Last month, X-Pole, the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of dance fitness poles, gave me the opportunity to try out pole dance fitness. The arranged session took place at Sultry Studios in Centurion, which is owned by Lindi Gyökösi, a Pole Fitness coach. The hour-long class was led by Sune Van Staden 2014 and assisted by Natalie Myburgh.
I took my 12 and 10-year-old daughters along since it was a weekend but I later was informed that they couldn’t sit in to watch because the session was going to get quite sensual.
The Fitness Pole Dance Session
We kicked off with warm-up moves that were not different from any basic warm up for any workout routine. And then the real cool stuff started after about 5 minutes of warm up.
The workout incorporated elements of dance, acrobatics, and gymnastics. The routines required a lot of coordination, which I am awful at but nevertheless tried and still failed miserably. I was grateful for Sune and the whole team’s patience with me.
I had before attending this class been of the idea that pole dance fitness was child’s play and could have sworn they had put me in an advanced class because of hard the moves were. It was mind blowing to learn that I was actually in a beginner class, doing beginner moves such as half turns, fireman climbs, front hook spins and knee bridges.
Apart from coordination, a lot of balancing was also involved and thank goodness I shined at that! (Well, I would like to think everyone else thought I did).
The benefits Of Pole Dance Fitness
It is believed that, by incorporating elements of dance, acrobatics, and gymnastics, pole fitness is one of the best ways to develop flexibility, coordination, and balance, stamina and muscle definition. By having to control body movements, spins, turns and pivots you increase your coordination and balance, and at the same time work your arms, shoulders, upper and lower back, core, abdominals, obliques, glutes, quads, calves, ankles, wrists and forearms – a complete body workout.
Pole dance fitness as it turns out, is now one of the fastest growing trends in the world of fitness.it has become quite a progressive sport with dedicated pole competitions taking place worldwide. And for the first time in South Africa, The Arnold Classic added pole dance as a sports category to their line-up last year, just as for the first time in history, pole fitness is being considered as a category for the Olympics!
Interesting facts about pole dance fitness
- Less is more. The less clothing the better as you use exposed skin and select parts of your body to grip the pole during tricks and tumbles. Less is actually safer!
- Pole dance fitness is not as sexy as you might think. Sweating, bruising (aka pole kisses), pole burn (think friction), hard skin and calloused hands are all part of the process and many pole dancers are proud of their pole wounds as they often signify improvement and progress.
- Pole fitness is for anyone! Women, men, children, young and old, big and small, dancing background or not – everyone can take part in different types of pole dance.
- There is a Guinness World Record for the “Longest Pole Dancing Marathon” which now sits at 30 hours.
- Pole dancers have their own vocabulary. There may be up to three or four different names per pole move the world over, there are specific types of poles, widths and finishes and then there’s talk about “tricks”, scores, routines, costumes, grip lotions and knee pads…
- The pole community is tight. Due to the negative perceptions of what pole dance is on a local, national and international level pole dancers are supportive of each other and protective of the sport.
- Pole dance is part of a greater aerial arts movement encompassing pole, hoops and aerial silks.
It’s not “just a pole”. Pole fitness has come a long way since its early beginnings when poles were a standard size and were static only. Today there are new moves and combo’s that require sturdier poles, engineers have had to become more innovative and pole manufacturers more safety conscious. For this reason, pole manufacturers must spend a lot of time studying their solution as well as its response when in use. Poles are being constantly tweaked to accommodate the ever changing demands placed upon it.
My verdict on pole dance fitness
If it wasn’t for the coordinated moves that pole fitness requires, I would easily have fallen in love with it. The only thing I didn’t like is how my neck terribly hurt for a few days after the class. My muscles were also sore but I had remedies for muscle soreness.
All in all, it was fun and it was hard and I would do it again if I ever had the chance.
I think the funniest part though was the conversation I had later that day with a ‘person’ I was just getting to know. He sent me a text after class was over to ask how it went. I exclaimed ‘It was hard but fantastic’. He then followed up with these words: ‘Are you a stripper? Please be honest because I really need to know’. I cut off all communication with this ‘person’ immediately and he has followed up texts and calls, which have gone unanswered by me. I’m sure you all would have done the same if you ever had to deal with such ignorance.