Being graceful from the start

Poledance – for some – can be a sport of strength and fitness, and it has been for me too. I like to progress, get stronger, and do more awesome tricks. But what we tend to forget when pushing forward to get those new cool tricks is that it’s an art. I have so many pictures that are screenshotted from a video, to get the right angle, and get a picture at the right time, and in the right position. And it looks cool, and I look strong. But looking at those videos, I do (mostly) not look graceful.

After picking up hoop, I decided that I’m to work on my grace from the start. So what if I don’t get a lever during my first 6 months of hoop? I want to be able to execute the moves I do, as easy as they may be, as gracefully as I possibly can. That’s why I dedicated my last hoop practice entirely to grace. I went back to the first moves I learned, and worked really hard on getting my inversions and entrance to basic sit to look good. I also tried hoop on a swivel for the first time. At the end of the practice I did a little freestyle, you can watch it in the video below. 🙂

The importance of listening to your body, and understanding what it tries to tell you

I gotta admit. Lately I’ve felt out of place, out of shape, and generally like a bag of sh*t. I’ve shed tears at almost every class I’ve been to the last week and a half. Last Thursday it got so bad after stretching that I was afraid I had to quit the game completely. We’re talking pains everywhere; stretches that don’t stretch my muscles, but rather pop my spine out of place. Pain in the shoulders, pain in my hips, glute stretches that hurts my knees. Yes. You name it.

The hypotheses were:

  1. I’ve attended too many structured classes where I have no control over what is to happen, resulting in back bending and shoulder flexibility. Which are my main injuries at the moment, but I’ve pushed myself even though I knew I shouldn’t have.
  2. My body is worn out, and it’s trying to tell me that it’s time to quit.
  3. This one is new of today: The stretching class doesn’t fit me, my physique, and my injuries.

Testing the hypotheses one by one:  Read More

Let’s talk about: The ape index

Just a few moments ago I posted the following photo to my Instagram:


As you can see it’s an attempt of a Dragon Tail. I have two — no three — problems that makes the Dragon Tail my nemesis move:

  1. Flexibility: Hip and shoulder.
  2. Backbending.
  3. The ape index

So, let’s talk about the ape index.

The ape index is, according to Wikipedia:

Ape index, or ape factor,[1] or gorilla index is a measure of the ratio of an individual’s arm span relative to their height. A typical ratio is 1, as identified by the Roman writer, architect and engineer Vitruvius prior to 15 BC. Vitruvius noted that a “well made man” has an arm span equal to his or her height, as exemplified in Leonardo da Vinci’s drawing, the “Vitruvian Man“.[2]

My ape index is 0.96 (index 1) or -7 (index 2). ( This means my arms are 7 cm shorter than my height.

What does this mean for my pole and aerial performance? It makes it harder to fit my legs between my arms/torso and the apparatus, and it means it’s harder to reach behind my back for pole tricks like the Dragon Tail.

First example: Hoop. The basic invert into the hoop is standing below the hoop, fitting your legs between your body and the bottom bar, then hooking the knees into the hoop. This is always a struggle for me, and as a result I prefer the sideways invert. On the other hand, inverting onto the top bar requires me to do the basic invert. To achieve this invert, I need to release my shoulders up to my ears. That’s not pretty, and can possibly be dangerous, as my shoulders and upper back is not engaged.

Second example: Pole. Everything sneaky is a struggle. Sneaky V, Transition from split grip (Butterfly) into a Side Saddle (pic below, so we speak the same language, borrowed from Pinterest), you name it. I am struggling too much to do these tricks and transitions to show them on video. There’s just too much struggling and booty flashing going on every time.

So what can I do about this? Option 1: As mentioned, I can disengage my shoulders and upper back. Option 2: Not doing those tricks and transitions. Option 3: Practice, practice, practice, and hope that one day I find a way to make them look good, and cheat my ape index without disengaging. I think that last option is what’s best.

Have you struggled with your ape index? Please let me know in comments what you do when your ape index is failing you.

Getting stuck on the tissu

Lately I’ve been taking up tissu and hoop. I find them refreshing between all the pole I do, as they both bulid strength, and even beginners can do cool things mid-air. Unlike on the pole where you (usually) go through both intro and beginner without being upside down.

Today I did butterfly (to the left in the video below), hang by both ankles, and tried to tumble/roll. It ended up with me getting severely stuck, and even having a hard time breathing. This was my second ever tissu lesson, so I’m pretty amazed I managed to invert into the butterfly. 🙂

Below you can see me trying out another “Thousand ways to die”. Music: Mötley Crüe – All Bad Things.

Special thanks to my tissu buddy Adam for saving my ass, and for goofing off inbetween! :p


Look how happy I am to get the butterfly! 🙂

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Back in the game

I know, it’s been waaaay to long since my last post. I promise to be more active from now on! 🙂

First a quick update: I’ve moved to Oslo! Yay! But moving means no time for pole. I had a 3 week hiatus before arriving Oslo, so signing up for ALL the classes the first week was probably not the best idea. And as a result I started the second week with injuring my abdomen. So no pole the second week.

This is week 3, and it started off with the combo below from yesterday. I’m calling them the [Unpolished] series, because I’m struggling a bit too much for showing it off on the internet, but hey; nobody’s perfect, and I think it’s important that we don’t think that we should be either. 🙂

The second video is from today. It’s a transition from half flag (or at least half flag grip) into inner leg hang. To make this transition it’s important to let the bottom arm slide down, and let the torso follow. If you don’t, the hip will be stuck, and as a result you can’t wrap your inner leg around the pole.

To finish off this post, I want to share my initial state for working on my bridge. As I may (or may not) have stated in an earlier post, I’m struggling with an old back injury, so finally being able to get back to doing the bridge is a huge victory. I’m looking forward to see my progress! 🙂

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As you can see I’m using blocks placed against the wall to help my lifting up. Next step: Stretch them shoulders and straighten the knees!