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Browse our glossary to find out the meanings of any words used within The Pole Dancing Therapist membership site. If there are any missing please contact Kassia and I will be happy to add them.


ABduction is the movement of a limb away from the midline of the body, or from another part. Like an alien Abduction – being taken away from earth.

Achilles Tendon

The Achilles tendon is a strong fibrous cord that connects the muscles of your gastrocnemius and your soleus (the calf muscle group) to your calcaneus (the heel bone).

Activation (muscular)

This is used when an exercise is trying to isolate a specific muscle or movement. This can be used when a muscle is weak or doesn’t ‘activate’ effectively. These types of exercises are usually low level, single movements – but don’t be surprised if they burn especially if you’re weak in that area!

Active Flexibility

The ability to hold bodily positions without any external force.


ADduction is the movement of a limb towards the midline of the body, or towards another part.


Relief from pain

Anterior Chain

The muscles at the front of the body.

Anterior Pelvic Tilt

Put your fingers on your prominent pelvis bones on the front of your body. Now, drop them forward and arch your lower back. This is an anterior pelvic tilt.

This can be due to any or all of the following:

  • Short hip flexors
  • Tight erector spinae in the lumber spine
  • Weak glutes
  • Weak lower abs


Cervical Spine

The part of the spine within the neck.

Chin Poke

This is a posture type where the chin is in a forward position, creating a curved neck position rather than a neutral one.

Contraction (muscular)

Contraction is when a muscle creates or controls a movement. There are 3 types:

Concentric Contraction

A concentric contraction is a type of muscle activation that causes the muscle to shorten. For example, the bicep is performing a concentric contraction in a bicep curl.

Eccentric Contraction

An eccentric contraction is a type of muscle activation whereby the muscle lengthens under load. For example when lowering out of a pole trick, the muscles need to work eccentrically to prevent you from just slamming down to the floor!

Isometric Contraction

An isometric contraction is a type of muscle activation whereby the muscle remains the same length under load. For example when holding a static trick you are isometrically contracting all your muscles to stay in the same place! Such as a gemini or an Iron X.

Isometric contractions have been proven to have an analgesic (pain relieving) effect. This is great news for soft tissue injuries that cause pain as we can use isometric exercise as a rehabilitation tool.


The organisation of a complex movement. Being Co-ordinated means having an efficient relationship between each muscular contraction within a larger movement.

Dynamic Stability

Dynamic stability is when the body can hold a stable platform whilst other bodily structures perform movements, thereby, challenging the stable environment. For example, standing on one leg and moving the other one around.

End Range

This refers to the movement of an individual muscle. When a muscle is fully stretched it is at the end of range.

External Rotation

The movement of a limb rotation away from midline of the body.

Full Range

Is the full movement that a joint can physically perform. This is different for each joint and there is an optimal amount of movement that is required of the ‘average’ person. Although as pole dancers, we require much larger ranges.

Injury Mitigation

Reducing the risk of injury.

Inner Range

This refers to the movement of an individual muscle. When a muscle is fully contracted and at its shortest position it is in the inner range.

Internal Rotation

The movement of a limb rotating towards the midline of the body.


Kyphosis is an excessive outward curvature of the spine, causing hunching of the back. The thoracic (upper back) has a natural kyphotic curve which is why it is naturally less flexible in extended position.


Lordosis is defined as an excessive extension or curve of the spine. The cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back) have natural lordosis.

Lower Crossed Syndrom

Lower Crossed Syndrome occurs when weak abdominal and gluteal (bum) muscles are combined with tight iliopsoas (hip flexors) and erector spinae muscles (in the back, either side of the spine), forming a cross when a person is standing sideways.

Lumbar Spine

The vertebra that makes up the lower back.

Mid Range

This refers to the movement of an individual muscle. When a muscle is in between fully stretched and fully contracted then it is in the middle range.


Refers to how well someone moves day to day or globally ie using the body as a whole.

This is often confused with active flexibility.

Parasympathetic Nervous System

The PNS is known as the ‘rest & digest’ system. This is when the body is in a relaxed state and some of the bodily reactions are as follows:

  • Construction of pupils
  • Decreased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Constriction of bronchial (airway) muscles
  • Increase in digestion
  • Increased production of saliva and mucus
  • Increase in urine secretion

When the body is in this state, it performs bodily functions are deemed unnecessary when stressed such as muscualr recovery and food digestion.

Passive Flexibility

The ability to hold bodily positions only with an external force.

Plyometric Training

Plyometrics are exercises that aim to produce maximum force in the shortest time possible. This increases power which is a strength-speed movement.

Posterior Chain

The muscles at the back of the body.

Posterior Oblique Sling

The posterior oblique sling is a cross-body pattern comprised of the glutes, soft tissue at the lumbar spine and the contralateral (opposie side) latissimus dorsi muscle.

This sling connects the shoulder with the opposite hip to facilitate functional movement. Dysfunction in the oblique-sling reduces overall performance.

Posterior Pelvic Tilt

Put your fingers on your prominent pelvis bones on the front of your body. Now, drop them backwards and tuck your tail bone under. This is a posterior pelvic tilt.

This can be due to any or all of the following:

  • Short hamstrings
  • Short rectus abdominis ‘6 pack muscles’
  • Short glutes
  • Weak hip flexors
  • Weak quadriceps (front of the thigh)

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation

PNF is a method of stretching muscles that involves a series of contractions and relaxations with enforced stretching during the relaxation phase.

Protraction (shoulder)

The punching action demonstrates shoulder protraction. This pushing forward of the shoulder girdle is the protraction movement.


The process of restoring someone to normal living through training and therapy. This must be personalised and not a ‘one size fits all’ process.

Retraction (shoulder)

The pulling ‘back and down’ of the shoulder girdle demonstrates shoulder retraction.

Rotator Cuff

The rotator cuff includes muscles include the follwing:

  • Supraspinatus
  • Infraspinatus muscle
  • Teres minor muscle
  • Subscapularis muscle.

These stabilise the shoulder joint.

Shoulder Dyskinesis

which is when when the shoulder blades ‘wing’ and lift off the rib cage when moving the arms overhead

Sickling (foot)

A foot that sickles describes a foot that is incorrectly placed when attempting to point the toe. This causes it to look curved inwards.


Stability is having the ability to maintain control of joint movement or position. By having stable joints you reduce excessive movement at a joint which makes it less likely to become injured. It is imporant that we increase stability in all range of movements, not just in one position.


Partial dislocation of a joint.

Subtalar Joint

This is a joint in the ankle that allows the ankle to side to side in to inversion (bottom of the feet facing towards each other) and eversion (bottom of the feet facing away from each other).

Sympathetic Nervous System

The SNS is the stress, or ‘fight or flight’, response of the body and performs functions such as:

  • increased adrenaline
  • increased heart rate
  • increased sweat
  • Constricts in gastrointestinal organs

During activity, the sympathetic nervous system is activated and the heart rate rises quickly. This is a helpful state during exercise but can be detrimental to health if maintained for too long – during work for example! So it is important to access the PNS and relax as much as possible.


Synovial Fluid

Synovial Fluid is a liquid that lives within mobile joints, such as the hips and shoulders. Its role is to reduce friction between the articulating (connecting) surfaces during movements.

Talocrural Joint

This is a hinge joint in the ankle that allows the ankle to move up and down in to platarflexion (toe pointing) and dorsiflexion (toe flexion).


This is an overuse, compressional or dengenerative injury that affects the tendons. Tendons connect the muscles to bone.


This is the vertebra within the upper back. The thoracic vertebra are were the ribs attach.

Upper Crossed Syndrome

Upper crossed syndrome is a posture type that refers to certain muscles within the neck, chest and shoulder being over active and under active.

This includes the following:

  • Protracted shoulder position, rounded forward.
  • Chin poke neck position

This causes over activity:

  • Upper Trapezius, top of the shoulders and in to the back of the neck.
  • Pectoral muscular group, the front of the chest.

And causes under activity:

  • Deep neck flexors, the deep muscles in the front of the neck
  • Mid and Lower trapezius (the muscles between the shoulder blades)
  • Rhomboids (the muscles between the shoulder blades)