As a beginner pole dancer, you’re vulnerable to making some common mistakes and picking up bad habits early along your pole journey. This article is about lifestyle, habits and tips for beginner pole dancers to avoid the most common mistakes. This actually applies to any fitness regime or discipline. So whether you’re a pole dancer or you’re into another form of alternative fitness, we hope you find this article useful.
Pole dancing for fitness is an excellent workout, but you should ensure that you’re not harming your progress by making simple mistakes. You’ll soon find that pole dancing classes are very welcoming places. There is little to no judgement whatsoever, pole dancing is a very inclusive sport suitable for many different people. The pole dance community is very accepting; it doesn’t matter what shape or size you are, your fellow pole dancers will always make you feel welcome.
So, here are some common mistakes that you should avoid as someone who is new to pole dancing!
Doing Too Much Too Soon
You’ll have probably already been inspired by the glamorous polers you see on Instagram and YouTube, but remember that these pole dancers have been practicing for years, and even they had to start somewhere. You can actually harm your own progress by doing too much too soon.
Of course, being adventurous is part of the fun of being a pole dancer, it’s what attracted you to the sport in the first place. You need to be adventurous to be a pole dancer, but too much adventure won’t help in the long run.
It’s very common for pole dancers to progress from ‘total beginner’ and suddenly think that they can fly. Don’t put pressure on yourself to suddenly shoulder mount when you’ve just learned to invert without assistance. It definitely won’t help your long-term progress.
There’s also the very real risk of injury. Don’t skip beginner-intermediate moves and head straight for the advanced stuff you see on Instagram or on YouTube. Learn to walk before you run. If you do skip moves and go straight for the more adventurous tricks, you’re not allowing your muscles to build and adjust properly. You run a much higher risk or injuring yourself or pulling a muscle.
Also, just because you can perform a difficult trick, it doesn’t automatically means that less-difficult tricks are suddenly going to be simple for you to perform. All pole dancing tricks are impressive and they all need practice. The best tricks are those that you perform with grace and by making it look effortless.
Picking up Bad Form
As an instructor, there’s nothing more frustrating than seeing a student who has been ‘teaching themselves’ how to perform tricks with such bad habits, it’s unbelievable. With some tricks, there’s the correct way to do it, and the shortcut. Many ‘ self-taught’ pole dancers use the shortcut.
Patience is important. You may be able to jump into an invert, but you can gracefully lift yourself into it? Work on everything nice and slowly, paying attention to your placement and which muscle groups you’re engaging.
Bad form is something that’s very hard to change in the long-term, so ensure your technique is correct. Check with your instructor if you’re not sure about anything, or if something doesn’t feel right.
Related: Why Twisted Grip is Bad for You
Underestimating Pole Dance
I’m not going to lie, Pole dance fitness is really damn hard! So many people underestimate how hard it is.
You’ll be using muscle groups you may not have used before, in ways you definitely haven’t used before! Don’t go into your first class thinking it will be a breeze, even if you’re already fairly strong, it won’t be easy!
Not Believing in Yourself
You won’t believe how many pole dancers don’t come back for a second lesson because they think they “couldn’t do it” straight away. In their first lesson. That’s an unbelievable lack of self-belief or a naive belief that pole dancing is somehow easy. It’s damn hard, guys! It’s also not normal to be great at pole dancing after 1 lesson, 5 lessons or even 50 lessons. Pole dancing is hard work but it pays off.
If you can’t do something straight away, that’s OK, you’re not supposed to be able to do it straight away! Otherwise, where’s the challenge?
Keep working on it, keep practicing and keep believing in yourself because you will be able to do whatever trick is giving you grief right now!
Comparing Yourself to Others
Don’t. Just don’t. I was one of the slowest learners in the cohort of students I was part of. Everyone was quite literally and gracefully whizzing ahead of me while I was struggling with even holding myself off the ground for longer than half a second. I was like an un-coordinated mash-up of arms and legs in the corner when everyone else was climbing to the top and high-fiving each other.
Of course, it’s natural to compare yourself to your peers, but please try to stop doing it. It doesn’t help your progress and only makes you feel disheartened. Remember, there’s going to be a trick that you can perform with ease that becomes their nemesis move – just wait until you discover that trick 😉
Forgetting to Warm-Up & Cool Down
This especially applies to those of you who have your own dance poles at home. It’s all too convenient just to jump onto the pole without properly warming up. Warming up your muscles is extremely important as it lowers the risk of injuries.
This is so easy to skip when you’re using your pole at home, but failing to warm up can result in injury and unnecessary muscle soreness, and no one wants that, do they?! Always make the effort to warm up before starting a pole session at home.
This doesn’t have to be as tedious as running on the spot for 5 minutes, why not have a quick run outdoors before starting your pole session? Or, use the stairs in your house to raise your heart rate for a few minutes if you’re running short of time.
It’s also important to warm up all your joints, especially your shoulders, wrists, hips, and knees. Your body is about to do a lot of serious work and we don’t want to cause premature wear-and-tear on our joints! Warm-up stretching should be gentle and not too intense. The deep stretching should come after your pole session…
Wearing Moisturizers, Creams & Lotions
These just make your body more slippery, the opposite of whatever want! If you’ve got the residue of lotions or creams on your skin, it will transfer onto the pole so remember to clean this off at the earliest opportunity!
A good solution is to have a quick shower to rinse away any moisturizer residues and wash your hands, ensuring they’re fully dry before using chalk or other grip aids. Save the moisturizer until after your workout!
Instead, use a good antiperspirant and a grip aid that’s designed for pole dancers.
Related: What Not To Wear When Pole Dancing
Forgetting About Safety
A crash mat designed for use with dance poles can make your pole dance practice sessions safer, giving you that extra bit of security. We LOVE the new Lupit Pole Dancing Mats, they’re pricey but the quality is excellent.
The best commercial pole dance studios will usually use mats, but you can also get them for your home. They fold away so you don’t have to use it every time you pole, but it’s certainly a good idea to keep it nearby for the ‘scarier’ moves!
Also, ask your instructor, friend, partner or roommate to spot you when you’re attempting moves you’re not confident with. It can be very tempting to play-pause-play-pause a YouTube video with the hope of recreating the move yourself. However, it’s always advisable to have a spotter with you when attempting something new or something you’re not confident with.
And remember to check the pole is properly installed before using it! Phew!
Not eating a Balanced Diet
When you start a new fitness regime of any kind, having a healthy diet is the key to its success. If you’re eating a load of crap, then you won’t be noticing the changes in your body you were hoping to see. Exercising isn’t like waving a magic wand that gives you the “excuse” to eat junk food. You need to maintain a healthy, balanced diet alongside your pole dancing workout regime if you want to see the physical results showing on your body.
You’ll get stronger and fitter if you practice pole fitness regularly, but you’ll get the body of your dreams if you eat well too. Eating well also means that your muscles will heal faster after a workout, you’ll feel less fatigued and it will improve your general overall well-being.
It’s a no-brainer really! Eat a balanced diet with lots of vegetables, beans, pulses, legumes, eggs, fish, lean meat and cut back on sugary foods, bread, soda and alcohol.
Forgetting to Drink Water!
As with any form of exercise, you should drink plenty of water to stay hydrated during your pole workout sessions. Keep a refillable bottle nearby and have some water at regular intervals.
This beautifully designed water bottle is perfect for pole dancers to take with them to classes or just use on a daily basis!
So which of these common mistakes did you make as a beginner? Do you have any tips for beginner pole dancers to share with our readers? Leave a comment below to get involved!
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