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Image of instructor executing brass monkey and title: Brass Monkey Tutorial

Tutorial: Brass Monkey

Brass Monkey is a touchstone advanced pole move. It’s an impressive trick that teaches knee pit hangs and transitions. In this tutorial let’s examine the gold standard approach through the Shoulder Mount, which is one of the safest ways into the Brass Monkey.

Brass Monkey is an advanced move, and a student should have a reliable Shoulder Mount before attempting this trick. From the perspective of an instructor and spotter, Shoulder Mount offers the best situation for setting the knee pit grip with the most security from the upper body. The body position provides a strong base grip, a solid point of contact with the shoulder and control because the body is already on the side of the pole, set up for the knee pit grip. There are oodles of other entrances to examine down the road: Caterpillar, Flags, and Inversions, but beginning with the most reliable entrance is helpful for the learning curve.

Begin in the Shoulder Mount with a cup grip, this set-up supplies a straightforward position for moving the hands down into an inverted strong grip. Before inverting, know that whatever shoulder is on the pole for the mount will also produce the same leg on the pole in the knee pit grip.

totallystokedfitnessbrasmentranceInvert in the Shoulder Mount and transport the legs up and together on the opposite side of the shoulder that is on the pole – a right Shoulder Mount means legs go to the left along with the head. Make sure the core is fiercely engaged, when lifting the legs to the side of the pole.

totallystokedfitnessbrassmonkeynewWrap the inside leg in front of the pole transitioning into a knee pit grip. When learning, the outside leg may hook behind the pole, using the shin and top of the foot to create stability. The back leg creates the steadiness to learn how to transition the hands and body down the pole. Try this method and get comfortable here first, do not worry about getting the full single leg movement until sound and consider having a spotter help with the transition. Brass monkey can be dangerous as the head will be the first thing to hit the ground in a fall, if the knee pit grip is not secure.

Once the knee pit grip is set, engage the hamstrings and glutes of gripping leg. Keep the core engaged and slide the hands down the pole into an inverted strong grip. This position is the traditional Brass Monkey. There are tons of variations from here.


  1. Remember whatever shoulder is on the pole, the legs will be moving to the opposite side of the pole with the head.
  2. Use the back leg as support when learning knee pit grips.
  3. Set the knee pit grip before sliding the hands down the pole to inverted strong grip.
  4. Set the arm pit grip before releasing the hands





Rebecca Stokes
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