Compass Or Spider Monkey Pole Pose? The Difference & Conditioning Cues That Will Help Nail Them


I’ve seen so many pole moves called by different names, but a rose is still a rose right? After doing some research on the compass and spider monkey poses and conditioning them both, they’re so different. Both I believe are beginner moves, but they’re on different levels— so let me talk about and show you how to condition for them using resistance bands.

What’s The Same Between Spider Monkey & Compass Holds?

These two holds seem like siblings but they’re really close cousins. They’re the same in that

  • At least one single leg is gripped to the pole, making contact with hand to squeeze for security
  • The other leg is extended off the pole
  • Opposite hand to opposite foot is pulling the at the ankle/foot
  • Torso is moving toward the leg that is extended

What’s The Difference Between The Two?

Spider Monkey Pole Hold – Beginner Level 2

  • One leg locks on to the pole through the back of the knee grip. Pole is squeezed between thigh area and calf area
  • One leg extends, with hip rotation, around the pole. Pole is situated in hip crease
  • Arm that grabs the hinged leg’s foot comes under the extended leg
  • There are 2 points of wrapping grip contact in the spider monkey hold

Watch how to condition for spider monkey pole pose:

Compass Pole Hold- Beginner Level 3

(Level 3 specifically for the flexibility and body trust needed to execute it in this variation)

  • One leg hooks on to the pole through. Pole is squeezed between back of the calf and part of the thigh
  • One leg extends off of the pole. Pole makes skin contact around the under butt/thigh area
  • Arm grabs the hooked leg’s foot first to secure the only grip contact, reaching over the leg that will be extended
  • Shoulder and torso rotational flexibility are crucial to reaching the hand over to the extended leg and can affect grip strength of the hooked leg if underperformed
  • There’s only one “true” grip security point of contact

There are other variations of the compass pose that will provide more secure points of contact with the pole. So you can progress to this particular variation with conditioning and variation drills.

Watch how to condition for compass pole pose:

Visually See The Difference:

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