Training for Pole:

Here is where I post some of my favorite strength and flexibility exercises for students who are looking to refine their quality of movement for pole dancing.  pole dancing.

This month’s focus is on hip flexor flexibility….
Stretching out your hip flexors is crucial to keeping your body happy when you are a pole dancer.   Pole fit dancers use there hip flexors in climbing, inverting and pretty much everything else we do in pole fitness.  If you don’t stretch these muscles they will become tight and limit your extension in a true split. Here are some stretches that you can do to keep your hip flexors happy and bendy.

A basic hip flexor stretch.
I say keep the back foot pointed.

This stretch has done more for my splits training than any other,but I try to keep the knee up against the wall too (use a pillow).

Tips for increasing shoulder flexibility.

Bridges from the floor are a great way to increase your shoulder flexibility.
Ultimately you want to get you shoulder in line with  your chest when you are in bridge-like this …

although for most of us starting out, it usually looks more like this…

with the shoulder more in front of the chest.

The fact that the model in the first picture has her legs straight also affects the flexibility training of other areas of her back, thus form is important regarding what area of your back you are looking to get bendier.  When you’re focusing on training specific areas of your back know what stretches will target the area you are working on and also be sure to warm up thoroughly, go slowly, and stay in good form while stretching to avoid injury.  It is common practice to do lower body stretching first (splits and such), before back stretching, not a bad idea since your hip flexibility plays a big role in the lines of your back in back extensions.  For more advanced practices a bridge is considered a part of the warmup, but for many of us just starting out it is the advanced part of our practice in back flexibility training. Finally, just go slow and be patient, there is no quick way to increasing flexibility, it’s all about consistency in your practice.  Please check out archives from previous newsletters for more beginning level back stretches and warmup poses.

Splits training

Everyone wants a flat split in pole, doesn’t matter if you want a flat back/front split or a flat middle split, the bottom line is that you have to work at it.  Flexibility training requires consistent training, patience and an optimistic attitude, saying things to yourself like, “I’ll never be able to do that”, ensures that you never will.   Progress comes in little increments, as it should, anything else would be an injured body…think about it, you’re are asking a giant piece of meat to stretch itself, imagine what would happen to it if you pushed too hard.Of course some people have more natural flexibility than others, even so, you can be the best YOU can be and you can become more flexible.

Lets start with my warm up routine

light stretching of hamstrings, glutes, quads, calves, IT band, hips, back, abs, side, straddle, neck, back, forearms, wrists, shoulders, spine (not necessarily in that order).  This is a relaxing time to connect to my body and my breathing.  I hold these stretches for about 20 secs each and I don’t push.

Next, I warm up the core with crunches, reverse crunches.

Followed by a little cardio jumping rope and battements (front, side, back and round house-inside and outside, about 10ea) not allowing my kicking leg to touch the ground this further warms the core.

Altogether my flexibility warm up takes 20-30mins, but it’s worth it because then my deep stretching isn’t so painstaking.

After warming up I do deeper hamstring and hip flexor stretching, followed by …

splits and over splits.
Middle splits and over splits.  And finally….

Back flexibility training.

I hold the deeper stretches about 2 mins, but I worked up to that for a long time I only did 30 secs to a minute.

I will be adding more detail to this post in the next few days so check back soon.

Shoulder health
Every pole dancer needs take into consideration how much work their shoulders do when it comes to the art of pole. There are so many little muscles in and around the shoulder that we don’t even think about! It’s crucial that you warm up and adopt a conditioning program to keep your shoulders healthy-it’s not hard work and all you need is a elastic band. You can buy these from target (amoung other places). Below you will find some links (click on the pictures) to some great conditioning exercises for the shoulder using resistance bands. I recommend doing these exercises as part of your pole warm up.

Upper Body Strength Training

Forever on the hunt for great conditioning excercises to help you attain your pole goals…this month and archives

Upper Body Strength Training

Handstands against the wall are great for building core and upper body strenght which you can transfer to the pole.

Unlike the seen the video, you want to work towards keeping your hands shoulder width apart, this may be challenging to a beginner, but its something to keep in mind and work towards.  If you find that it’s difficult in the beginning the keep the fingers pointed toward the wall try rotating your hands slightly outward.  Eventually you want to try to balance with out the wall (if even for a few moments).  Even if you can only hold your handstand with out the wall for a short amount of time keep trying and you will see improvement with consistency.

Grip conditioning:

I drive a manual steering pickup which means there is NO power steering.  This has been a great grip training method for me being that I live in San Francisco and have to parallel park often. …well it’s one method.

Pushups:  Tired of the same old pushups?…check out these variations

Pullups: Here’s a few links to a great videos for assisted Pull ups for beginners.  Pullups are by far one of the best ways to gain upper body strength for pole, but make sure you warm up first!

Awesome series of upper body exercises using free weights, tubing etc. “Upper Body Bootcamp Workout”
Pushup and Row
1. Start by placing the dumbells onto the ground and getting into a pushup position holding onto the dumbells.
2. Proceed into a pushup and then extend your arms into a completed pushup.
3. Then row one dumbell up to chest level and return to the ground. Repeat with the other arm. This is considered one repetition.
4. Repeat this cycle until all repetitions are completed.
5. Make sure you keep your abs tight and back flat throughout this movement.
…Also here are some basic exercises using the pole, courtesy of emotioncatcher on youtube

Flexibility Training

Move of the month: Backbends and wall stretches to get you there


Again…it just takes consistency and a little understanding of how to achieve the most out of your flexibility training.Some safety tips on stretching:  An effective stretch, actually engages the muscle during the stretch. Never hold a stretch longer than 60 seconds, and preferably less–20 to 30 seconds. And of course, the muscle should be plenty warm before asking it to stretch.
How+to+Do+Wall+Stretches — powered by LIVESTRONG.COM

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