While you may consider pole dancing a full-body workout, adding strength training can benefit your dance routines in several ways. You will increase your body control, awareness, endurance, and tone more than dance can do alone. Read about the benefits below and what exercises you should target to work out your whole body.
Benefits of Strength Training
- Injury Prevention: Pole dancing is hard at any level, and a lack of strength will lead to overcompensation and potential injuries.
- Balances Training For Your Body: In addition to overcompensation, favoring your dominant or strong side or performing one activity can lead to imbalances. Exercising different muscle groups outside your pole classes allows you to build up your weaker side and balance your workouts.
- Increased Endurance: Increased muscles will mean more endurance for your dance sessions. You can perform complex moves with more body control and practice for longer.
- Better Rehab: If you have already encountered an injury, with the help of your physical therapist, you can rebuild the muscles around your injury to better support it in the future. You can also do focused training that your dance class won’t be able to target on your recovery journey.
Training Your Upper Body
Pole dancing requires a solid upper body, and you will already gain strength if you’ve practiced regularly. However, besides your arms, you need strong wrists, shoulders, chest, and back if you want to progress in stamina and skill level.
If you have a set of weights at home, bicep curls, overhead tricep dips, arm raises, reverse flies, rows, and deadlifts are an excellent start. You must determine what weight is a good starting point for yourself. You should pick a weight with which you can do 15 to 20 reps, but you should struggle at the end without sacrificing form. Take a short break and repeat the set for a total of three. You can also replicate most of these exercises with a resistance band. Add lateral pull-downs if you have a band or gym machine access. Search Youtube for variations to perform these exercises with items you have around your house in a pinch.
On the pole, you can work on pull-ups from a standing and kneeling position, ensuring you don’t lean your body onto it. If you’re starting from your knees, don’t forget some pole dance knee pads for extra cushion and protection. Repetitive pole climbs will help strengthen your upper body as well.
Strengthening Your Core
Having a strong core will help your life daily. It will lower your risk for abdominal hernias, back injuries, and complications from pregnancy. Core training will also help make your pole moves more effortless and controlled. The best thing about core training is that it requires little to no equipment.
Avoid boring and repetitive crunches and sit-ups. Try V sits, toe touch crunches, bicycles, Russian twists, side planks, supermans, leg raises, and flutter or scissor kicks. Ensure you are protecting your neck and lower back from straining by keeping your core engaged. If you notice your stomach forming a dome outwards when performing the exercise, you put too much pressure on your abs and are straining them.
If you have a pole at home or have some free time to practice in the studio, you can try a few ab-strengthening pole moves. Practice the chopper pole move without jumping into it. You will have to engage your core to pull yourself up. Try increasing the intensity by straightening your legs if you can do it without jumping easily. You can do pole crunches by starting a basic inversion but then using your core to tuck your legs to your stomach. You can do a few different versions by lifting your straightened or straddled legs to your body. For an extra challenge, try ballerina pole move crunches, using your leg not wrapped around the pole for single-sided crunches. Be sure to repeat the move with the opposite side to maintain balance.
Don’t Forget Leg Day
It’s crucial to balance your training since pole dancing focuses on upper body strength. Try wall sits, calf raises, frog jumps, glute bridges, and lunges. You can switch your lunges from the standard, side, or jump lunges for extra cardio. Squats are another excellent exercise. You can alternate between normal, sumo, pulsing, side, split, and jump squats too.
If you’re looking for a fun challenge, pick a type of push-up or leg exercise to do for the entire “Sally Up Sally Down” viral challenge. The song's length is under four minutes, but it’s incredibly challenging. You will feel the burn and squeeze a workout into your busy day.
If you need more motivation for some endurance training, signing up for a competition or promising yourself new pole dance outfits are great ways to kickstart your non-pole training sessions.
Like with all your training, remember to warm up, stretch, train, cool down, and stretch again to prevent injury. Don’t forget your primary goal is to dance, so find a balance between dance, flexibility, and strengthening sessions. Ensure you aren’t overtraining, and allow your body to rest and recover at least one full day per week. Strength training causes micro-tears to your muscle tissue, so you need time for your body to rebuild stronger muscles. Building your strength i Take care of your body and watch your dancing flourish.
When preparing for a pole class, there are tons of resources for what to wear. But whether you are about to take your first class or are a seasoned pro, you need a list of what not to wear. The safety reasoning behind some habits can slip your mind. For example, you might show up for a class in glasses instead of your contacts. In other fitness classes, glasses aren’t an issue, but they can quickly go flying while pole dancing.
Avoid wearing the following while practicing pole dancing in a class or at home.
If you haven’t been to a pole dancing studio before, you may think you need to wear high-heeled shoes. While some classes are for practicing routines in heels, it’s not just any pair of heels. There are pole dancer shoes specifically made for this. The wrong footwear can lead to slipping and some serious injuries.
Socks are also slippery footwear that can lead to nasty falls. Bare feet are typically the safest and preferred style for pole classes. Occasionally, you’ll see pole dancers in other dance shoes with grip or in sneakers for the warm-up portion. Ask the studio what the expected footwear is, and go with bare feet if you’re still unsure.
3. Long Pants
Again, wearing a pair of long or loose pants is acceptable for the warm-up, but you’ll want shorts underneath for better grip and dancing on the pole. Long leggings or sweatpants will be slick when you try any pole moves.
While it may seem obvious, jeans and denim articles of clothing have minimal stretch and can lead to uncomfortable chafing. They will limit your movement and obstruct blood flow.
4. Loose Clothing
On the other hand, loose clothing can also affect your dancing. Most dance classes favor form-fitting attire, so you can properly check your alignment and posture. Loose tees or dresses can get tangled around the pole when you do spins, or they can cover your face when you do inversions. You will be exposed more by wearing loose clothing than tighter, more form-fitting clothes.
In addition to scratching the expensive poles, jewelry can get in the way of your dancing. Longer necklaces and even earrings can get caught around the pole. Bracelets and rings can cause rubs and chafing on your hands and wrists when spinning around. Lastly, your rings can get caught on the pole and lead to ring avulsion, a recovery Jimmy Fallon experienced that isn’t easy. While bracelets are a nonstarter, having a trusty hairband on hand never hurts.
While clear vision is essential for dancing, glasses can fly off, injure a classmate, or break on the unforgiving floor. Make sure you have a case in your bag to tuck them away for the whole class if possible, but definitely when working on spins, inversions, and new tricks. The risk of shelling out hundreds for new frames isn’t worth it.
7. Artificial Nails or Extensions
Long nails, even natural ones, can affect your grip. They can dig into your palms when you grab the pole. You can be more hesitant as they can get in the way of performing tricks. You may be cautious about breaking them as the pain is pretty unbearable, especially if that’s happened before. Same for pedicures. You are less likely to break a toenail, but you will scrape paint off and ruin your gorgeous designs. Save your long nails and pretty toes for vacation if you want to avoid unnecessary injury and repeat nail appointments.
8. Moisturizer or Body Oil
Moisturizing daily may be a hard habit to break. Especially in winter, when exposing more skin than usual, you may be tempted to moisturize before class. Or you may want to have your Magic Mike moment with some body oil. But your silky skin will be slick against a shiny metal pole. Either it won’t end well, or you will leave class frustrated that you can’t grip well enough to practice your moves. Try to save your moisturizing until after your dance for the day.
9. Heavy Makeup
Sometimes you have no choice if you come straight to class from work, but a full face of makeup will just sweat off. You risk it running into your eyes and stinging at inopportune moments. It can also rub off on the pole, affecting your grip, streaking your clothes, and clogging pores as it mixes with sweat. The same goes for any makeup containing glitter or shimmer, sunscreen, and fake tans. Save your done-up face for photo shoots and performances. Taking a page from Alicia Keys’ book, your natural look is perfect for practice sessions, classes, and performances if you wish.
In addition to being an allergy risk or bothersome to fellow class members with sensitive noses, many perfumes have ingredients that can degrade the coating on metal poles. Frequent perfume exposure will lead to erosion and damage over time.
11. Anything You’re Uncomfortable Wearing
Pole dancing is about confidence, expressing yourself, and how you feel through your art form. If you feel uneasy, that will show in your dancing. Find some pole dance outfits that make you feel good and aren’t a distraction from your dance moves. The moment you forget about what you’re wearing or how you look with your birthmarks, scars, stretch marks, cellulite, and skin conditions, the sooner you will get to focus on your dance and having fun.
When starting a new hobby, there can be a lot of information to remember. Refer to this list as a jumping-off point. As you get into your own practice, you will find more things that do not work for you. Keeping a running list on your phone will help you from repeating past mistakes. Speaking with your instructors and fellow dancers will also help to discover what is safe and what is better to avoid. Most studios provide an amazing, supportive community with deep pools of knowledge to guide you, whether you’re pursuing pole dancing as a fun hobby or serious sport.
Strippers pioneered pole dancing as we know it today, and we will always acknowledge and honor their contribution to our sport. Unfortunately, our history can make some people uncomfortable discussing pole dancing with their children due to marginalization and stigmatization. Some even go as far as to say it’s an inappropriate sport for children.
However, if you put the same outfit on a kid and turn the pole sideways, we call it gymnastics. Perform similar moves with the same music minus the pole, and it could be aerial or rhythmic gymnastic moves. Call it a firefighter pole, but there’s a pole you can dance on at nearly every neighborhood park. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but it should never be a barrier between you or your children and dancing. Take these steps to normalize dancing and have open discussions with your children:
Don’t Hide It
Whether you dance for exercise, to express yourself, to feel sexy, or for all of the above, you shouldn’t hide it. When you keep it separate from your children, it can make you feel ashamed or send a message to them that you are ashamed of it. It can be an uncomfortable subject, so you shouldn’t share it until you are ready. But if you normalize it, your children will understand that it’s a safe topic. They will also know that you’re a source of accurate information when they have questions or issues surrounding pole dancing.
Children are smart and naturally inquisitive; if you don’t share this aspect of your life with them, they may become curious and seek out answers elsewhere. You may want to be the gatekeeper of information instead of leaving that to a stray Google search or a discussion at school.
If it comes up, you can explain the differences between pole dancing for fun and exercise and stripping as a profession without stigmatizing job choices. There are differences between how and why you and strippers use the pole. But again, you can control what you share and when you share it with your children to your comfort level.
Keep It Fun
You can introduce your kids to pole dancing by giving them a demonstration or showing them some YouTube videos or TikTok. They can contrast beginner videos with more advanced, complex routines. If interested, provide them with a beginner challenge and teach them how to execute it safely. They will realize pretty quickly that it’s not so easy, and everyone needs a lot of physical strength and willpower to perform the dance moves properly. If they take an interest, don’t forget safety and invest in some pole knee pads to protect their growing joints.
Highlight The Benefits
If you’re getting pushback from friends and loved ones, or your children still don’t quite understand your passion, talk about the benefits of pole dancing:
- It Helps Develop Strong and Healthy Bodies: Just like other sports, it will help build muscle, foster flexibility, and encourage coordination and body control, among many other health benefits. Whether you or your children are participating, it’s setting an example of fitness and caring for your body regardless of age.
- You’re Providing Positive Socialization: Whether this is a hobby you engage in as a family at home or something you do at a child-inclusive pole studio, you encourage socialization and strengthen relationships with your children through dance. They will look back on the time they spent with you and their classmates fondly. Pole is an incredible, positive, and uplifting community that will teach your children about inclusivity, self-love, and building each other up.
- It Boosts Self-Esteem: Mastering new moves and building upon your skills will always encourage confidence. Whether we want to admit it or not, we care about how we look, and pole dancing helps us look good. It’s not all about appearances, but it does help your self-esteem and feelings of worth. Talk about how you feel when you put on your pole dancing outfits; it’s good for kids to see you taking steps to feel empowered.
Remember, It’s An International Official Sport
Help your children understand pole dancing is a sport, like soccer or football, requiring practice, skill, and concentration. There are international pole sports federations that bring together and celebrate athletes around the world. There’s even discussion that pole dancing can be part of future Olympic Games. Pole dancing has women’s and men’s categories and master’s competitions. It’s a sport for every body, with pole exhibitions and competitions for people with special needs.
Show your children the broadcasted competitions or attend an event live if you can. Pole dance is constantly evolving; change can continue by educating your children about what the community offers.
Children haven’t learned to be closed-minded like some adults can become. They have a refreshing, light openness when discussing things like pole dancing. They are products of their environment, and you have the power to positively influence their view of pole dancing with proper exposure and introductions. Normalize this amazing art form and exercise for your kids without looking down on specific community groups because of how they utilize their skills. Pole can be whatever you want to make of it.
While you may argue that it doesn’t matter what you wear, your clothing is a matter of safety when it comes to pole dancing. These readers highlight some surprising reasons why pole wear is essential for your next performance.
Kiesha Paulus is a pole fitness instructor at Studio Invert.
Yes, For Safety
Pole dancers use their skin to grip. It’s important that the costume or attire selected for the performance has bare skin that accommodates the areas needed to grip the routine’s tricks. Also, depending on the routine, extra fabric or anything flowy could potentially cause a slip or injury if the performer isn’t able to move around it as they perform.
Another reason that proper pole wear is important for a successful performance is that the attire can help create and express style and mood or tell a story helping the routine come to life for the performer.
This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors' statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.
As the end of the year rapidly approaches, you may not even have a chance to think about what you want to accomplish next year. While fitness tends to top everyone’s list, it doesn’t have to mean digging out your running shoes on January first.
Pole dancing incorporates exercise in a fun community atmosphere, boosts your self-esteem, and allows you to think creatively and tackle life’s challenges in a fresh way. It’s one of the best resolutions and decisions you can make for yourself, whether a hobby or profession. Here are some reasons you should consider booking that pole class:
1. It’s A New Experience
As you get older, there are fewer genuinely new experiences you can try. Part of your resolutions list typically focuses on trying something new or daring since we frequently get stuck in a rut, going about our daily routine mindlessly. Pole dancing is the perfect activity to break you out of your routine and get you excited about something. Each week you’ll get to learn something new, try out fun moves, and be impressed by what you are capable of doing.
2. Pole Dancing Is A Fun Way To Exercise
Being an adult can get a little mundane. You work, eat, sleep, and try to exercise when you can. Then, repeat. As kids, we used to play all the time and be present in the moment, enjoying our activity just for the sake of it. Pole dancing brings some of that back. From fun music, creative movements, and stepping out of your comfort zone to becoming part of a welcoming, inclusive community, you’ll be flying through the air and having the time of your life. Fitness just happens to be a bonus.
3. You’ll Build Confidence
Even if you’re not the kind of person who naturally takes charge of every room you enter, dancing will boost your self-confidence and worth. It makes you brave, requiring you to step out of your comfort zone and let go. Seeing how far you’ve come and what moves your body is capable of will make anyone’s confidence soar. The sense of achievement it gives you is empowering.
4. It Encourages Creativity
You can easily get caught up with your day-to-day tasks and not take enough time to recharge. When this happens, you get drained and don’t get to feed your sense of creativity. You can start to feel trapped and shut down. Taking a pole dance class gives you that time for yourself. You’ll begin to feel your creative side coming to life with new moves, combinations, sequences, or performances if you dare. Pole dancing has an incredible effect, connecting dancers and audiences. You can express yourself and tell your story through your particular art form of dance.
5. Dancing Improves Your Health
It’s common to develop muscle and joint pain and movement issues with age, especially if you work a desk job. Exercise and regular movement keep your body limber and prevent it from freezing up. You will gain strength, flexibility, and fluidity in your actions through frequent dance.
In addition to being an excellent form of exercise that builds strength and prevents physical deterioration, pole dancing provides cardiovascular benefits. Because of this, it can help prevent heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Pole dancing also promotes sleep by releasing stress-relieving hormones. It helps you express and regulate your emotions and helps boost your overall mental health. Dancing can help you prevent anxiety, depression, dementia, and more.
If you continue your dance practice regularly, you may find yourself moving towards a healthy weight for your body; some dancers lose weight, and some gain weight due to increasing their muscle mass through this type of fitness.
Added Bonus: It’s An Excuse To Go Shopping
You are more than welcome to wear athletic attire you already own to classes, especially if you’re just starting. Be aware that your clothing shouldn’t be loose, or else it can get wrapped around the pole. However, if you find your regular clothes aren’t fitting as they should, or if you are progressing to more complex moves, some polewear is helpful. You’ll find it moves and stretches with you, and you won’t have to worry that it won’t stay put. It’ll also prevent slipping or safety issues, as some other fitness materials are too slick for the pole. You’ll be happy to find sizing ranging from extra small to 4XL with an extensive selection of plus-size polewear.
As you’re staring down the holidays and setting your intentions for next year, pole dancing should be top of your list of things to try. It will take you on a journey to a more active and healthy lifestyle with a whole lot of fun along the way. You’ll make lifelong friends, become a cheerleader, rebuild long-lost muscles, and be a bolder version of yourself. Don’t wait. Start your dance journey today.