Pole Dancing Help

by Molica Clardy
(Oak Grove, KY)

I have a pole at home and I am a beginner. It is really hard to really get a grip, the only thing I can do is go around the pole and walk, that's it. I get really upset because I want to do tricks on it and I can't. I am trying to lose weight at the same time. I need classes, I need help.

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Hang In There (no pun intended!)
by: Susan from PDFF

Hi Molica, thanks so much for stopping by to ask your question.

I can sure appreciate your frustration with your pole...you probably feel like tossing it out the window right about now!

I've taught a few women in your position and I can tell you that your feelings of frustration are entirely normal. Let's break it down and see if we can make a plan to help you get where you want to go.

First of all, you mention that it's hard for you to get a good grip on your dance pole. This can be due to several things, chief among them being sweaty palms.

This is a problem for many people to some degree. Because pole dancing is a challenging physical activity, we are probably going to sweat, and that makes it hard to get a solid grip on the pole. But some people just plain sweat a lot, and some have a particular problem with extra sweaty palms.

If this sounds like you, I recommend a product like Tite Grip or Mighty Grip, either of which can help you hold onto your pole.

Mighty Grip is a powder that absorbs sweat, while Tite Grip is a liquid that acts somewhat like an antiperspirant for your hands. Personally I prefer Tite Grip, as I find Mighty Grip can leave more residue on the pole. This washes off easily of course, but it can sometimes have the opposite effect, making things so sticky that you can't spin at all!

Another reason some people have a hard time keeping hold of their pole is because they lack grip strength. Many people don't think about it, but we have muscles in our hands, and while these are not solely responsible for holding your body weight while you're airborne, they do help you keep a good grip on the pole.

Fortunately, I have a simple $1 solution for you! Next time you're at your local dollar store, look for a rubber ball or a "stress ball," which is like a soft, moldable rubber that retains its shape for a bit when squeezed, then relaxes back to normal.

Keep this ball handy (at your desk, in your purse, in the living room, etc.) and give it a few squeezes with each hand several times a day, say, 15-20 times on each side. Over time, this will help increase your grip strength for pole dancing.

continued below....

Hang In There (no pun intended!) cont'd
by: Susan from PDFF

OK, let's move on to another of your related concerns...not being able to do anything with your pole besides walk around it. Again, let's break this down into what I imagine your various frustrations might be, and then come up with some solutions.

Frustration #1: I bought this darned pole and I can't do a thing with it!

The good news is, you can get a great workout on your dance pole without doing a single trick or airborne spin. The key is to put together a series of simple moves into a routine so you keep moving. This will give you a good aerobic workout that will help with your weight loss goals.

It's also a lot of fun to focus on the dance aspect of pole dancing, without the pressure of doing tricks right away. And if you have fun, you'll keep doing the activity, which of course is key to improving your fitness and reaching your weight loss goal.

You can also use your dance pole as a vertical home gym, to help build the strength you need to be able to do pole tricks like lifts, spins and holds on the pole. All those tricks look like a lot of fun, but the fact is, you need to have a base of strength first, before you can be successful with them. More on this in a moment, but first...

If you'll allow me to do a bit of shameless self-promotion here, I recently filmed a series of pole fitness DVDs with this very thing in mind.

The first DVD is a "simple but not easy" cardio workout on your pole (no spins, lifts or tricks required, but an excellent workout), the 2nd covers strength training on your dance pole, and the 3rd is all about stretching and flexibility.

The idea behind the DVDs is to help women develop that base of fitness they need before moving on to pole tricks and more demanding moves. I made them with women like you in mind, so do check out the preview and see what you think.

continued below...

Hang In There (no pun intended!) cont'd
by: Susan from PDFF

Frustration #2: I know those tricks will make me strong, but how do I get strong enough to be able to do them? (this is the proverbial "chicken and egg" question!)

You mention you're trying to lose weight. I don't know your current health and fitness levels, nor your history, but I can give you some general pointers.

All those crazy pole tricks you see on YouTube? They require muscle strength and control, and lots of it! So if you haven't been active for a while, are overweight, and/or don't have a good solid base of strength, I have to be honest with you and tell you that those tricks are probably going to be out of reach for a little while.

The goods news is that you can get there! You're going to need motivation, determination and discipline, but if you're the kind of person who enjoys setting a goal and then working for it, you're going to see some impressive progress in short order.

Keep in mind that the more extra weight you're carrying, the harder it's going to be lift yourself up onto the pole to do those tricks.

You know your current weight, so just ask yourself if you're capable of lifting that amount and you'll get an idea of what you're up against. My point is, even a small adult body is comprised of a significant amount of weight, so don't underestimate the task at hand. But don't give up either!

If you are carrying extra weight, one obvious way to make those tricks easier is to shed some of it. You've already said you're working on that, which is great. Give it time, do it safely with both diet AND exercise, and you'll get closer to being able to do those tricks just because you'll have less weight to lift.

Continued below...

Hang In There (no pun intended!) cont'd
by: Susan from PDFF

The other side of the equation is changing your body composition, so that you have less fat to lift (which is essentially dead weight) and more muscle with which to lift the parts of you that aren't muscle!

You do this by building muscle through strength training. This needn't involve pumping iron at the gym, though that's one way to do it. As I mentioned above, you can also use your dance pole to help build muscle and improve your strength.

The key thing is to actually do the work. I know it's hard, and it's going to hurt a little, but if you don't push yourself you won't get stronger.

An excellent strategy is to team up with a friend who is equally as motivated as you. Make a plan for what you're going to do each session, and have an agreement that you will NOT commiserate and let each other off the hook when the going gets tough!

Meet regularly (3 times a week is ideal) and work out together, perhaps taking turns coaching and encouraging each other through the exercises you've planned for that session.

Again, I can't stress enough that theory will get you nowhere, you must be willing to do the work necessary to get stronger. But if you have a goal in sight, that can be a huge motivator!

If you continue with your weight loss plan, get regular aerobic exercise (on or off your dance pole) to help burn fat, work on building your muscle strength before you attempt spins and tricks, and perhaps try one of the pole grip products mentioned above when you're ready, you're sure to make progress.

Here are a couple of other Pole Fitness questions I've answered recently that you might find helpful:

Exercises to help build strength off the pole
Use cardio AND strength training to help lose weight

Keep in mind that it's not going to happen overnight, but you will see changes over time. Remember to celebrate the milestones! Maybe write down what you're able to do today, and what your goals are in a month. Then check back, update your diary, record your successes, then set new goals. Tracking your progress is another key to success.

Hang In There (no pun intended!) cont'd
by: Susan from PDFF

And finally, you mention that you need classes and help!

While some people can learn easily on their own at home, others can really benefit from some expert coaching. I tell my students that it's all in the details. Often, it's just knowing how to grip the pole, where to put your foot, or some other seemingly insignificant detail that makes all the difference.

If you're the type of person who needs to see it, hear, and try it for yourself while someone guides and corrects you as you learn, then private or group classes will definitely be a benefit.

You can search my worldwide pole dancing directory to find a studio or instructor near you, but if you don't have a local studio there are other options.

This page provides information on the different ways you can learn to pole dance, from taking private pole dancing lessons to learning from pole dance DVDs or even a pole dancing manual. Do check out the information there as I'm sure you'll find something that will be of benefit.

I know this has turned into a very long answer Molica, so thanks for your patience! I hope you find at least some of it helpful.

Do pop back and let me know how you're making out as you progress in your pole dancing adventure. I know you can do it, and I look forward to reading your update!

I need help too...
by: Vykki

I do great in my pole lesson, but then when I'm home I struggle with a basic spin let alone inverts etc

Its really getting me down :(

Questions Welcome!
by: Susan from PDFF

Hi Vykki,

Feel free to post your specific question in a new thread, using the submission form on this page. Try to provide as much detail as possible about the challenges you're having and I'll do my best to give you some workable solutions. I look forward to hearing from you!

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