Every poler has a nemesis move. Mine is the brass monkey. For some reason every time I simply think about trying to attempt that move, my palms start to sweat and my heart begins to beat out of control. I find this silly, because I know how to execute the brass monkey. Then I realize that this is a common fear.

Not necessarily the brass monkey, but any invert to leg hang can inspire panic in a poler; especially a new poler. The trick to inverting to hangs is to breathe. Simple enough, but in the heat of the moment we tend to “forget” that taking that deep breath before inverting and releasing that breath as you hook into your hang makes all the difference in the world.

Before you begin your practice, work on breathing exercises. Take slow steady breaths as you practice laying on the floor and finding the foot/leg placement. I recommend practicing the chopper to scorpio from the floor:

Lie next to your pole (with the pole tucked into your strong armpit). Make sure you have your strong grip for the invert practice. Take a deep steady breath as you mock lift yourself into the chopper position. Follow through with your inside leg being your point of contact (instead of your outside leg). As your calf makes contact, release your breath. Relax into the hang by dropping the outside leg behind you with a softly bent knee. Repeat until the move feels solid.

By the time you are ready to do this move from a standing position, the breathing will be the main key. Remember to breathe! You will get better at executing inverts, the fear will lessen in due time.

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