What to bring for your first pole dance lesson?
- The most important thing to take to your first lesson is a pair of shorts. Even for your first try, having exposed skin on your legs will make spins easier and you will be able to grip the pole more easily on other moves. The more advanced you get, it becomes essential for skin to be exposed on your legs, stomach, back and arms for maximum grip.
- Ballet practice shoes are also helpful for pole dance because you will walk and spin on the balls of your feet and these particular shoes allow maximum movement without feeling like your feet are sticking to the floor. Ask your pole dance school if they sell anything like this, or buy them from my website at…
- Take a small towel with you, too. Some studios don’t provide towels and you will need one to clean the pole or towel down your body.
- Liquid chalk or other grip aids. There are so many different types of grip Aid, which can help dry the moisture on your palms and help you grip the pole. Before you buy any, ask your instructor which type they recommend. I allow my students to try my liquid chalk so they can see which type works for them before they commit to buying any. Always be careful not to apply too much grip aid – too much will mean your grip is too good and you will struggle to perform spins. If you feel your hands are slipping, try washing them with cold water and soap before applying grip aid. This helps to remove dirt and grease that may be hindering your progress.
- Never moisturise your skin before pole class. Not only will you not be able to grip but it makes the pole super slippery for anyone you are sharing with – this is unfair and very frustrating.
- Like all sport, pole dance is hard work and it’s important to stay hydrated. You should always take a bottle of water with you.
Bruises are an inevitable part of learning pole dance. When you learn a new move, parts of your body will make contact with the pole for the first time and it is likely that you will develop a bruise there, also known as a pole kiss. There’s not much you can do to prevent this, but eventually, your skin will become used to the contact and it won’t be so painful, and you won’t bruise so easily. However, everyone’s pain threshold is different. If you feel like you can’t do a move because it hurts your skin too much don’t worry much about this because you can buy specialised skin protection for pole. You can buy ankle, shin and thigh protectors, knee pads, gloves, and even sticky leggings which will help you achieve moves without feeling so much pain. They are designed especially for pole dancing so they still allow necessary grip.
If you already have bruises or bruise easily, try applying arnica cream or gel, which promotes the healing of bruises. It also comes in tablet form to be taken orally from. You can buy them at any pharmacy.
Practice makes perfect
Yes, practice makes perfect, but you can over train and become more susceptible to injuries. If you are working at a beginner level (and depending on your current fitness level) I suggest practising for a maximum of two 60 minute sessions per week, allowing at least one rest day in between. Any more than this puts your muscles under unnecessary stress, and you will be more likely to become injured.
More advanced polers can practice up to three 60 minute classes each week. You will feel ‘ready’ when you are able to push your body to practice more than this but rest days are crucial.
On a ‘rest day’ why not try a stretching class as an additional workout? Taking a stretching class will help you to achieve front and box splits and can help with back and shoulder flexibility. To be flexible is not essential to start pole dancing, however the more flexible you are the easier some moves are and also moves can look more wow:)
Your own pole
Even though pole dance is an addiction, if you have a pole at home already be careful over practising and injuring yourself. If you have adequate space, time, and money then there is no reason not to buy a pole for your home.
If you have a pole at home, I don’t recommend trying new moves by yourself. Ensure you have a spotter present and adequate protection should you fall. It’s very common for a pole dance trick to look easier than it actually is. Be patient and with practice, you will achieve all the moves you wish to. And always use a crash mat.
The Dork Side
You should train both sides of your body equally regardless of whether you are left or right handed. When working at a beginner level, try all spins and moves with both arms. You will naturally start on your dominant side and prefer it like this. The not so strong side we refer to as ‘The Dork Side’ and it will stay that way if you forget to train both sides equally!
When you begin practising more complicated moves and inverts you don’t need to perfect the moves on both sides but at least try. Leg grips are particularly important and must be trained on both sides – many combinations of moves require you to switch a grip behind the knee so you must be able to do both. Strengthening exercises should always be done on both sides. Start with your dork side and see how many you can do. Then, do the same on the other side. Eventually you will feel equally as strong on both sides.
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