For a long time, pole dancing has been associated with striptease and the adult industry. But over the last decade, it has evolved to become a whole new fitness activity, giving rise to pole studios all around the world. More and more people are being interested in pole dancing and are making it part of their fitness routine. So, if you are thinking of trying a pole dancing class and you are not sure if this is for you or if you have just joined a pole studio and you are a pole dancing beginner, below is what you need to know and what you can expect :
Your Age and Weight Do Not Matter
A lot of people wonder if there are any prerequisites to start pole dancing. The answer is NO.
Just as the gym, pole studios welcome people of all ages. You can start pole dancing whether you are a university student, a mum of 3 or even a grand-mother ! You can start at any age.
Your weight, as well does not matter. Whether you think you have a few extra pounds or are overweight, your body can still do amazing and impressive things and pole dancing is one of them. If you decide to join a pole studio, you would be surprised how many people there do not necessarily have the flattest stomach or the slimmest cellulite-free thighs! Yet they can still climb a pole and spin beautifully.
You Don’t Need Any Background To Start Pole Dancing
Pole dancing is a combination of strength and flexibility. But you do not need to be a body builder or a gymnast to start pole dancing. If you think your biceps are non-existent and that you can barely carry your grocery shopping bags or that you are as flexible as a bamboo stick, do not worry. It just means that it will probably take you a little more of time and work to gain flexibility and strength.
If you have never been an active gym member and do not run marathons, that’s again totally fine. Pole dancing does not require that you have any fitness background. It can absolutely be your first fitness activity.
Types Of Pole Dancing Classes
You may have seen different types of pole dancing performances. You may also have heard of different terms such as pole dancing or pole fitness or pole fit. Actually, most studios offer 3 types of pole dancing classes, so it is important for you to understand what the class you are joining will be focusing on :
- Pole Fit – As its name suggests these classes will focus more on the fitness aspect of pole dancing and as a beginner, you will be taught the basic moves and figures in pole dancing. These will include spins, climbing, and invert. As you learn and progress, you will learn more moves and transitions. And ultimately, you will learn combos, i.e a set of moves in a particular order. In pole fit classes, you would not wear pole shoes/heels, also known as pleasers.
- Pole Dance/ Pole Exotic – These classes are more about the dance aspect. You will learn dance moves around and on the pole, floor works and specific choreographies. You would also wear some dance costumes and pole heels. There is also a new form of contemporary dance around the pole which some studios practice, where dancers actually wear socks or are bare foot. I have even seen pole dancing combined with tango !
- Pole Conditioning – These classes are generally intense exercise classes. They will aim at building the strength you need to perform the moves and figures which you learn in your pole fit or pole dance/exotic classes. Pole conditioning classes usually involve exercises on a static pole (not spinning) and also off pole, targeting specific muscle groups.
Additionally, to the different types of pole dancing classes, most studios will also offer flexibility workout classes. So, ideally, you would want to also join regular flexibility training classes.
Benefits of Pole Dancing
As you will move forward on your pole dancing journey and attend regular pole classes, you will notice obvious changes in your overall body that are not only physical but you will also feel those changes.
- Stronger than ever – In pole dancing, you learn to work out and use your whole body and muscle groups but mostly your upper body, your core and your thighs. You will notice quick progress and gain strength in those areas first.
- Increased flexibility – Pole classes combined with flexibility training classes are going to make you achieve moves and figures that you probably thought were achievable only by gymnasts. You will work out mainly on getting your splits by stretching your hamstrings and hip flexors. You will also work out on your overall back flexibility which will help you get into beautiful bendy moves. Being flexible will not only make you look beautiful and impressive on the pole but has also major health benefits as it increases your joints range of motion and reduce the risk of injuries.
- Weight Loss – If you are looking to lose some extra pounds, pole dancing will surely help. Pole dancing classes are generally intense full body workout classes and you can expect to burn between 200 and 350 calories in a 1-hour class.
- Stay fit having fun – Going regularly to the gym or for a run is not always excited and most of us usually need to “force” ourselves to get it done, just for the sake of staying fit. But with pole dancing, you are sure to have interactive classes and lots of fun while learning moves and figures.
It will take time, effort and consistency (And some pain)
“The expert at anything was once a beginner” – Helen Hayes
Allow yourself to be a beginner. And as a beginner, be ready to find it difficult, to not always get a move on the spot, to feel pain and have bruises (which you will eventually learn to call “pole kisses”). Pole dancing just as any other activity will require time, effort and practice for you to become good at it. So attend regular classes. If at first you do not get a move, try again, and again, until the end of the class. And once you get a move, continue to practice it until you are so good that you cannot have it wrong anymore 🙂 And when you do not get a move in one class, do not give up, you will eventually get it the next time.
Finally, try not to compare yourself with other people. We all start somewhere. We all have different bodies and learn at a different pace. Be patient. Be your own competition and aim only at being better than yesterday.
And most importantly, make sure to have fun in your classes !