For years pole enthusiasts have been turning the heads of the general public with their impressive strength, endurance, and agility. So much so that pole dancing has moved from the strip club to fitness studios worldwide. Why? Well for one, pole dancing is good exercise. And when I say good I mean you’ll probably never want to try anything else.
How to tell if your workout is worth it
When it comes to “good exercise” and what qualifies as such, multiple sources state that the exercise program you participate in should belong in at least one of these four categories.
Aerobic Exercise– Movement that increases your heart and respiratory rate. Builds the body’s endurance levels.
Strength Training– Resistance based exercises. Induce muscular contractions that build skeletal muscle fibers.
Stretching– Deliberately flexing and elongating muscles and tendons within the body. Used to increase the muscle’s elasticity and range of motion.
Balancing Exercises– Training that involves using various muscles of the body to stabilize itself.
It’s common for many different forms of practices like yoga and jogging, or sports like swimming and tennis to provide you with one or more of these exercise categories. It may please you to know that pole dancing or pole sport hits all four categories to an impressive extent.
From personal experience, I can tell you if you perform a “lively” pole dance routine to a full song, you will be gassed by the end. Exotic dancers usually perform to two songs in a row per stage set. If the cash was falling that night, your performance better be lively. However, you probably won’t be able to speak right for a few minutes after stepping off stage. Over time this constant strain on your cardiovascular and respiratory system starts to cease as your endurance improves. Pole moves are composed of fast, muscle taxing movements that command a constant energy stream from your body. This requires your body to enter an aerobic state where carbohydrates and fats within the body are broken down using the aerobic metabolic process. If weight loss is your goal, aerobic exercise like pole are your friend.
Whatever level you start at as a pole dancer, you will get stronger. Pole dancing forces the muscles in your back shoulders, legs, glutes, arms, and core to put in their fair share of work. Within my first six months as a pole dancer, I could visibly start seeing growth and definition, especially in my abs and biceps. Muscles increase in size after hypertrophy occurs. This basically means the muscle fibers tear, and the body repairs them to a stronger state. Essentially every pole practice session you’re tearing up your muscles, forcing them to get stronger so you can do it all again tomorrow.
The goal of stretching is to increase your flexibility, so your range of motion is greater. Pole moves regularly involve the body to twist, reach, pull, and push into unfamiliar shapes. Repetitively moving like this increases your range of motion over time. However, there are many moves that require more flexibility than others, and this is why stretching off the pole is so important. It’s also important to keep in mind some people are born way more flexible than others. If you’re anything like me, you’re stiff as a board naturally and have to regularly show your body some love with dynamic and static stretches.
Balance is key when it comes to nailing various pole moves. Take the Ayesha pole move for example. When a newbie starts attempting this move it seems impossible at first.
However, crazy as it is, your muscles and brain literally memorize how to hold your body up into this impressive pose. Additionally, all the little muscles involved in holding your gravity-defying shapes get stronger.
Pole Dancing Is Fantastic Exercise And Fun
As a former gym rat I would actually have to say pole dancing is the most effective, fulfilling, and fun form of exercise there is. Maybe I’m biased because I teach it, but all my students have confided in me that they feel the same.
I think it’s important for everyone to find a healthy form of physical activity they can enjoy for the long run. As we age, we lose muscle, flexibility, balance, and endurance. If you can find something that you enjoy that tackles all these elements, you’ve struck gold my friend.
Now, before you sign up for a pole class though, it’s important to note that just like any form of exercise, you can’t expect results without consistency and continuous progression in your training. Pole can be very dangerous if you’re not training correctly. Please do your homework on injury prevention, and what an effective training plan looks like. Happy training!