Written by Jaci Tiption
Injuries are part of life for every athlete, and pole dancers are certainly no exception. We expect a lot from our bodies; pole requires an intense combination of strength, flexibility, and stamina. Sometimes we push too hard, and sometimes our bodies simply break down on us. Training during an injury can be tricky- you don’t want to overdo it and make things worse, but you also don’t want your fitness to backslide and lose all those precious pole moves you worked so hard to master. This article explores some of the dos and don’ts of training while dealing with injuries.
DO seek professional medical help. Sometimes the hardest part of recovery is actually admitting that we’re more than just sore. If something has been bothering you for a while and ice and rest aren’t cutting it, don’t ignore the pain. Pushing through pain can turn a short-term injury into a life long problem. Seeing a doctor allows you to get an accurate diagnosis, and puts you on the road to recovery much more quickly than going it alone. In the same vein, make sure you actually follow the doctor’s advice. Take the appropriate amount of rest, even if you don’t want to. Do all prescribed rehab exercises, even if they seem boring. Seeing a doctor doesn’t do any good if you don’t do as they recommend.
DO let your instructors know you are injured. If you are able (and medically cleared) to continue poling while injured, let your instructors know about the extent of your injury. They can then help you find modifications or alternatives to problematic moves. Further, if a specific move causes your injury to flare up, let them know so that they can assist you in finding something else to work on.
DO train what you can. Don’t let an injury become an excuse. Injuries are inherently demoralizing; it’s easy to fall into a pattern of sitting on your couch and feeling sorry for yourself because you can’t do everything you want. If you are unable to pole, try to work on your cardio conditioning or flexibility. If physical activity is out entirely, take some time to analyze your diet and see if any changes need to be made in that area. Keeping your body as conditioned as possible will make for an easier transition back to poling once you are healed.
DON’T assume an injury will get better on its own. We often think that an extra day or two of rest, some ice, and over the counter medication will fix everything. No matter how many home remedies you try, some injuries will never heal without proper medical intervention, and could get worse. Feel free to try home remedies first; rest, ice, massages, stretching, and cryotherapy are all great ways to deal with run of the mill soreness/stiffness/aches/pains. However, if you continue to feel pain after trying other options, don’t hesitate to see a doctor.
DON’T allow muscle imbalances to persist. There are seven words every pole student dreads: Now try it on your bad side. Training your unnatural side isn’t easy or fun, but it is useful. Training only one side can lead to overuse injuries on your good side or injuries in your weak side because of the muscle imbalance. Keeping both sides trained will not only give you more options when putting combinations together, but also help you stay injury free in the future.
DON’T return to full activity too quickly. Being away from pole is hard. Naturally, as soon as you start to feel better you want to jump back in right where you left off. When you are ready to return to poling, return cautiously and deliberately. Test some basics to make sure you are pain-free. If you typically pole three days per week, start with one or two and work your way back up. If you notice your injury flaring up, it may not be time to return just yet. Depending on how long you were away, you may have lost some strength or endurance. Try not to get frustrated if you don’t pick up exactly where you were when your injury caused you to step back.
Every injury is different, but odds are that most polers will deal with some form of injury at some point in their practice. Hopefully by following these tips, you can return to pole dancing as quickly and safely as possible!
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