whatchusay/ What Does “Square” To The Pole Mean for Pole Dance?

Shoulder lean in this bitch?

Cleaning up my inverted alignment + my alignment as I transition was my personal conditioning jam last week. It is not fun. 

Because when my head drops it immediately wants to see wtf is going on and my shoulder leans, my hips lean and all the alignment is off. It’s a personal habit that I have to consciously work on through conditioning.  

Remaining in what they call a  “square” alignment with the pole is important for so many skills.  Read on for explanations about “square”.

Being Square = Being In aLINEment. 

Most often, when you hear someone say “square with the pole”, what they’re referring to is an attempt to allow the pole to dissect the body into left & right, right down the middle  sagittal plane). 

The first time I heard Carolyn say, “square your body”, I knew what it meant; but actually orienting my body to get into alignment while suspending proves to be harder as some bad habits have developed over time.

In a Carmine “Erotique” class, she mentioned the word sagittal while explaining how we should be aligning during a movement— and I remember asking what that meant and her giving me the breakdown.  I had never heard the word prior to that class.

To bring it around town, being square means: the pole should be right in-front of your nose and there should be a conscious effort to have equal body on the left as there is on the right to be in line with the pole

What does it look like when you’re off balance and not in alignment?

For me it’s when me and the pole are at odds. I can feel it as I get into a pose or grab the pole. I feel off-balanced. This usually happens for me a lot in split grips and it happens especially when I am inverted.  I have a tendency to move my head to the side of the pole, forming a perpendicular alignment with my torso instead of a parallel alignment with my nose in line with the pole.

Imagine, when your head isn’t dropping down to meet the pole parallel, the shoulders also are not moving .  And shoulder alignment is CRITICAL MASS important for many things but mainly:

  • Being capable of balancing  weight without overloading the joints (maintaining  stability). 
  • Being in position to  push and pull on demand without over-muscling either force

What does it mean if you’re having trouble being square with the pole?

What I’ve experienced about alignment, being square in particular, is that if I’m having trouble staying in line with the pole then there may be a couple of issues. Either:

  • Misdirected gaze (sight has impact on placement)
  • Muscular or posture imbalance 
  • Misunderstanding of counterweighted actions ( I’m probably over muscling or overextending a joint thus overcompensating)
  • Stiffness and tightness in a muscle or joint  

How do you condition for alignment? Here are some options

  • Practice suspension upright in your introductory grips (forearm, baseball), by keeping the nose in line and hips square with the pole as you suspend.
  • Practice your pencil pose/skill on spin, holding the alignment for as long as possible. Increase difficulty by performing pencil pull ups while on spin.
  • Practice being inverted through crucifix (x- grip) or twisted grip (butterfly). Asses if your body is resisting alignment with the pole while being upside down. Practice looking straight at the pole (nose to pole) while inverted 
  • What does it feel like to to practice  slowly walking around the pole , with one hand gripping above and staying in alignment with it. If this feels weird, continue doing it until  a sense of comfort and balance is established.

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About The Author...

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I'm Ashley — or call me by my pole name Savage Seraphim the flame behind the PT project. Conditioning is the sacrifice that fuels the fire. Wanna be dope? Condition for it.