This is the script I read off of my “how to invert chopper on a spin pole” tutorial that is uploaded here on YouTube. So if you’d like a visualization of what I‘ll be talking about this is a good resource. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQNdcljo2P4 Also if you are still struggling with the basic static invert here is the link to that https://www.pengpoledance.com/how-to-invert-on-the-pole/
Prerequisites of a spin invert (IMO*)
So you’re thinking it’s time for your invert chopper on a spin pole? If you want my opinion, I think you should be able to invert on a static pole beforehand. I’d also check to see if when you approach a static invert you’re able to tuck in both legs and hold in this hold for a few seconds without collapsing through the arms.
If not, I’d suggest you keep working on your static floor invert with the conditioning exercises I’ve suggested. Alternatively I will be introducing you to some ways you can cheat your way into a spinning invert if you’re dying to try it out.
Physics of a spinning invert
I discussed in my previous tutorial how the invert is essentially us shifting our center of gravity behind the pole. Physically the only reason we are able to tip backwards, is because we have shifted our center of gravity behind our point of support. In an invert my point of support or parts of my body that are keeping me connected to the pole, is roughly where the hands and side come into contact with the pole. Your center of gravity is an imaginary point within your body where gravity seems to pull your body down. Just like in our standard invert the spinning invert requires us to complete the exact same weight shift.
However, being that we’re shifting to a invert chopper on spin pole, the added spinning actually adds some additional complexity in the form of an additional force you have to apply in order to not fly off the pole as you spin. If you’re curious, this force you must apply is called a centripetal force. Your biceps, shoulders, forearm, chest, core are all applying this centripetal force in towards your pole. Visually it’s essentially me trying to hug in towards the pole, as it feels like the pole is trying to toss me off away from it. Look what happens to me the moment I stop applying that inward centripetal force. So, not only do we have to worry about shifting our center of gravity behind the pole to invert, but now we also have to apply extra muscle strength inward because our bodies are spinning. This right here is why spinning inverts are harder. So let’s get into the nitty gritty on how we can make it as easy as possible, and use a bit of physics to cheat our way to success.
How to do a reverse invert chopper on spin pole
Let’s begin first with a reverse invert chopper on spin pole. This version is more similar to the static invert. It is completed in a reverse spinning motion, which is why it will feel slightly more familiar if you can successfully invert on a static pole. The main difference once again is that you will feel as if the pole is trying to pull you away. To get an idea of what I’m talking about in reference to this centripetal force, try sitting to the side of your spin pole and lean back, bending and scrunching in your legs. You’ll notice the faster you lean back, the more inward force is needed by you to keep your side in contact with the pole. The same applies if we try leaning back from a standing position. So the lesson here is to not jump back or go super fast as you lean back, because all you will do is increase the physical demand for more inward force your body has to apply towards the pole. This pace I’m showing you right here is a good speed for example. So let’s begin to take a look at how you should ascend off the ground into your reverse invert.
Much like a regular invert, I enter my strong hold position, initiate my vertical lift, engage my back, and begin to tuck in my inside leg. The outside leg is a different story however. Something you may have noticed other pole dancers do, is they stick their outside leg out to invert. I do see people enter a reverse spinning invert with the inside leg extended or both legs extended. There is no “correct” way to orient your legs, but whichever orientation you decide to enter will impact your approach to invert. This all has to do with your center of gravity and how you are deciding to manipulate it in your tip back. One variation I would not suggest however is to tuck both legs. Tucking in both legs is a familiar approach to a static invert, where our sole mission is to get as much of our weight behind the pole as possible. That’s cool but you’re forgetting that our back, arms, chest, biceps, and shoulders are under a lot more strain because we have to engage extra hard while spinning.Tucking in both knees or bringing straight legs directly over the body stacks a majority of my weight over the upper body, which will now have to carry this burden. If you have a pretty good pancake where you can achieve your chest touching the floor with a flat back in a straddle, then you could definitely get away with both legs being extended as a beginner. But let’s say your flexibility isn’t quite there, or you’re really unsure about this movement. Speaking for beginners who are learning their spin invert on the ground, I think the easiest leg orientation is actually extending your outside leg and tucking in the inside one.
It is easier on the body because I want to take some of that strain away from my upper body, and channel it to my side. Our contact point with the pole, being our hands and side at this point, acts as a pin point of attachment. If I extend my mass away from this point aka my outside leg, then my side will pick up some of this load by shearing against the pole, relieving my upper body of some strain. So it’s very important as I enter my reverse spin invert that I fully extend this outside leg as far as possible away from my body. Going back to our initial ascension, I will rotate my outside hip open so that the inside/back of my leg is facing towards the ceiling. Micro bending in the knee is common. Point your toes, and engage your quads, not only for a fully extended leg, but also a more aesthetically pleasing invert entrance. Think of your toes as if they are drawing this huge circle around the pole. Don’t draw a half circle or start drawing this circle and start to stack this leg over your upper body. For more practice, try it on the ground and get used to how to take up space with this outside leg. As you practice this either on the ground or standing, get in tune with the spin pole, and get a sense for how fast you should be accelerating away from the pole and curling in towards it. As we’re on the topic of extending yourself away from the pole, let’s talk about our heads. I like to have my eyes and head follow my outside foot. You can see how I’m tilting my head towards this foot. It looks like I’m leaning in towards the outside of my body. It is tempting to look up towards the pole and enter cervical flexion, but as you can see this hunches my back which is just asking for me to slide down vertically. Again, all I’m doing here is trying to take as much pressure off my upper body as possible. Take some time to build some muscle memory for this initial ascension.
After I have completed lifting my feet off the ground, you’ll notice here I start my tip back.This tipping back motion is guided by the outside leg and my head. It’s as if my toes are pointing me in the direction I desire to go. As my outside leg makes a circle it moves as close as possible to my face. This right here has actually shifted some of my weight behind the pole, making my tip back easier. It’s common that students try to extend their inside leg as a means to shift more weight behind the pole, but please refrain from doing this until your hips are stacked as high as possible. That inside leg should actually be cupping and tucking in towards the pole, almost acting as a pivoting point as your body rounds around the pole.
Our main objective to tip back is to shift as much of our weight behind us as possible. So the inside leg, back, core, upper body in general are engaging very similarly to our static invert. So scapular retraction, and shoulder extension being the main drivers, only this time the force is applied angularly. If you remember from my static invert tutorial we broke the motion into a vertical pull and horizontal push. During spin we must also add in centripetal inward force, so fusing all three force vectors together we get a force directed diagonally behind ourself. So the takeaway here is that you should not solely focus your muscles to lift and tip you straight back. You should be aiming to channel your power almost in a diagonal aimed towards the pole for maximum efficiency. It’s all too common, I’ll see beginners struggle with the fusion of forces and solely focus on just trying to rock back like they did on a static pole. That’s not going to work here, and your muscles will tire very easily leading to a fall out something like this. If you are struggling on where to direct your power refer back to when you were just playing on the ground flinging your outside leg open and flowing in towards the pole. As you got more comfortable you probably noticed how if you timed your movements right paired with fluid non rigid movement, flying backwards and picking up your hips probably felt easier. Take note of how your upper body is contracting to cause your movement to become more fluid. Just like in a static invert being able to extend your upper thoracic spine and access your upper back strength is an absolute necessity. If your back is looking hunched it could be that the strength found in your back isn’t sufficient enough to hold your weight, or you don’t actually know how to access your upper back.
If this is the case i’d take some time to troubleshoot. Sticking with the theme of tipping back we’ll use a bit of physics to cheat. To do this we’ll try to make our top half heavier than our bottom half, but not add additional weight to our upper body. This is where a band comes in handy. I have this long band but you could use a looped band. The objective is just to make our hips lighter. So the more resistance or higher you place your band the easier lifting your hips will be, and therefore your tip back will also be easier. This could be a great conditioning exercise for you to work with. Make sure to throw in some slower eccentric tip backs as well, meaning we’re just stalling and slowing down that tip back on purpose to throw ourselves an extra challenge. Holding this tipped shape with an open chest and engaged upper back is excellent exercise for strength and also building body awareness. If strength isnt your issue or the only issue, it may be that youre still having trouble with the biomechanics that are involved in keeping an engaged back. Usually students tend to focus on either pinningin the shoulder blades together or sending the elbows back and forget that both motions work in harmony to lift your body. I get a lot of questions about how to train your body to combine the two movements. If you’re in this boat i’d switch to a static invert until you’ve unlocked this skill, but since this issue is so prevalent I will also be providing a detailed video on the biomechanics that will assist in your training.
So banded or not, once your hips are at their highest elevation and you feel your center of gravity has shifted past the pole, you can fully extend both legs with a hip hinge. Now if your back is hunched and or your arms have extended try upping the resistance on your band and keep conditioning those muscles we covered in the static invert tutorial. The exact same muscles are used, just with a higher intensity that you have to get accustomed to. So yes this movement does require an intense amount of constant contraction through the upper body, but a lot of it is also building that muscle memory and finding the correct time to jolt your muscles into action. As you extend the legs you should be at a vertically stacked position, meaning you’ll feel your center of mass alIgn with the direction your head is tipping. Your chest should be open, neutral spin, and hinged hips. If you’re attempting an outside leg hang, let’s say, being comfortable hanging out here with this hunched shape is a good start.
How to do a forward invert chopper on spin pole
Okay so we’re moving onto the forward spin invert! This one I actually think is a little more difficult and its approach is definitely different than the reverse spin invert. That added centripetal force our muscles have to apply towards the pole is felt a little more aggressively on this spin invert which is why I think it’s a bit more difficult. A big portion of this invert is essentially us corkscrewing around the pole, tipping to the side and then upside down. If you’ve had experience on a spin pole, you’re probably aware of the speed changes that occur the closer and tighter you press your body to the pole during a spin, and we know that the faster you spin the more work you have to do so you don’t get tossed away from the pole. That is exactly why jumping into a forward spin invert with elongated arms is so very difficult. So we will initiate our forward invert close to the pole allowing us to choose the speed at which we spin.
In contrast to a reverse spin invert your main focus shouldn’t actually be tipping backwards but actually tipping to the side of your pole and then moving backwards. Now we could initiate a forward invert chopper on spin pole by focusing on tipping straight back but that is a very inefficient use of our energy, but potentially a very brutal but effective conditioning drill.
So breaking down how the upper body is pulling us into our forward invert chopper on spin pole. Initially there is this vertical pull where my head is trying to reach my hands. We’re starting on the ground so you won’t have to pull your way up, but since both feet are off the ground, being able to hold this position without extending in the elbows immediately is a required strength skill. Secondly when we initiate our invert, our arms will be pulling us horizontally in towards the pole. You can see as my arms do this my chest and head move deeper into the pole, shifting my center of gravity.
So if you are beginning your forward invert chopper spin pole and you’re struggling to keep your elbows bent and face and chest close to the pole, that is a sign your pulling muscles need some help. A pulling motion can be composed of a shoulder adduction which drives the elbows down and towards the sides, and like a static invert there is a fair amount of scapular retraction sprinkled in, which is just those shoulder blades pulling in together. If you’re looking to strengthen your pulling power, I’d simplify looking at the main players in the body which would be the back, biceps, and rear delts. I’ll be dropping that video on some of the best pulling exercises you can do with weights or a pole, just like I did for the back specifically a while ago.
Now as we continue to pull our body in closer and past the pole, the exterior hips will have to raise in a lateral flexion through the obliques. This will be coupled with a posterior pelvic tip triggered through the abdomen. Now you’ll notice here I’m almost cupping in towards the pole. My outer hip and leg are trying to stack over the interior hip and leg reaching as far over as possible. My whole body is trying to reach the inside of the pole in order to shift my weight to the other side of the pole. Lifting rigidly into a position like this isn’t wrong but again an inefficient use of your energy. Instead we’ll try to incorporate some momentum in this section of the movement to assist. That added momentum will come from two sources. The first is the outside leg being thrusted over towards the pole, allowing your hips to twist in as well. The second source can actually be found in the upper body pulling up and in. Coupled and timed well together these two motions will significantly reduce the amount of strength you’ll need to get at least parallel with the ground before you tip back into your full invert. I know I said earlier you can start with arms pre bent, but now if you’ve found you have sufficient pulling strength try elongating the arms slightly but remain close to the pole to avoid the speed change. Have all your weight placed on the inside foot with the outside leg shifted behind you. Practice a gentle thrust of the exterior leg and hip over to the other side and pulling in towards the pole. Build the muscle memory and figure out the timed pairing of these two motions that make getting your body parallel to the ground easier. You’ll see me doing a similar exercise in my conditioning videos. These are great for building that muscle memory for the timing in this movement. You could approach this with straight legs, bet inside leg, or bent outside leg. Play with whichever you prefer.
As you build strength and familiarity with this motion you’ll be able to shift more of your weight to the side of the pole and feel that shift in your center of mass. It’s a sensation that welcomes an extension through the elbows. That extension I’m talking about is what drives us into a tip back. I’ll see students force this motion, and I say force because it doesn’t come naturally if the hips aren’t high enough. If anything they’re just pushing themselves back to the ground leading to a lot of frustration. Some things that may hold you back from approaching this sensation could be a rounded back and tucked head. I know it’s tempting to look at the pole, but all you’re doing is encouraging a rounded upper back, which will kill your hips’ ability to reach their highest position. Our upper back should be just as engaged as the arms, leading to a flat back and elongated spine. If you are able to get your hips above your head but your invert is looking hunched, I already know your back has checked out and you’ve fully extended your arms.
You could totally use the same banded technique to assist your hips up, like I had shown for the reverse spin invert. From this point on, the forward spin invert entry is almost identical to the reverse entry. Just extend the legs and head back, and hold.
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