For every pole routine I’ve helped private students build this competition season, I’d estimate 70% of my time is spent exclusively on building ground work and ground work transitions. For the most part, students know what they want to do in the air but the floor work is often the afterthought where many students refrain “I just don’t know what to do on the ground!”. I find groundwork movement to be so fun because it’s the one part of a pole routine that I can practice most anywhere.

If you’re looking for some dynamic groundwork pops that are acrobatic, ballistic and dynamic in nature, here are seven groundwork elements that I love, ranging from beginner moves to advanced.

Tag @sfpoleanddance if you get any of these and we’ll showcase your success in our IG stories. Have fun!

Groundwork Moves Fundamentals.

  1. Basic Shoulder Roll on the Floor

Important points for a shoulder roll are:

(i) turn chin over your shoulder so that you are looking over a shoulder (not at belly button)

(ii) reach legs over the shoulder that you are looking over

(iii) opposite hand reaches out like a kickstand

(iv) try to point through toes for longer lines

  1. Shoulder Roll Variation (to a split roll down)

This shoulder roll is a variation on a traditional shoulder roll. Instead of coming down with both legs straight or both knees bent, we come into a split instead. Here, we reach one leg up to the ceiling to make the body feel more weightless so that it is easier to roll down on one toe. This move is great for moving from pole to pole in competition pieces and incorporates the lines of a split. Don’t forget to point your toes!

  1. Shoulder stand on the floor:

  1. Fish Flop

The fish flop is a combination of the shoulder roll and a hip kip (throwing the hips up, toes to the ceiling).

One thing that I really urge you to think about is squeezing through the butt so that you don’t land with a *thud* coming out of the flop. Think about reaching your toes back towards your ponytail (back of head) as you roll out of the flop.

  1. Fish Flop Variation with a Shoulder Stand Stall

In this video, I show a variation of a fish flop – fish flop with a shoulder stand stall. Most important part about this variation is two fold; (i) using the hip kip to reach the toes to the ceiling to make the stall feel weightless, and (ii) pushing the kickstand hand we discussed in the shoulder roll tutorial to act as a counterbalance to hold up the shoulder stand.

How to do a kip from a headstand in heels!

  1. Kip Foundational Movements (3 pre-kip moves)

NOTE: Kips are dangerous! if you don’t know what you’re doing you can get injured. Please wear closed toed boots, roll over the toe box and try first in knee pads and on a soft floor if possible.

3 fundamentals to try BEFORE you do a kip:

  1. Sit on heels so that the toe box is flat to the floor. If that doesn’t feel good, work on ankle mobility before proceeding
  1. Practice slowly rolling over the toe box before moving on to the more ballistic throw,
  1. Practice hip kips reaching toes at a 45 degree angle instead of straight to the sky (note that they are harder!)


  1. Kip from a headstand straddle.

Prerequisites for this movement: headstand, headstand with a straddle, headstand while pumping the legs in a straddle