can heavy girls invert on the pole with enough work?

by Sandy
(Salem, VA)

I'm quite bottom heavy. Is there any hope in a smooth inversion and working upside down?

Susan from PDFF says...

Don't give up Sandy, there's definitely hope for you!

It's true that if you're "bottom heavy" you've got more bottom to move over your top if you're going to invert.

But look at the bright side...once you've got the bottom half of you up there, it'll be that much easier to get right side up again!

Seriously though, you are dealing with a bit of a disadvantage. But so are most women, actually. Let's take a different approach than you may be considering.

Most women who are significantly heavier on the bottom than on the top tend to think that it's going to be harder to invert because they have more weight to move.

That's not necessarily true though. If you think about the engine that's going to drive that movement, it's not a question of top half vs bottom half. Rather, it's a question of how strong your core is.

That's because your lower body doesn't have to overpower your top half to get itself up in the air. Instead, it's your core that's going to do the heavy lifting.

I always used to tell my students to use muscle - not momentum - when lifting into inversions. Sure, having a little momentum behind the lift doesn't hurt, but if that's all you've got going for you, you're going to bounce right back out of the inversion because you won't have the core strength to hold yourself there.

I suggest that you not worry about the size of your upper half compared to that of your bottom half. Instead, start focusing on developing some good, solid core strength and control.

If you've seen some of the competitive pole dancers, they're often very muscular in both the upper and lower body. Muscle is quite dense though, and a pound of muscle takes up much less space than a pound of fat.

That often leads us to believe that these pros have less weight to move, when in fact the proportion of weight in their lower body compared to their upper body may be similar to yours.

If you don't believe me, check it out next time you're at the grocery store. Get yourself a pound of butter, then take it over to the meat counter and compare it to a pound of lean meat. You might be surprised at the size difference!

Anyway, my point is that even though they may not look as big as you in the lower body, these super fit dancers still have to move more weight above their head than they have in their upper bodies.

Their secret? Killer core strength.

Of course, you need upper body strength to invert on a pole too, but that's mainly to hold yourself on the pole. Your core is what's going to get your bottom half up in the air.

So while I wouldn't suggest you focus only on your core to the exclusion of the rest of your fitness routine, do give it plenty of attention. Perhaps ask your instructor or a personal trainer to give you some core exercises to work on at home.

It will take time, like everything in life that's worth having. But if you trust the process (the more you ask your core to do, the stronger it's going to get), be patient, stay positive, and don't give up, you WILL get there.

Be sure to check back in and let us know how you're doing...ok? :)

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Sep 23, 2013
how i'm doing
by: sandy

i had been on an off the pole alot due to injury but here's how things are ....
i am currently 175-180 lbs...somedays i can get an inverted v, some days i cannot. my victories come smaller and slower than lighter girls, and that's just how it is. also i'm 37, which is by no means old, but means i have to approach things more cautiously than i did 10 years ago to avoid injury. the small victories i have are:
1. a "not atrocious" invert. i don't jump into it but no one will mistake me for jenyne butterfly. because of gravity and also apparently i sweat grease, it's a pretty quick slide down, but darn it i can do it several times in a row.
2. shoulder mount prance. i'm not sure i will ever shoulder mount, but now when i do the little prance steps to prepare the shoulder meat and the core it's not an immediate plunge back to earth. i can even get my toesies and pole in the same field of vision!
3. on spin mode i can spin up from the floor into a climb.

it does take me longer to make progress, but it can be made.

Sep 25, 2013
by: Susan from PDFF

Thanks for reporting back to let us know how you're doing Sandy. I love your attitude (and that "not atrocious" invert!).

I'm sure your comments will be an inspiration to many others who really want to experience the thrill of inversions on the pole.

Keep up the fabulous work, and keep on having fun!

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