulder dismounts. From your basic invert position, slide down until you can just touch the floor you’re your fingertips. Next place your hands in a cup grip just below your sternum, thumbs up towards your face. Tuck your chin and slide your knees down the pole towards your hands as you roll forwards onto the top of your trapezius muscle. As your legs come down you should be able to shift the pole into the correct position. Keep your elbows forwards and pull downwards with your arms as if you’re trying to yank the pole off the ceiling. Release your leg grip and straddle down as slowly as possible until you’re sitting on the floor.

The slower and more controlled you can make the descent, the more strength you will build in the muscles to help you go up. It’s a great alternative if you’re struggling to get those hips up!

Don’t cut corners

It may seem tempting to take a big swinging kick up into your shoulder mount. After all, who doesn’t love the little height boost that extra momentum gives you? Aside from cheating your muscles out of training the movement in a controlled manner, you also run the risk of shoulder injuries and flinging yourself off the pole. If you make it, it’s also much harder to balance your straddle once you get up there as the weight of your trailing leg will be pulling you back down towards the floor. Take time to properly train your muscles. It may take longer but we guarantee it’s worth it in the long run and you’re much less likely to succumb to injury.

Don’t compare yourself to other people.

It’s a fact we preach about a lot but the reality is there’s no time limit on how quickly you’ll get your shoulder mount. Factors include how much time you dedicate to your training, your anatomy and power to bodyweight ratio. Getting your shoulder mount after lots of hard work is incredibly satisfying. And just think of all the other moves you’ll have helped prepare your body to do during the journey!

We hope our little tricks help you. Train safely and don’t forget to get a mat and/or a spotter whilst practising! Happy mounting!

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