An Introduction to Strength Training

October 25, 2012 at 9:45 pm

The thought of strength training makes many women want to run a mile in fear of developing bulky, manly muscles.

However, to improve on the pole, it is very important to include strength elements in every pole workout that you do. You’ll find that doing so will help you improve very quickly on the pole. Bonus!

The truth is, that to make serious improvements on the pole, you don’t need to be Pumping Iron!

In fact doing so will increase the likelihood of becoming more muscular. If it’s the body builder look you want – then go for it!

Instead, most of us want to develop the toned, slender, sexy look that is synonymous with Pole Dancing.

To achieve this, body weight exercises (on and off the pole) and light resistance exercises will produce great results.. while making you stronger in your pole moves.

Why Is Strength Training Important?

Strength training for pole dancing is very important. When most people start, they think that they aren’t strong enough to pole dance and find it a struggle.

For the first few sessions it is likely that you’ll go home with (or wake up to) very sore arms. As you continue in your lessons and workouts, your strength will naturally develop and increase.

In the beginning this effect of getting stronger by simply practicing the pole moves, is the reason why specific strength training is overlooked.

But… at some point we all reach a plateau. When our strength (or lack of) becomes the limiting factor to achieving more advanced pole moves. Getting “stronger by doing” is no longer enough at this point.

As soon as you move onto harder, more advanced moves, you will soon wish that you had done more strength training earlier on.

When you work on holds such as the Ayesha or moves like The Flag or any Deadlift, you may find it a struggle. It can feel like you are starting to learn to pole dance all over again. You will feel like you are not strong enough and may worry that you will not be able to get these moves – you have to re-train your muscles.

Starting your strength training early on in your pole dancing workouts will help you to improve in all areas of your pole dancing – and you will be especially happy that you did, when you are working on more advanced moves.

How Often Should I Do Strength Training?

Rule 1: Pole Comes First

While it is important to make sure you do your strength training, it should not take anything away from your actual pole dancing.

Rule 2: Little & Often

It is important that you still keep the element of fun and enjoyment when you pole dance. For this reason you only need to spend a short amount of time every workout on strength training. For example if you are working out for an hour, you should spend about 10 minutes training. While this does not seem like a lot, imagine doing press-ups or sit-ups for 10 minutes. Ouch!

Rule 3: Remember to Rest!

It is important that you do not over train your body. While it can be tempting to train every day you must give yourself at least one day off a week to recover. Giving yourself a rest allows your body to fully repair and recover from the previous training and workouts that you have done.

It’s during this rest time that your body heals and gets stronger!

Rule 4: Be Creative

If you do not have a lot of time to work out, work your strength training in with your attempts at pole moves.

For example if you are trying to master an Air Walk, you can train accordingly for this, while trying to practise the move. Place your hands on the pole as you would, if you had climbed up the pole. Practise taking your legs off the ground, lifting them to the side, holding it for 5 secs and then putting them on the ground again. Repeat 3 times. Change your arms around and repeat again. The whole of this exercise may only take 1 minute but if you were to train like this for every move, you will find that you will quickly improve and feel stronger.

What Exercises Shall I Do?

The Strength Basics:

Here are some exercises for you to try as a start to your new strength regime. As a rule of thumb try 3 sets of 15-20 reps for each exercise. Some YouTube searching will help you with technique!

Arms: Bicep Curls, Tricep Dips, Chin-Ups

Chest: Press-Ups (Wide & Narrow)

Back: Rows, Lateral Pull Down

Shoulders: Shoulder Press, Lateral Raise

Core: Sit-Ups (Many Variations), Plank, Side Plank

Legs: Squats, Lunges, Step-Ups

Functional Pole Strength:

These exercises relate to the moves that you want to do. These aren’t necessarily moves that you want to do now -they can be moves that you want to master in the future – such as a deadlift. For a Deadlift you can twist your strong hand and place it high on the pole. Place your weaker hand lower on the pole. Take your legs out the side, and stand on your tip toes. From here practise lifting your feet off the ground and holding for 5 secs. Repeat 3 times and then repeat on the other side. This is a great way to prepare for when you eventually are ready to try a Deadlift.

This technique can be applied to many moves. If you look at a move you want to do, figure out the first step, whether this is lifting your feet off the ground or holding yourself up by your legs. Whatever the first move is, practise holding your body up in this way and make sure you can confidently do this on each side. You can strengthen your whole body this way as you are often working more than one muscle group at a time. This is also brilliant for those moments of frustration when you don’ t want to try that particular move again – simply work on some strength training.

What Are Your Favourite Pole Strength Workouts?

Let me know your thoughts! :)