Trick Talk with Bethany Tyler

Move: Shoulder Mounts

Shoulder mounts are an alternate entry into upside pole tricks and combos.

They can be one of the more difficult moves to master, as there’s a few factors at play, such as grip, strength, placement and control.

Shoulder mounts are a days, weeks or months move. Some people get them immediately, while for others it takes persistence and training. If you just can’t seem to get it after weeks of trying, don’t give up! It might just be a matter of building your strength and working on the muscles you need.

As the name suggests, you’re entering the pole using your shoulder as the primary contact point. You’ll rest your trap against the pole, grasp the pole behind your head in a cup grip (thumbs and fingers together), tense your arms, shoulders and stomach muscles, while pulling your elbows together to lift your lower body up and over your head, extending your legs out into a V.

But before we get too carried away, let’s talk through some prep first.

Yes this is a strength move, but it’s not just a matter of being strong to achieve it. This trick is all about activating the right muscles, in the right way.

As a prep exercise, lie on your back with your shoulder against the pole and place your hands in that cup grip position above your head. Whichever shoulder is against the pole, that arm will be your bottom hand. So right shoulder on the pole, means right hand under your left. With your legs outstretched in front, you want to lift them up and fold your torso in half so your toes are reaching the floor behind your head on either side of the pole. Really control these drills, especially on the way down. And repeat!

You can keep doing this from the floor, moving your shoulder higher up the pole, so when you’re pulling your hips up and over, your back lifts off the ground, with your shoulder and hands the only parts of your body contacting the pole. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, as you’ll have no momentum behind you, but it’s a good way to feel what muscles need to be working and when.

When you’re training shoulder mounts from the proper standing position, you really want to think about pressing that shoulder into the pole and tensing every muscle in your arms and shoulders. Imagine you’re physically trying to throw the pole over your head. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, like you’re trying to hold a pencil between them. Kicking off from the ground, tuck your knees into your chest and curve your bum and hips up. Think hips higher than head. Try and hold that ball position. Eventually you’ll feel secure enough to unfold your legs into a straddle.

Try not to grab the pole with your feet, instead think about getting your toes past your head.

Once you get your shoulder mount, it’s time to reduce your kick off. Momentum can only get you so far in this trick, because soon we’re going to take the floor away from you. When it comes time to learn aerial shoulder mounts, it’ll make your life so much easier if you’re able to do regular shoulder mounts with as little kick off from the ground as possible.

Start training your deadlift by keeping your legs straight as you pull them up, using your upper body and core strength to get over rather than momentum. When you lower down, lightly touch a foot on the ground before going back up. Then try coming down without touching the floor at all and lifting back up in continuous shoulder mounts. See how many you can do. If this feels easy, add some ankle weights.

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