The shoulder mount is an intermediate-advanced pole dancing trick. It is a method of inverting (going upside down) on the pole that calls for a lot of shoulder strength, which lifts your body off the ground, but also a lot of core strength, which is needed to lift and hold your legs up.
You can’t simply jump straight into a trick like this. It takes conditioning, planning and preparation, both on and off the pole before attempting a shoulder mount. As with any advanced pole trick, you need to work towards it.
You should be at the right fitness level before attempting a shoulder mount or you could risk injuring yourself! You should be able to comfortably perform an aerial invert, a flying v (chopper) and an inverted crucifix (from a regular invert) at the very least before attempting a shoulder mount. However, you can begin conditioning and preparing yourself for this trick right away!
This article contains tips on how to work towards performing a successful shoulder mount. It really is a very versatile trick, it’s also a wonderful transition move for getting into and out of other poses.
It can, however, be quite tricky to master. This trick feels like such an unnatural position at first. Saying that, it’s perfectly possible for someone of above-average strength to perform a perfect shoulder mount with the correct technique.
So, let’s begin…
Do you remember performing shoulder stands when you were a kid?! Let’s start with some off-pole conditioning for your shoulder mount.
To perform a shoulder stand correctly, start by lying completely flat on your back and keep your legs straight in front of you. Keep your arms straight by your side. Do not lift your head or neck up at all.
Raise your legs up off the group until your (pointed!) toes are pointing at the ceiling. Then, slowly raise your butt and lower back off the ground until you’re balancing on your shoulders.
It can take some practice and coordination to find the right position for you balance. Just be careful not to raise your head or neck off the floor! If you find it difficult to balance, place your hands on your butt cheeks to support yourself, but don’t rely on them too much.
Once you can manage a full shoulder stand, try to hold it for as long as you can – this will strengthen your shoulders, helping you prepare for a shoulder mount. Also, try holding your legs in different positions:
Leg raises are another excellent off-the-pole conditioning exercise. Lie flat on the ground with your arms behind your head. Make sure your legs are straight and your toes are pointed (it helps engage more muscles if your toes are pointed).
Keeping your legs straight, lift your feet just a few inches above the ground. Do not lift your head up – keep staring at the ceiling. Hold your feet just a few inches off the ground for 5 seconds, then point your feet at the ceiling and hold for another 5 seconds.
Bring your feet back down to a few inches off the floor and hold it again. Repeat this movement for 12 repetitions, rest for a minute, then perform another set.
This exercise is amazing for working the lower abdominal muscles and will help tone up that ‘pouch’ that so many women dislike having.
Practice the Should Mount Grip with your Feet on the Ground
Your pole instructor should demonstrate the correct shoulder mount grip to you. You should be standing with your back facing the pole and the pole on your dominant shoulder.
You then place your inner hand above your shoulder on the pole, your outer hand then goes above that hand with both your palms behind the pole. Your thumbs and fingers should be ‘cupped’ behind the pole. Both your elbows should be bent. It’s important that your grip is strong and your body is in the right position, once you begin inverting, you can’t lose your grip or you’ll slip and probably fall quite badly. Your hands and shoulder are the only points of contact, so it’s very important to become comfortable with this grip as part of your conditioning.
Get used to being in this position, as it may feel uncomfortable at first. But soon you’ll realise how this starting position works, which is important to do before you start to lift yourself.
There are actually several variations of the Shoulder Mount grip. What I’ve just described is the most common, ‘true’ shoulder mount grip. It’s also less-commonly taught with your top hand inverted (thumb at the top and palm facing backward) with your lower hand in the same position as true grip. This is sometimes called a ‘Twisted Grip Shoulder Mount’ or an ‘Inverted Shoulder Mount Grip’.
You can familiarize yourself with these different types of Shoulder Mount Grips with your instructor to guide you.
Shoulder Mount grip ‘knee raises’
Now that you’re used to the Shoulder Mount grip, you can use this to perform some conditioning exercises with the pole. Stand in a shoulder mount grip, then lift your feet a few inches off the floor, with the aim of bringing your knees up to your chest.
Maintain your position with your head back and shoulder firmly against the pole. Keep your knees together as you begin to lift legs up.
Repeat this movement with 3 sets of 3 (resting in between) as part of your pole conditioning routine.
For advanced polers who can already shoulder mount, try performing three full knee raises, as slowly as you can without touching your feet to the floor!
Shoulder Mount laying down on the floor
Lay down flat on the floor with the pole on your dominant shoulder. Make sure you have enough space in front of you to lie completely flat with your legs straight.
Put your hands into the shoulder mount grip while you’re lying down.
Keeping your butt on the floor, lift your legs up as high as you can, trying your best to keep them as straight at possible.
Work your way up towards a full shoulder stand with your hands in this position. For extra strength-building, perform this as slowly as possible from the floor and make the descent as slow as possible too!
Once you can Shoulder Mount, what’s next?
From your shoulder mount, there are plenty of advanced and impressive tricks you can go into!
- Brass monkey
- Inverted crucifix
- Pike leg hold
- Shoulder Mount plank
- Shoulder Mount ‘V’
What are your favorite combos that include a shoulder mount?
Related: 5 Ways to get into a Superman Pose
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