Do we really need to train both sides?

‘Dork side’/‘Weak side’/’Bad side’ – These are some terms I’ve heard during class where people imagine their ‘non-dominant’ side to be weak, feeble and unable to cope. You’re not as unbalanced as you think! A lot can be said about our bodies seemingly leaning towards one side but we’re not as binary as you think.

At the beginning, it won’t seem relevant – but it is truly key to progressing later on and will immensely reduce your risk of injury.

1)   You’ll get stronger. Working one side does not mean the other side wastes away – but your chances of increasing strength dramatically improve if you can switch it up and learn to love the other side.

2)   It increases your options: Building fluid and interesting combos and transitions isn’t necessarily about packing in as many tricks as you can – learn a trick both sides and you’ve doubled your repertoire for the same amount of time learning in class. E.G Cupid to cupid

3) Preventing injury: Relying on one side can cause imbalances, which can affect us in many different ways. One side can become overworked due to reduced recovery time and repetitive strain.

4)   It does get easier. A lot of time it’s our head getting in the way of the movement. Controlled repetition will allow you to build up muscle memory and before you know it you barely have to think about it.

Photograph by GMARK ART

How to Improve:

Tip 1) Train your ‘Dork Side’ first

Tip 2) Make a short list of tricks to cover in training to keep you balanced

Tip 3) Combo tricks together that encourage you to use both sides, to make the process challenging but satisfying

Tip 4) Try exercises like the Turkish Get-up – See video below:


Whilst we all know strength and conditioning may not be as fun as pole dancing – the idea is to be able to pole for as long as possible! These exercises are designed not to take up your pole time – but to extend it in the long run.

My online programs all follow this principle – Train smart so you can play more!

Click here to learn more

Rotation, rotation, rotation – how to avoid shoulder injuries

When I started Pole Dancing 8 years ago, I almost immediately associated progress with how my shoulders performed.

We want super strong shoulders capable of allowing us to swing, lift and hold ourselves upside down in crazy positions; but they also need to be mobile, able to twist and pivot to create beautiful shapes, with seamless transitions.

This is a dilemma….

Wanting to excel in these core pole dancing aspects can pull us in different directions in training, but it doesn’t have to;

By accustoming ourselves with the shoulders full range of motion and activating the muscles while doing it, rather than just strengthening and building muscle VS stretching and flexibility, we can train towards a stable, reliable shoulder.

Joints shouldn’t be overexerted, and promoting hypotrophy in the adjacent muscles will enable you to protect tendons and ligaments – and take on the pole with much more confidence.

You’ll benefit from these shoulder exercises regardless of being at a beginner, an intermediate or an advanced level.

For the mobile shoulder joints to stay mobile and healthy, they rely almost entirely on the proper function of the scapula. Yes, the true key to shoulder mobility is scapular stability. You gotta have strong shoulder blades. You need a foundation” – Mark Sisson

By adhering to this workout routine you’ll not only build muscle that allows the rotator cuff to properly pivot the head of the humerus (upper arm bone), but also build confidence to master another pole move!

You’ll want to know that you’re capable of holding a position safely and effectively – especially when defying gravity in upside-down positions like Ayesha

Ideas to train Scapula Stability:

Today I’m sharing this exercise, which allows you to peek into my Off The Pole Workout Programs

This particular set enhances the load-bearing ability of the scapula by training the muscles that envelop it. Exercising one arm at a time allows for more focus and adds a unilateral and asymmetric muscle contraction that is similar to what we experience while pole dancing.

Successfully building a sound shoulder foundation will enable you to nail that pole move! A few minutes of commitment every day will not only help you increase your pole proficiency but also make you less injury-prone.

(WOD = Workout of the Day)#PoleWODWednesday is a feature on my Facebook Group:‘Off The Pole‘ Ever Wednesday I release a workout designed for pole dancers and enthusiasts, but anyone can give it a go – you’ll feel the difference from day 1!If you’re looking to build balance and strength further, check out my Off The Pole workout programs here – they require little to no equipment which allows you to workout anytime, anywhere. There are so many other aspects of pole dancing kinetics we could get into – that is it for today! Stay tuned for more, and please keep on sharing your experiences and suggestions in the comments section or the Facebook Group 
Train Smart – Dance More

Mastering a Pole Trick

Are you taking the time to master your techniques? We all feel the pressure to push for the next trick but here are some tips and benefits to taking a step back

This is a blog based on a post I recently did for the Pole Safe Federation. I’ll link all their details below if you’re interested in becoming a member.

We can all feel the pressure push for the latest trick – but mastering a trick can actually start with a few simple areas:

– Entry and Exit: I feel like this is one of the most important parts of mastering a trick! Maintaining control throughout these sections means less chance of injury, a greater chance of trick execution, better aesthetics of the trick and faster gains in strength and flexibility as you are continually working rather than cutting corners. This can be one of the greatest areas overlooked by polers and you’re missing out on some good stuff! Judges and audiences relish this stuff in performances, you’ll feel more in control and see faster progress in almost all areas.

– Breathing:  Seems so simple to say but it’s such an easy thing to forget! Especially when still in the learning phase of a trick. When instructors are breaking things down and chatting away halfway through their inverts and spins – it’s because they’ve mastered the trick to the point where they are comfortable and breathing – even while keeping their core braced. This is essential for when you’re building up endurance in certain positions, putting combos together and routines.

I feel like I’ve mastered a trick when I can perform the trick on cue, I don’t have to think about the steps, my body will know where to go after completing many, many repetitions of the movements. I can combine the trick in a number of ways and can perform the trick on both sides.

Now have I mastered all of the tricks I know on the pole? Not even close – but that’s why I’ll continue to go back to them The satisfaction comes from the challenge, and setting yourself challenges to master tricks will give you amazing results on the pole.

When do you feel like you’ve mastered a trick? Do you have a checklist?

PoleSafe Federation:
PoleSafe Facebook Page:
PoleSafe Facebook Group: