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How to Get a Shoulder Mount Part 1

The shoulder mount is one of the coolest moves in the pole universe. It’s gymnastic, magical and definitely on every polers tic list for goal moves. It can also be a move that torments, makes people cry and eludes on the journey with pole.

Important factors in the Shoulder Mount

1. Strength and Engagement

2. Mechanics. We will get to this piece of the equation in How to Get the Shoulder Mount PART 2

3. Controlled Momentum. We will get to this in another blog post.

The Set-up

Here are a few tips on the set-up. Place the pole into the meat on the back, between the shoulder blades and the spine, this is the rhomboid/trap area. The pole is not on the deltoids, scapula or spine. Place the arms overhead in a cup grip with the thumbs on the same side of the pole as the fingers. (Yes, there are other grips, but cup grip is essential for pole and it's a good place to start). Also figure out which hand is prefered low or high, eventually we want to be able to switch. (Most people like the same shoulder side, same hand low, meaning right side, right hand low.) Engage by pulling the shoulder blades together and down. Pull the core in and up. Begin with a controlled tuck up and hold, do not kick. With control lower down, if this went well try to extend to an inverted V. Seems totally easy right.

You need to be strong in the upper back and core. I know you really want this move, but if you are kicking and have to wrap onto the pole once inverted, you need to strengthen the upper body and core. You should be able to invert to a chopper or V position in the shoulder mount. You should not have to kick. If you do not have an solid inversion, this move is near impossible, but you can start working it with Tuck Ups.

Working on Strength

The Shoulder mount is a lift that requires massive muscle engagement and coordination. Scapular retraction is key in making this move. Read our blog on scapular retraction to understand the form we are talking about. Doing pole will help you strengthen the working upper back and arm muscle groups, including the lats, pecs, rhomboids, traps, delts, SITS, biceps and triceps.

The back, arms and shoulders are making the movement happen, but so is the core. Many of us forget to engage the core. The core engagement for the shoulder mount is a hollowing action in the stomach, pulling the abs in and up. This engagement is what will help get the hips up and over the head. First thing first, make sure the abs are strong enough. If the abs are weak you will end up kicking, straining or doing the movement in a way that can lead to an injury. Another important part of core engagement is not releasing the core by arching the back. This means do not throw the head back to look at the ceiling, most likely this will cause the abs to let go.

Strengthening Moves for the Shoulder Mount

Tuck Ups

Set-up for a shoulder mount standing or seated on the floor. Engage and slowly roll up to a tuck position and slowly roll down. Make sure to actively pull the shoulder blades down and back and that the core is hollowed before attempting to lift up to the tuck and don’t forget to control the down. The eccentric movement of the down tuck is intense, but learning to work this downward movement will make for strong pole.

Tuck Drops from an Inversion

Set-up for a basic inversion and with control come up to a tuck position. Slowly lower the hips back down. Sometimes this is called the tip and tuck and it's awesome for lower abs. Try to avoid the ground and go for as many good form reps as possible. This move works the back and upper body, but is a great way to build core, especially the lower abs.

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