Difficulty: Intermediate

Category: Trick

Type: Static Pole

Points of Contact: 3

Also Known As:

  • Basic Layback
  • Figure 4 Layback
  • Cross Knee Release
  • Cross Ankle Release

Pre-requisite Moves:

The Cross-Knee Layback is considered a milestone move for many pole dancers in their pole journey. While it is classed as an intermediate move, the fear of laying back can become a great obstacle for many people. This is addressed, along with the technical aspects of the technique to the move. Core conditioning and going through the move steps slowly can both help ease layback fears.

This move can be done with both knees bent, or you may find it beneficial to straighten the bottom knee and engage the leg for the additional muscle support.

How to Perform the Cross Knee Layback

Move Steps

  1. From a pole sit, bend the knees. Optionally, you can bend just the top knee and leave the bottom one straight.
  2. Move your hands lower to your chest for better support.
  3. Tilt the pelvis down, into the pole. You should feel the pole along your bum cheeks and tailbone. This will move the pole into the crook of your kneepit, along the thigh. This will not fit fully into the kneepit, but along the outside of it. Your body should be rotated parallel to the floor at this point.
  4. Lean back, leading with the head. Optionally, hold the crossed top leg for additional support.
  5. Once you are fully leaned back, you should be able to grab the pole behind your back for additional security.

Safety Tips

  • While in your pole sit, do not let go with your hands. This includes when you are tilting your pelvis into the pole. You should only remove your hands when you are ready to commit to the layback.
  • If you have never tried a layback before, hold your crossed top leg with your hand for additional support. This will also ease layback fears as you lean your body down, leading with the head.
  • If you must bail out of this move once you have leaned back, try to control your movement down the pole and tuck your chin to chest to avoid landing on the head.

Common Mistakes

  • Not Enough Grip: When you are in your pole sit, remember to sit into the bottom leg. This should give you the stick you need to tilt the pelvis down safely and move the pole into position along the thigh and into the knee pit.
  • I’m Confused About the Knee Pit Grip: The knee pit grip is traditionally used in the back crook of the knee, directly behind the kneecap. In this move, the pole will be resting along the inside the knee pit, along the thigh. You do not need to move the pole behind the kneecap, as that would twist the leg uncomfortably. Simply place the pole in contact with the crook of the knee and let it rest there as you lean back; this provides much more security and support compared to letting the pole sit on your calf.
  • I’m Afraid of Leaning Back: This is perfectly normal, and something every pole dancer struggles with at some point. Some things that can help ease your layback fears are: core conditioning, starting lower on the pole, having a crashmat and trained spotter nearby, and taking each part one step at a time. A lot of the obstacles we face in our pole dance journey are mental, and it’s okay to take time working through them.
  • I Feel Like I Will Slip When Leaning Back: When you are leaning back, you do not want to cave your chest in. This will cause your pelvis to pull away from the pole slightly. You want to keep your back as neutral as possible during the transition, and the head should always lead the way. You are looking to the wall behind you while you are on your way down, and the rest of your body should follow.

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