We are thrilled to have guest writer, Lauren Engle, today sharing some tips she learned while learning pole fitness! She is a 20-something South Jersey native trying to survive the Baltimore/DC Metro grind. She has a desk job that has to be supplemented with house/yardwork and pole fitness. When Lauren isn’t trying out new recipes on the hubby, she can be found reading, kayaking, snuggling with her three fur-babies, trying her hand at urban homesteading or sleeping in. Lauren hopes one day to become a pole instructor, but for now she is just the over-zealous friend telling you to give it a try.
The latest “fitness craze” to start sweeping the workout world is probably the most controversial and taboo by most American standards. It’s a great workout, combining cardio with a heaping helping of strength training. You are surrounded by a community of women (and men) that share the same love and passion for the sport (yes, it is a sport!) and encourage you every step of the way. You feel empowered and sexy and accomplished with every new trick you learn, hold you master and spin you nail. Did I mention you can do all of this in a pair of stilettos — if you want?
Pole fitness is something that I had always found intriguing; leggy ladies dancing like pretty Gumby’s on a tall, thin pole. Needless to say, I was (and still am) the ultimate creeper whenever the serious tricks were pulled out. What I didn’t know is that the day I walked through the doors of my local studio, my life would change for the better! I tried a free intro class and was instantly hooked. I broke out of my comfort zone, pulled on some booty boy shorts that highlighted some dimples in some not so flattering places and became serious about learning to master the 12 feet of 50-mm brass pole!
Here are a few tips I learned along the way for those getting started or interested in pole fitness.
7 Pole Fitness Tips
1. Introduce yourself. If you are new to a studio, hit up the ladies around you. We are a chatty bunch that are willing to step up and show you the ropes (erm — poles!). Each studio is different and has varied ways of starting class, ask what they are — instructors are generally very friendly and so are the rest of the ladies. As for those who are already pole divas, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone who is just starting out. You could be the kind heart that keeps her coming back!
2. We come in all shapes, sizes, colors and abilities. Take a stroll through my studio any given day and you will see a plethora (see big word there!) of women strutting around busting out new tricks and holds. Generally, studios will require you to be at least 18, but that is about it. Don’t let size get you down; it just means you have extra sexy jiggle when you learn to twerk it with a grandma on your left and a second-year physics major on your right. Yes, I said it — nerds like to shake like a Polaroid picture, too!
3. Just go for it! Let’s be super honest — pole fitness can be some scary! I mean seriously. Who in their right mind thinks that hanging upside down on a metal pole by their thigh meat is a good idea when gravity wants nothing more than to see you find your rightful place on the ground!? We do! Some holds and spins take a while to get, simply because you have a mental block. I still have moves that hold me back even now that I am stronger and have been working on them for some time. Ask any instructor and they will also have a trick or two that still makes them sweat just thinking about it. The hardest and most gratifying thing is just clearing away the doubt and going for it. You’ll be amazed at what you can do!
4. Let your friend’s critique. I am a perfectionista. There I said it. Okay, so it was not like that admission was dying to break out of me, but it is something that helps me work on my moves. During class, the instructor will often be sure to come around and watch you practice. She will spot you and offer up advice, but instructors aren’t the only ones to help out. Find a friend to observe you, ask them to pick apart your moves and tell you what is working and what isn’t. Bonus: offer to do the same for them and make a new friend!
5. Your phone or tablet may be your best friend. In the same vein as finding a living, breathing friend for constructive criticism, start recording yourself. You will get a much better sense of how you dance and move, quirks and habits. You will see how others see you while noting the things that work for you, as well as the nuances that you can totally do without.
6. Don’t let all that skin scare you. We get it, not everyone understands the whole “need to be almost naked” aspect of poling. Here is your reason: you need skin! Exposed skin grips the pole to lock you in place and keep you from sliding down the pole. Any fabric against the pole is going to slide, making a hold even harder to maintain or even dangerous given the higher risk of falling and injuring yourself. So don’t scoff at the near-nakedness of your cohorts — strip down with them!
7. Never, ever say I’m not strong enough! The fastest way to have an instructor (or other divas) on you like white on rice is to say you don’t have the strength to do pole. You will quickly learn that pole is a very foundation-based sport. You will learn moves that will gradually up your experience, confidence and overall strength to move on to tougher moves.
We are a rowdy bunch who love to get sweaty and feel sexy while doing it — the shoes and sexy clothes are a bonus. Be sure to check out free classes at your local studio and try any classes offered that provide strength training or other workouts that will ultimately help you nail that new trick! Let us know what you think about pole fitness and how you might fit it into your routine.
Of course, you should consult a doctor before starting a new exercise routine and always listen to your body. And please, for the love of all that is green and nutritious, don’t become part of the next pole fitness fail video compilation!
What do you say, are you up for some pole fitness? —Lauren