Partner Strength and Conditioning: The Fishing Pole


The fishing pole is a partner exercise in which the flyer is in a side plank and the base is in a straight legged dead lift position. The base works all the muscles of their lower back as well as their gluteus maximus and hamstrings. The flyer works their obliques and quadratus lumborum, and experiences a significant distraction force on the hip—which can be quite therapeutic. The fishing pole is a balance challenge for both parties, and is one of those tricks that looks impressive but is easier than it looks.


SETUP (For fishing pole as pictured, leaning to flyer’s left)
-Base sits down with their back straight. To accommodate a lack of flexibility in the back of the legs, bend the knees until the pelvis is vertical and the back is straight.
-Base places their feet on the inside of the flyer’s left foot. One foot is on the flyer’s heel and another on the ball of the foot, to allow the base to control any rotation that may occur during the pose.
-Flyer places their right foot lightly on the bases thigh. This ensures that all their weight is on the left foot.
-Base grasps the flyer’s ankle with two hands, and the flyer bends the ankle up (dorsiflexes) to reinforce the grip. Using chalk is strongly recommended to improve the grip.

-Base and Flyer engage abdominal muscles by drawing the naval in toward the spine.
-Flyer leans to the left while the base pulls on their leg allowing their arms to straighten.
-Flyer stays rigid and does not move, while base adjusts the lean of the flyer by flexing at the hip (you may flex at the knees as well but not the back) with the arms straight. The further out you lean (back?), the more work it is for both parties.
-Base keeps back straight at all times.

-Flyer can increase the difficulty by raising their arms overhead.
-Flyer can add an active side bending movement to work the oblique and quadratus lumborum.

-Try to hold a difficult position for 10 seconds.
-Try repetitions of 10 for the movements (sets? Reps of raising hands / bending oblique?)


Jessica and I will teach the Fishing Pole in a workshop on April 6th 2013 in Oakland California at the Great Western Power Company. See flyer below for details, signup at the gym or let me know you are interested by contacting me at


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