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I have been pole dancing for 10 years. This year marks my 10 year anniversary with the sport/art of pole dancing. This website has pockets of knowledge scattered through different posts and guides, but I’ve decided to collate the most important parts of what I’ve learned into one overarching article.
Pole dancing is a wonderful sport, it helped me to come back to life during depression, helped me heal my broken heart and helped me define my identity.
Thinking back to my reasons to wanting to learn pole dancing, I wanted to perform the wonderful, elegant and graceful tricks that I’d seen in online on YouTube and Facebook. I wanted to skip the basics because I was stupid.
I wanted to try tricks that I wasn’t really strong enough to perform. So, I became disappointed in myself. Fortunately, I had a wonderful instructor who was patient with helping me learn the basics, slowly but steadily increasing my strength until I was strong enough to invert properly, rather than jump into it.
The problem with rushing into complex tricks is that you’ve skipped the fundamental elements.
Never be disheartened
If you’re in a group of learners, it’s natural for some to progress quicker than others. Don’t worry if your learning pace is slower than others and never get disheartened with your progress.
Everyone learns at different rates and pole fitness is incredibly difficult. You don’t get shown once before being able to it, it takes time, effort, patience, and persistence. So, practice as often as you can and don’t worry about rushing through your progress.
Pole tricks are not boxes to be ticked off a list, each one is a unique pose that requires work to get perfect.
If you’re having a bad session, then work on your favorite tricks, to improve rather than learning new.
Body Shape Doesn’t Matter
When it comes to pole dancing, shape and size really do not matter. I’ve seen petite women struggle with tricks that larger women get straight away. Your body shape does not define your strength or athletic ability where pole fitness is concerned.
Many larger women think that they cannot take part in pole dancing due to their size, this is not true.
Practice from Home as Soon as Possible
After a few pole dance classes, you’ll probably be hooked and desperate to practice as often as possible. To do that, you’ll need your own pole. It can be quite daunting to put up a dance pole if you have no idea what to do.
By practicing pole dancing from home, you will see a noticeable difference in your progress. You also have the opportunity to work on perfecting tricks in between classes. It can be tempting to try more adventurous tricks once your pole is installed, but try your best not to! You may get injured and strain a muscle if you do and not be able to use the pole for a while!
You should always abide by best practices when pole dancing at home. Always warm up, cool down, check your pole for safety, ensure your workout space is clear and dress appropriately. Also, poles and alcohol don’t miss, so don’t even think about it after a couple of glasses of wone! You’ll regret it!
Do NOT Cheap Out on Your Dance Pole
Under no circumstance should you cheap out on your dance pole. That’s not to say that there aren’t excellent quality poles for those on a budget, because even X Pole have a professional grade pole for under $130! Remember, this isn’t a treadmill or exercise bike, you’re trusting this smooth metal pole to support your weight when you’re spinning around and climbing up it. When choosing your pole, there are several things to look out for:
Reputable Brand & Retailer – you should only buy your dance pole from a responsible brand or retailer. Avoid eBay and other auction sites in case the seller is not genuine. The best brands include:
Things to Consider when Choosing a Pole
Static or spin – many pole dancers will learn on a static pole but may transition to spinning poles later on. Others may want the option of being able to switch between spin and static. I recommend opting for a pole which can be easily switched between static and spim, such as the X Pert Pro. However, if you’re on a budget but still want a high-quality pole, there’s always the X Pole Sport (Static only).
Material and width – the other important thing to decide is the diameter of the dance pole. You can generally choose from 45mm or 50mm, but some dance poles are available in 40mm and 38mm and even 53mm.
45mm is now the standard pole size used in studios and competitions worldwide, but if you learned pole dancing over between 5-10 years ago then you may well have learned on a 50mm.
When it comes to material, brass is a superior choice for grip and durability, but it comes at a higher price. Most commercial poles will be either stainless steel or chrome, so you’ll probably need to use some sort of grip aid to avoid slipping. You can also get titanium gold poles, powder and silicone-coated poles in different colors.
This is just a quick overview, if you need more information, here are some guides to help you (all these links open in a new tab)
- Portable Dance Pole Buyer’s Guide
- All About Freestanding Dance Poles
- Best Dance Poles for Sale Right Now
- Portable Dance Poles for Under $200
Always Track your Progress
There are tonnes of ways you can track your progress, and you absolutely should be keeping of track of how well your hard work is paying off.
When you’re using the pole, you’re not able to see how you look, how your lines have improved or how you’re now able to stretch much further than usual.
Feeling different is great, but being able to visualize your progress is a great indicator of how you’ve come along your pole fitness journey.
Set yourself goals and deadlines, take plenty of photos (use a camera on a tripod) or ask a friend to take photos.
Stay up to Date
As a pole fitness enthusiast, you should stay up-to-date with the latest pole trends and tricks.
When I started learning to pole dance over 10 years ago, shoulder mounts and supermans were classed as extremely advanced tricks, now they fall into the intermediate category at competitions!
Creative dancers and instructors are always coming up with new innovative tricks, spins and combos. If you want to stay on top of your game then you have to stay involved with the wider pole dance community. Being on this website is a great start!
Mix Up Your Workouts
Pole fitness is one the best full-body workouts you’ll get. But that being said, your muscles can get desensitized to familiar movements, so make sure you mix things up within your pole workouts:
Use both sides – try to practice 50/50 with tricks and spins on your non-preferred side. Everyone has a favorite side to use to perform tricks, but it’s important to get a workout on both sides to ensure your muscles are balanced.
Also, try other workouts alongside pole fitness that will compliment your pole progress.
Some examples are:
- Lyra hoop
- Aerial Yoga
- Cross fit
- Rock climbing
Never Overdo It
You don’t need to be practicing every single day to be a pole superstar. It is important that you give yourself space to rest in between workouts. Again, you’ll probably be very tempted to work out all the time on your pole, especially if you have one at home.
Did you know, that your muscles become stronger after your workouts due to the way they repair themselves? During that period of repair, you’ll usually feel tender, sore or aching. This is known as DOMS and it means that your body is working hard to repair these hard-working muscles to become more accustomed to that hard work, making it easier for the future!
There’s no need to overwork yourself to achieve your goals, you can push yourself, sure. Always allow yourself time to recover, when you’re new to pole dance then you should leave at least 2 days in between workouts. When your muscles become more accustomed, then you can perhaps work out on the pole every other day.
Overdoing things on the pole will hinder your progress and don’t help you become a better pole dancer in the long term.
It’s OK to Take Breaks
Sometimes, you have to take breaks from pole dancing for various reasons.
Over the last 10 years, I’ve had breaks from pole mainly due to:
- Periods of illness
- Moving house
Some polers take a break due to pregnancy and childbirth too, but that doesn’t apply to me. Whatever the reasons, it’s OK if you have to take a break, whether it’s a personal choice or not. Don’t beat yourself up over it and realize that, in time, you will regain your strength to the same level.
The Stigma Needs to End
The issue of Pole Fitness vs. Stripping is always up for debate. Due to the rise in popularity of pole dance for fitness, fun, or sport, uninitiated people are quick to compare it to stripping. But, pole fitness enthusiasts hate this comparison, but at the same time, strippers hate being stigmatized even further thanks to their job becoming a fitness trend.
This needs to end. Now. Pole fitness enthusiasts and strippers should be in solidarity – not in-fighting! Jeez! It’s about time the stigma was put to rest.
Look After Your Overall Health
When you’re regularly practicing a physically demanding sport, such as pole dancing, it’s so important that you look after your overall health. That means eating a balanced diet, no smoking or drinking too much, staying in contact with your family doctor and having regular health check-ups.
By taking care of yourself in general, then your pole progress will improve. You should also look after your mental health, as anxiety, depression and many other mental health issues are so commonplace. Pole dancing can help your mental health, but you have to take positive steps yourself in order to achieve a better lifestyle.
So, those are my words of wisdom, as someone who has been pole dancing for 10 years and I know the positive effects it has had on my body, mind, and lifestyle.
Are you an experienced pole dancer? Perhaps you’d like to share your experience and wisdom with our readers by leaving a comment below, or you could write for us!
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