222 pounds and barely have any upper body strength

by sky sky
(Spartanburg, SC)

Hi I'm 18 years old and I'm 222 pounds. I don't have that much upper body strength and that's mostly where my problem areas are. Will the instructors be able to help me lift myself on a pole?

Susan from PDFF says...

Hi Sky, thanks for stopping by!

Generally speaking, upper body strength is something most women lack. That's why pole dancing is such a challenge...and such a muscle builder for us gals!

That said, weak upper body muscles (back, shoulders, chest and arms) combined with extra weight, can present an additional challenge when learning to pole dance. It's just simple physics that the more weight you have to lift, the more strength you're going to need.

For that reason, you may not be able to lift yourself up on a pole as quickly or as easily as someone who weighs less than you, or who has greater upper body strength.

And while an instructor can certainly help you get up on that pole, a good instructor who is truly concerned with your safety and developing fitness will spend the extra time to help you help yourself.

What I mean by that is that just helping you lift yourself off the ground and onto a pole isn't going to do much for your ability to lift yourself, nor will it help you develop the strength needed to be able to lift and hold yourself safely, without the need for someone else to assist you.

That's why most pole fitness classes incorporate strength building exercises and drills. These typically take place off the pole, or at least with both feet on the ground to start with. That's because in order to safely develop the strength needed to get airborne, you need to build strength safely. If you're simultaneously trying to get off the ground and build muscle strength, you're not likely to be able to do either well.

So my best advice is to invest some time in building your upper body strength, and to be patient with yourself as you do so. This will help you avoid injuries as well as help increase the rate at which you can progress with your pole dancing skills.

Whichever class you choose to enroll in, your instructor should be able to not only spot you safely while helping you learn moves appropriate to your fitness level, but she should also be able to help you increase your strength and overall fitness by giving you specific exercises.

You might also be happy to know that there's some really good news in the answer to your question...the less strength you currently have, the faster you're likely to see improvement (assuming you practice consistently of course).

That's because the greatest gains come early on. When you start with very little strength, it's relatively easy to double your strength in a matter of weeks. Compared with someone who is already very fit, the overall gains come much faster to those who are just starting their fitness journey. And that can be very motivating!

Sky, I wish you all the best in your pole dancing adventure, and I hope you'll be motivated to keep working on developing your upper body strength. Come back and let us know when you nail that first spin, OK?

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