Pole Dancing: Did you know…

It has become the latest sensation in the fitness industry of late

POLE dancing has no doubt become one of the latest sensation in the fitness industry in recent years. If you’ve ever watched any form of pole dancing whether live or in a music video, it definitely looks graceful and effortless. But there are some things that happen behind-the-scenes which not everyone knows about! If you’re a first timer to pole or you’re just curious, read on! Here’s a summary of what no one really told me and I had to experience for myself!

Pole Dancing: Did you know...
Picture courtesy of Stardust

As fun and as effortless it may look, it is indeed a very intense form of fitness. Just like carrying weights at the gym, your hands will blister in the first few classes and thereon, they form calluses over time, which is the norm. Say bye-bye to soft, smooth hands! However, over time I’ve learned to appreciate my calluses as it’s just the body’s way of protecting itself against all the friction from the grip, and I feel less pain gripping the pole with the calluses. Bruising is also very common when you first start out, as you learn to use different parts of your arms and legs to grip the pole. As a student, I also bruised on my tailbone, due to the floorwork which forms a part of pole dancing. But fret not, they usually go away after some time and I recommend applying bruise balm and a heating pad to get the clot to disperse faster. Pole burns as well are very common, I tend to get this on my foot, when I use it to climb the pole.

Over time, pole dancing can help you become leaner due to the amount of weight you lift, and it tends to build your upper body a lot. Most dancers and my students are in between sizes as such, and don’t really fit into standard sizes. I am generally a UK size 6, but due to pole dancing I have to size up to accommodate for more muscular and broader shoulders, while having to alter the bottom half of my clothes smaller! Be prepared to change your wardrobe when you get addicted to pole dancing!

Staying on the pole is not merely about strength and stamina, it also depends on how warm your body is, so if the room and pole is cold, you need a warmer body to have more grip on the pole. Thus, I stress the importance of a good warm up – to be able to ‘stick’ to the pole, besides the benefit of avoiding injuries. When you come for class, always come prepared with some grip aids like shaving gel and hand grips which will dry the sweat on your hands. For safety purposes, I don’t recommend that my students schedule an oil massage just before class! Your skin needs to be clean and dry to be safe on the pole.

Picture courtesy of Stardust

The platform shoes or also known as ‘stripper heels’ (because you see strippers wearing them in the club)…these are actually functional! In pole dancing, we tend to drag our feet a lot instead of stepping, it’s just the element of the dance, and so, the platform helps to protect our toes from friction and hence, floor burns. Contrary to how they look, it is actually very comfortable as they are made especially for pole dancing, and as the soles are elevated with the platform, the arch is not as steep as regular high heels.

When you first start pole dancing, yes the ache is real, and you may feel like you can’t lift your arms even to drive to work the next day. I always advise my first time students to not worry, as it’s just your body’s way of acclimatising to the load, and to take a hot shower after class to ease the muscles. Also, when you first learn your aerial invert at the intermediate level, it’s normal to feel the back muscle “cramp” sensation for days after – for this and other muscle aches, I have always had Perskindol and Ketotop plasters for relief. These aren’t ‘real injuries’ to me but just mainly muscle soreness as it has never been made to go upside down with all the body weight!

Although some people relate pole dancing to being overtly sexy, which I won’t deny that it may have elements of, there is also a reason behind why dancers typically at least wear a crop top and shorts, baring the tummy area, as well as, a lot of legs and back. Basically, the higher up you go, it is safer to have less fabric get in the way of your grips, because we need to use a lot of bare skin to grip & wrap our body around the pole. Clothing will only make it very slippery and as such, rather dangerous. I personally prefer to wear booty shorts or a bikini because at my level, I need to also use a lot of my underarms, as well as buttocks! But for beginners, a singlet and shorts are fine as well for basic moves!

I hope you find this an interesting read, and this is especially meant to be beneficial for someone interested to try pole dancing for the first time! Don’t let this deter you, pole dancing is indeed a whole world of difference from any other fitness and so, very addictive! Ask any of my students – they will tell you how upset they are when they have to miss their class and practice sessions!

By : Stardust – THE VIBES

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