Pole dancing certainly requires a lot of upper-body strength. Actually, it is a complete full-body workout! Pole dancing works your upper-body, core and your legs to help you build strength quickly.

Often, people think that they can’t learn pole dancing because they’re just not strong enough.

We hear this a lot, it’s very common for those who are keen to learn, think that they need at least some existing natural strength, to begin with.

This is simply not true.

Sure, having some natural strength or having gained strength through doing another form of workout can certainly be beneficial, but it doesn’t matter if you’re not super strong when you’re just getting started.

Regular pole dance sessions will help you build strength over time – but there’s definitely no need to overdo it, especially if you’re a beginner.

As a beginner pole dancer, it’s unlikely that you’ll have your own pole to practice with in-between classes straight away. It’s a good idea to invest in your own dance pole, but that’s not always an option for people when they’re just getting started.

However, there are loads of other exercises you can do at home to get stronger and subsequently progress with your pole dancing journey.

This is called conditioning your muscles.

Conditioning means that you’re preparing your muscles, or training them to get better at pole dancing.

Upper-body strength is only a part of what you need to be a good pole dancer. Pole dancing is a full-body workout, so you need to think about strengthening your entire body.

Pole dancing on a regular basis will help you gain all-over strength, including your upper-body.

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How to Build Upper-Body Strength for Pole Dancing

Tips for Pole Dancers to get more upper body strength

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Here are our tips for building your upper-body strength to help you become a better pole dancer.

Improve your General Fitness

As a beginner pole dancer, now is a good a time to think about your overall fitness. All forms of exercise will help your progress on the pole.

There so many workouts to compliment your pole fitness work, such as yoga, cross fit, weight training, circuits and cardio.

Incorporate exercises for your upper-body into your new fitness regime.

Related: Is ‘Twisted Grip’ Bad For You?


Eat Healthy Foods

It may seem boring, but having a healthy diet is key to helping your muscles grow.

Try to maintain a diet with lots of fruit and vegetables, with lots of unprocessed/complex carbohydrates for energy. You also need protein, which means fish, lean red meat, eggs and poultry. If you’re a vegan, then this means quinoa, tofu, nuts, beans and pulses.

You should also make sure you get plenty of vitamins and minerals in your diet, again, from eating whole/unprocessed foods!

Related: Should Pole Dancers take Vitamin Supplements?


Focus on your Entire Upper-Body

Gaining upper-body strength for pole dancing is not just about having strong arms.

You need to look at the bigger picture. Your arms do need to be strong, so do your shoulders, your chest, your back and your wrists. In order to be strong, you’ll need to work the entire upper-body, rather than just your arms.

There are small muscles to build up, such as the rotator cuffs in your shoulders, as well as larger muscles like your biceps.

Related: 12 other workouts for pole dancers to try

Woman with kettlebell gaining upper-body strength

Upper-Body Workouts to do at Home

There are plenty of fitness routines you can do at home that will build your upper-body strength.

  • Push-ups
  • Diamond Push-ups
  • Wide Push-ups (if you can’t manage a push-up, then go on your knees rather than your toes until you get stronger!)
  • Tricep Dips
  • Pull-ups (You’ll need a pull-up bar)
  • Plank (Planks work your arms and shoulders, as well as your core!)
  • Yoga

Weight-Training to do at Home or in a Gym

  • Bicep curls
  • Overhead press
  • Tricep rows

Related: How to get Better at Pole Dancing


Avoiding Injuries

Gaining muscle takes time, especially for women. It’s important that you listen to your body and don’t overdo things. You know your own body and what it can handle, so don’t get tempted to do anything that could result in injuries!

If you do get injured, you’ll have to take a break. Breaks are big setbacks for pole dancers and it feels worse if these injuries are self-inflicted!

So, whatever fitness training regime you choose for your upper-body, you shouldn’t do anything beyond your physical ability. Difficult/more-advanced techniques need to be worked towards, not jumped into straight away.

Related: How to deal with pole dancing related injuries


Keep on Pole Dancing!

Even if you don’t feel strong enough. Pole dancing itself is a strength-building technique. Some moves may seem impossible at first but the more you Try, the stronger you become.

Focus on strength-based pole tricks such as knee-raises and pull-ups as part of your general warm-up and you’ll soon notice an improvement.

Try pulling yourself up into spins, climbs and inverts instead of spinning or jumping (you really shouldn’t be jumping into spins anyway!)

Also, ensure that you practice all tricks and spins on both sides. Everyone has a preferred side that they tend to use. You don’t want to end up imbalanced – so force yourself to practice moves on both sides!

Related: How often should you practice pole dancing?

So, those are our top tips for building your upper-body strength for pole dancing! What did you do to improve your strength? Let us know by leaving a comment below – we’d love to hear from you!


Happy poling!


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Pole Dance 101 - How to get Upper-Body Strength for Pole Dancing



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