Updated: Feb 21, 2019
The shoulder mount is a one of the moves I like to classify as a plateau move. It's possible to work the shoulder mount for many months before achieving the move, and even then it might still be a struggle. Many polers have the strength to do the shoulder mount, but strength is not enough to make this movement happen. The shoulder mount is a gymnastic move, the body is inverting in a back flip using the pole. As discussed in Part One of the post series, the proper form of the move does not include kicking but engaging the core and upper body muscles to lift the hips up and over into an inverted V position. Having a strong core and upper body is needed, but so is an understanding of the mechanics of this movement.
Breakdown of the Mechanics
A surprising amount of students, who are strong, struggle with the shoulder mount and it’s frequently because the mind and body have not connected on the movement chain required to complete this move. Do not discount yourself; the shoulder mount is demanding. The fulcrum point in this move is at the shoulder joints. To invert and roll onto the pole, the pivot point is at the shoulders and the strenuous move is getting the hips up and over the head … but you probably already knew that if you have tried the shoulder mount. The upper back, arms and shoulders must fire while the core (particularly the transverse abdominals, the lowest abdominal) activates to lift the hips. The legs must also be operating as a guide to lead the hips over the head. All these muscles must be called upon to engage and move in the pattern that produces a shoulder mount.
Set-up for the Shoulder Mount. Back on the pole, place the pole between the spine and the shoulder blade, this is the rhomboid/trap area)
Using a leg for a sweeping movement can help as controlled momentum. I am treading lightly here, do not kick into this move, but controlled momentum can be your friend.
Muscle Engagement Pattern
Pull the shoulder blades together and down, pulling the shoulders away from the ears and engaging the rhomboids down into the lower traps.
Activate the triceps, chest and lats. Engage the core, sucking the abs inward.
Sweep a leg (Most people use same "on" shoulder and leg) as the leg lifts upward, aiming first for that tuck position, hollow and curl and stomach in to roll the hips upward. Press and pull against the pole with the upper body to help lift the lower body into the tucked position and eventually the inverted V. Try to lower back to the ground with control and without losing this muscle engagement.
The Shoulder Mount is Similar to the Aerial Mount.
Check out our blog on the Aerial Mount. You could be Hulk Hogan, but if you don't know how to spark muscles into action, then it doesn't matter.
The Shoulder Mount Requires a Muscle-Firing Pattern. Meaning we have to learn how to engage muscle groups correctly and in the needed pattern to execute the movement. Learning how to trigger specific muscles in a complex full body movement is progressing into the realm of pro athlete. People spend thousands of hours perfecting complex movement patterns.
The Shoulder Mount, if You Are New to Pole is Unpracticed Movement.
Most of us have never done this movement before and many of us have never done gymnastic full body movement. Now if you are coming from years of gymnastics, dance or rock climbing you may have the strength infrastructure and some sort of mindbody connection to the movement pattern. If you do not have this background, be even kinder to yourself.
To Work on Correct Muscle Firing
Try the shoulder mount from the floor and break down each piece of the muscle activation and movement. Even if you can’t get your booty from the floor (It is actually harder on the floor because you cannot use any momentum from the legs) focus on engaging.
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