You’ve gone and done it. You’ve taken your first pole dancing class, and you looooooved it. Of course you did! Pole dancing is SUPER FANTASTIC FUN. You’ll learn cool stuff and meet cool new friends and push yourself physically and psychologically. Yeeehah!
Here are some tips on how you can increase your chance of progressing safely, steadily, and injury-free so you can enjoy your pole journey as much as possible.
1) Pay attention to what your body is telling you.
It may be saying “hey, I need to rest for a bit” or even “ummmm, we’re not ready for that move.” If you get shooting pains through your wrist and up your arm every time you do split grip work, then stop training in split grip until you are conditioned for it, or until you can do a technique check with your instructor, or both. On the flip side, if you work on a new move and your body is all like “yippee, that was fun!” then by all means, continue!
2) Understand that not everyone, including not everyone in the same level, will progress at the same rate.
Comparing yourself to your class neighbor or your online pole friend can be a one-way ticket to Frustrationville. Some dancers start off slowly and continue slowly, others start off slowly and then BOOM, it all clicks and they’re off to the races, and still others seem to get it all right away.
3) Don’t train to the point of losing your form and technique.
Stop before you fall apart, that’s the idea here. You won’t make progress if you’re too tired to properly engage the right muscles.
4) Ask questions. Make sure you understand what your instructor is telling you.
If he talks about engagement and you’re not quite sure what that means, ask.
If she says that your alignment is incorrect, ask what specifically is incorrect. Ask how to fix it, and ask what your body should be feeling when it is incorrect vs. correct. This last one is a biggie. Your instructor should be able to tell you how and what your body should be feeling when in a particular pose or move. It’s tough to get a move into your muscle memory when you don’t know what it feels like when it’s wrong vs. right.
5) Make sure you warm up and cool down every single time you pole.
Whether you’re training in a studio class or at home, take the time to do a proper warmup and cool down. If you could use extra cool down time after class, give yourself a minute to do some stretches in the parking lot or in your car before you head home.
6) Don’t rush through the basics in order to get to the tricks. The most common complaint I see from dancers by far, including those who have been poling for some time, is “I don’t feel fluid. My movement doesn’t flow. How do I get that???” The answer is basics. Transitions. Spins. Floorwork. Whether you do pole strictly for sport/fitness or you’re into the dance-y side of pole, you haven’t “nailed” a trick until you can get into and out of it gracefully and with body control. Let me repeat that: you have NOT nailed a trick until you can get into and out of it gracefully and with body control. So work on nailing it, really nailing it.