Pole dancing as a fitness activity has gained much popularity in the last decade. It is a new and fun way to keep fit and stay active. It is a challenging activity which is even developing into a competitive sport. As for any intense physical activity, accidents and injuries may happen during a training or performance if not taken the necessary safety precautions. If you are a beginner and want to know what safety precautions you can take to prevent pole dancing injuries and accidents, keep reading. This post looks at the safety precautions all pole dancers, especially beginners, should take to ensure a safe and good pole dancing practice.
Always start your pole dancing training with a warm up
Warming up before pole dancing is important as it gets the body prepared before training. A warm up usually lasts 10-15 minutes and consists of light cardio vascular exercises and stretches. During a warm up, the heart’s rate and the body temperature increase and the muscles get warmer.
Getting the body prepared before an intense physical activity is very important because if you skip the warm up and start training straight away, it means you are working out cold and a cold muscle is more easily torn and injured.
So, even if you are late at your pole dancing class and miss the warm up, do not just rush and jump onto the pole. Take at least 10 minutes to warm up by yourself.
Use crash mats
There are a few types of crash mats available on the market. The difference is mainly about their thickness. Most brands offer a 5cm and a 10cm option.
If you are a pole dancing beginner, you can use a less thick crash mat as you will be mainly practicing at a low height on the pole. If you are an intermediate or advanced pole dancer, a thicker crash mat is recommended.
Most of us like to take pictures and videos of our training and performances. It is above all and excellent way to watch our progress. We all love a nice “Then vs Now” progress picture, don’t we ?
But pole dancing is also very beautiful to watch and most of us also like to share our videos and photos on social media. Especially when we have just nailed a new pole trick or got into a new move !
However, it does not necessarily look nice to have the crash mat in the video or photo thus we tend to avoid using one when recording. But for your safety, use the crash mat and especially if you are performing a new move and also if you do not have a buddy around to catch you if you slide or fall.
This is a must have for any pole dancer of any level. There are different types of grip aids : for sweaty hands, dry skin, super strong grip, etc… Grip aids are used in several activities such as weight lifting, gymnastics, climbing and of course pole dancing.
They can easily be purchased online. They also last quite long as for pole dancing you do not really need to use that much, whether it is a liquid chalk, body grip or a spray.
As it’s name suggest, a grip aid helps…. to have a stronger grip on the pole and prevent sliding which provides better control of the body hence a safer practice.
If you are already a pole dancer, regardless of your level, you will know that we need grip on different parts of the body and not necessarily only with our hands. I personally always use a liquid chalk which helps with my sweaty hands and a body grip sometimes, depending on the move I am practicing.
Work on building strength with pole conditioning exercises
Pole dancing is an intense physical activity which combines both strength and flexibility. Both are important in pole dancing to achieve amazing and beautiful moves.
Your pole dancing routine, ideally, should include regular flexibility training and pole conditioning exercises. Pole conditioning aim at building strength which is important and required to use the proper techniques in pole dancing. A lack of strength will not only limit your performance but also make you use incorrect techniques which may result in accidents and injuries.
In pole dancing, you will use all of your muscles but mostly your core muscles, your upper body and thighs. These are the areas the most engaged in pole dancing.
A basic move in pole dancing is the invert, which is an entry move. To invert properly, you should engage your core muscles to lift up your lower body on the pole.
If you lack strength in your core muscles for example, your body will tend to force on your lower back muscles instead to help achieve the same move. This would then be the incorrect technique and you will have a great risk of hurting your lower back. So when you are learning a new move, make sure to understand which is the proper technique, which muscles should be engaged and work on strengthening these muscles.
Do not do too much too soon
While pole dancing is an intense physical activity and a challenging one, we can get very excited at the beginning and over motivated. I remember when I first signed up to the pole studio near my place, I chose the biggest package straight away. I was passionate about pole dancing, I always wanted to do it, I was in awe every time I would watch a video of a performance online. I had 5 hours of training in one week, on 3 consecutive days.
Guess what ?
After 2 months, I had to reduce the frequency of my training because it simply was too much. I was having muscle soreness and pain and I did not give my body enough time to rest and to recover. It was not effective as on the 2nd and 3rd day of training in the week, I was too in pain to and spent most time leaning against the pole and watching others.
Make sure to give time to your body enough time to rest and recover. Try to have rest days between trainings. Be patient with yourself. If you do not get a new move on the same day, it is okay. Have some rest and try again next time.
Ask for a pole buddy to help you
In a pole dancing class, there will be other people learning with you and if it is a busy class, sometimes you might be sharing a pole with someone else. If this is the case, it is a good thing to watch and help your pole buddy when it is his or her turn and then they can do the same when it is your turn. In this way, not only you are helping each other with what you are learning and practicing but you also know there is someone to hold you and catch you if you slide and fall. They can tell you if you have the right grip for example and if it is safe for you to release.
If you are not sharing a pole and you are practicing a new move, do not be afraid to ask for someone who is free to watch you or wait for the instructor to be free to come to you.
It is also important when pracitcing a new move, to ask for the instructor to check if you are using the right technique. Using the wrong techniques often results in injury.
Removing any jewelry when pole dancing is required for several reasons. Wearing a ring for example will end up damaging the pole over time. But it can also affect your grip which can result in losing control of your body and hurt yourself. You could also hurt youself if your skin gets trapped between the pole and your ring.
Wearing a necklace or long earrings will be uncomfortable when you get in upside down positions as they will fall onto your face. This can affect your concentration and instead of focusing on your technique and position, you will try to get rid of what is bothering you.
Some moves will require you to keep your hands on the pole for example and trying to release them even for just a few seconds, to take your necklace off your face, can make you fall and hurt yourself.
So make sure to remove any jewelry before heading to your pole class.
Prevention is better than cure
You’ve heard it and it is true.
I hope this post helped you in understanding why it is important to take safety precautions when pole dancing and what you can do to ensure you pole dance safely.
If you have any question or want to share about your pole dancing journey, feel free to leave a comment below 🙂 I will be happy to hear from you.