Save your Shoulders

Strength and mobility training for your #polesoldiers

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Course Overview

Pole dancers all want strong and mobile shoulders! And unsurprisingly, the most common injury amongst pole dancers is the shoulder. Whether you’re a seasoned pole dancer or brand new to the scene, chances are that you’ve felt some aches and pains in your shoulder! But how familiar are you with what’s actually moving or engaging in your shoulders to build shoulder strength and mobility safely and effectively?

Well, in this exclusive collaboration with physiotherapist aka shoulder magician Mark Seuring, we will:

  • explore the mechanics of the shoulder and its surrounding structures;
  • look at the relationship between strength and mobility and how it applies to your body and practice;
  • analyse which muscles should be firing up and engagement cues when doing specific moves on the pole;
  • look at some strength and mobility tests;
  • take you through some important rotator cuff isolated exercises, and shoulder strengthening and mobility exercises that are specific and functional to pole fitness; and
  • in this process, we will also be looking at specific drills and cues for you to explore and immediately implement into your training.

What does it cover?

  1. Basic shoulder anatomy: understanding how the shoulder moves. What are the “movers” and the “stabilisers”, and what role do they play?
  2. Shoulder anatomy in practice: we look at the same anatomical structures working in the context of executing various foundation moves on the pole e.g. pole pull-up, split grip, invert and twisted grip.
  3. The Strength-Mobility continuum, and how this applies in pole fitness.
  4. Strength and mobility tests: are you hypermobile? How might this end up in injuries? We will go through some tests you can do to assess where you are in your levels of shoulder strength and mobility. This is important to enable you to tailor and choose what exercises you need to focus on based on your shoulder strength, health and mobility.
  5. Shoulder Warm-up Sequence: we’ve built a cool little warm-up sequence you can do with a theraband at the beginning of your training, which will activate all the right muscles.
  6. Rotator Cuff Isolation exercises: we call this the “buttering of the bread”. What are some of the exercises you can do to activate the little unsung heroes in your shoulder, before you train/perform, and at the end of your training in order to build stability in your shoulder joint.
  7. Functional movement patterns: these involve more complex functional exercises that will build on scapular and rotator cuff strength and stability.
  8. Strength training for Twisted Grip & Split Grip: we go through some exercises which will help train and build your strength for these foundation grips in pole fitness.
  9. Mobility: what are some exercises you can do to optimise shoulder flexibility (spoiler: it’s not just your shoulders that you need to work on! We also analyse thoracic mobility… your pole shoulder’s knight in shining armour…). 

What are the requirements?

  • There no prerequisite course requirements.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Students will gain a deeper systemic understanding of the shoulders and have a strong base from which to work, push, learn and diminish the risk of injury and setback.

What is the target audience?

  • It is open to all levels: this series of videos will have invaluable information for any pole dancer at any stage of their pole journey.

About the Author

The Pole Project is one of South Africa's largest and most successful pole dance studios. Based in Cape Town, we teach group and private lessons in pole fitness, pole dance and stretch classes. The idea was born from a desire to teach the passion and spirit of pole dancing as an exciting way to explore the art of the dance, and as a form of exercise to improve fitness, tone, strength and endurance.

Founded by Kathy Lee in 2014, the vision for the studio was to create not only an "aerial arts playground" but also a space for empowerment. The Pole Project tribe has grown into a collective of strong, fierce and dynamic instructors, consisting of some of the top pole athletes in the country.

Because The Pole Project believes in a holistic approach to training, classes offered include pole fitness, power (strength conditioning), flexibility, exotic pole, pole flow and yoga classes.

In addition, Kathy is the brains behind The Pole Factor, a celebrated annual pole dance competition in Cape Town; as well as A Feast of Flight, an annual pole and aerial dance theatre extravaganza and the first of its kind in the country.

Course Curriculum

Basic shoulder anatomy

  • Understanding how the shoulder moves
    00:05:53

Shoulder Anatomy in practice

  • Introduction: the Rotator cuff in practice
    00:01:18
  • Pole Pull-up
    00:04:17
  • Split grip
    00:03:43
  • The Force Point
    00:02:25
  • Pole invert
    00:02:03
  • Twisted grip
    00:01:17

the strength-mobility continuum

  • The Strength-mobility continuum
    00:06:26

Strength Tests

  • Introduction
    00:01:05
  • Pull-up
    00:03:48
  • Push-up
    00:01:39
  • handstand against the wall
    00:00:52
  • How to train strength?
    00:04:32

Mobility Tests

  • Introduction
    00:00:46
  • overhead flexion
    00:01:58
  • external rotation
    00:02:21
  • back scratch
    00:01:19

Shoulder warm-up sequence

  • Shoulder warm-up sequence
    00:05:11

Rotator cuff isolated exercises

  • The "buttering of the bread"
    00:01:52
  • External rotation (Infraspinatus and teres minor)
    00:02:21
  • Progression exercises for external rotators
    00:05:44
  • internal rotation (subscapularis)
    00:01:47
  • abduction (supraspinatus)
    00:00:54

functional movement patterns

  • Introduction
    00:03:18
  • the "push-up plus" and progressions
    00:08:59
  • four-point position with theraband
    00:02:26
  • scapular and rotator cuff activation exercises
    00:03:02

Strength training for twisted grip and split grip

  • Twisted Grip: top arm strengthening
    00:03:13
  • Split Grip: bottom arm strengthening
    00:06:44

Mobility Exercises

  • thoracic and shoulder mobility
    00:06:22
  • shoulder mobility (with stick or theraband)
    00:04:32
  • muscle release with a massage ball
    00:03:46
  • sleeper stretch
    00:03:39

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