Off the Pole focuses on non-pole exercises – so you can learn about different training methods to help strengthen and balance your body. Here you can find different tips and tricks for equipment and training.
Whether you’ve been Pole Dancing for 9 months or 9+ years – it should always be about enjoying the journey. Mistakes are always a part of that and are an important part of learning and developing.
But what if we could give ourselves some advice from the future to make things just a little bit easier? I asked the members of the Off The Pole Community for their input and they came back with some great nuggets of wisdom to pass down the lineage of pole…
1.Don’t compare yourself to others
Easier said than one but there’s a saying that goes ‘comparison is the thief of joy’ and while a large part of being in the pole community is getting inspiration from watching other, it’s important to remember that everyone is on their own path and starting from a completely different background. Taking time to remind yourself how far you’ve come can be a great exercise is keeping positive and focused on your own journey.
2.Train both sides
Strong/Weak, Right/Wrong, Dominant/Dork – we love to divide up the sides in to good and bad – but if you weigh up the pros and cons (e.g training both sides from the beginning can lead to reducing injuries and massively improving your combo game) it’s a no-brainer. If you find yourself a little wonky on the training side try training a 3:1 ratio on the ‘weak-strong’ side to help even things out.
3. Look after yourself
Rest and recovery are just as important as the training itself. Learning to listen to your body and noticing signs of overtraining can be very valuable to your long-term health, mentally and physically, as it will reduce levels of frustration and risk of injury. Things to try include having a massage, an Epson salt bath, working on your mobility and taking adequate time to recover between sessions. Active recovery and cross-training with activities like yoga can also help to balance out the demands of pole training.
4.Dance and Flow
Just because you don’t come from a dance background doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy and benefit from learning how to link movements together. Experimenting with how your body moves will help build body awareness, increase your endurance/stamina on the pole and give you an opportunity to feel the physical and psychological benefits of dancing. Don’t worry about it being perfect – there is no right or wrong – stick on a song and see where it takes you.
5.Master the basics
There seems to be a constant stream of new shapes, combos, tricks and spins, but all of these movements have come from the basics. They are variations of a climb, a sit, a leg hang, invert etc and all need to have those foundations to perform correctly. The problem with so many trick options is feeling the pressure to rush ahead and not spending a decent chunk of your time becoming a master of the basics. You will be setting yourself up for learning tricks quicker and more efficiently in the future.
If you want to get the most from your sessions, reduce the risk of injury and get the best grip on the pole, then giving yourself a good warm up will pay dividends. Warm muscles contract and relax better, joints are mobilised and the body is more prepared for what you need it to do. Make it fun and functional and you’ll find added strength and flexibility benefits thrown into the mix too!
7.Pain is not your friend
There are different types of pain. Muscle soreness, chronic pain, and injuries can all feel very different based on their severity and ignoring an issue for the sake of training can lead to larger problems later on. A dull ache, sharp pain or ‘niggle’ should always be investigated and elevated to a professional opinion where necessary. Take note of outside factors too including stress levels, fatigue and pay close attention to your technique, controlling the entry and exit of a move is just as important as the move itself.
8. Flexibility is totally your friend…
Flexibility can be approached in many ways but at its core, it will open movement doors that will increase your repertoire on the pole. Find a system that works for you, whether that’s ‘little and often’ sessions at home or taking stretch classes, be realistic in your goals and be kind to the process. It is not an overnight fix and will take dedication to be consistent. We need to be strong in our flexibility, so make sure you always choose safe and functional methods to progress. Try to make good decisions in your day to day life (e.g avoiding sitting for long periods of time) and track your progress to help stay motivated.
9. Just buy the short shorts now…
Pole gives you confidence – That may come out through what you wear, what you do or how you feel about yourself, but get ready to embrace and cultivate it. Every time you come to class you are overcoming challenges and using your body in ways you never thought you could – rather than working out to look a certain way, you’re focusing on what your body can do. We can all agree that pole has changed us in one way or another – so regardless if you’re posting #sundaybumday pictures or not – it’s not about how much you show – it’s about how you FEEL <3
10.Respect the history of Pole
This should be an important part of being a pole dancer. As the new generations come up and pole develops in the many different styles it has today, understanding where it came from and the people that got us there, is all part of our history. It was not an easy path for the pioneers of pole, as the world was introduced to the first studios and classes. As the different styles have emerged, this history is important as none of the styles would be here if it wasn’t for those early days in clubs and grainy YouTube videos. One style does not have to criticise another to be seen as legitimate – they can all rise together.