There is a big difference between pole fitness and pole dancing. In Pole Fitness the tricks are performed mostly on the pole. Actually, a lot of tricks and spins and transitions, all done in sequence without stopping thus creating a higher intensity workout.
We will start with the facts. A good number of people still consider pole fitness to be unrespectable. Even as its image suffers, the trend continues to grow in popularity all over the world. Those who understand the sport know that it can be beneficial on many levels. The fact that it has a colorful history only adds to its thrill. Each year, hundreds of people, both women, and men compete in the Pole World Cup tournament for a huge prize. It will not be long before the sport is included in the Olympics. Even as its influence grows, most people still confuse this technique with pole dancing. This article is meant to guide readers through the essentials of the sport, defining its history and its benefits.
What is Pole Fitness and What Is Its History?
Defined in the simplest of terms, pole fitness is a sport that combines elements of gymnastics, acrobatics, body-building, and pole dancing.
The history of incorporating the pole into dance and fitness can be traced back to the twelfth century. Over the years, different cultures have used the pole to accomplish various goals. Indian cultures feature a sport called Mallakhamb, a word that roughly translates to ‘pole gymnastics.’ This game involved the use of a vertical pole, or sometimes a rope, and players would perform different poses on the wooden post.
Taken from the IPDFA – International Pole Dance Fitness Association. Chinese pole is usually what comes to mind when thinking about the history of pole fitness and you would not be wrong. The history of ‘Chinese Pole’ dates back prior to the 12th century when circus professionals of the era would use a pole, approximately 3-9 meters in height, laced with a rubber material and wear full body costumes. These poles were laced with rubber despite the fact that this material resulted in very painful friction burns. In Chinese and Indian cultures, pole fitness was considered to be a male activity. The sport can also be traced back to ancient Greek and Roman traditions where young girls would dance around poles as a form of ritualistic celebration. Even African cultures had some form of the performance where women would dance around a wooden post as a symbol of fertility.
To sum it all up, pole fitness has roots in various cultures. It is not a new sport, a fact that contributes to its popularity around the world. The western form of pole fitness, a trend that is mostly associated with exotic dancing, can be traced back to Sumerian traditions. Pole dancers would use the art form to tell a story, and even today, pole fitness remains to be a sort of interpretative work-out.
This sport, therefore, has a lot of influences and they all contribute just a little bit to its making. Pole fitness, in this sense, can be defined as a hybrid practice with roots that are both historical and worldwide.
Why Pole Fitness Is Becoming So Popular
The popularity of pole fitness has a lot to do with the fact that the trend relates to almost all the cultures of the world. When they take up this sport, however, most people do not bother to research its history. So just why is it so popular?
First, the stigma attached to both pole dancing and fitness is slowly fading as individuals become more and more progressive. Even so, one never knows what to expect when they sign up for a pole class. It is important to understand what the sport is about and the reason behind its mechanisms.
Pole fitness is about confidence. Its techniques teach the importance of accomplishment and the importance of elements like mischievousness and coyness. These, however, are beside the fact that pole fitness gives the body a full workout. The sport is becoming more popular because it is much more than a simple exercise. It is more than just another way to lose some weight. The exercise helps performers to be flexible, strong and focused as they train. More people are signing up for it because of these facts, and above all, because pole fitness is fun.
Those in training, and even those who perform professionally have to wear full sports gear during fitness sessions. Pole fitness is not meant to create the kind of appeal that exotic dancing creates, it is a genuine form of exercise, and as more people recognize this, they feel the need to try out this trend.
The Benefits of Using Pole Fitness
• It is a complete body workout
Flexibility, strength, endurance’all these factors are incorporated into pole training. It is possible to burn a considerable number of calories even in a 30-minute pole class, and because of this, most people prefer taking these classes to going to the gym.
• It builds confidence
The sport has deep roots in exotic dancing, and for it to have come up and out of the ‘morally questionable’ shadow says a lot. Those who train find that the aspects they learn effortlessly flood into their lives. The sport is all about becoming aware of one’s body, and once that happens, then a confidence boost is not far behind.
• It improves blood flow
After all, pole fitness is a form of aerobics, meaning that it is beneficial to the heart. This sport involves all the muscles in the body, making blood flow easier for the body.
• It helps with insomnia
The inability to sleep well or to sleep at all is a real problem that most people don’t know how to deal with. Rather than take medication for insomnia, some opt to try pole exercises which engage the body and act as a sleep aid. Whenever the body is subjected to strain, its temperature increases, and after this temperature drops back to normal, the individual will be able to fall asleep quicker.
• It is more than a sport
It transforms lives. People lose weight, improve their posture, and learn all about balance. This workout, no matter the strain it puts on a person’s body, will have them coming back for more.
6 Pole Exercises for Beginners
You won’t be able to get on the pole and start without a good physical fitness program to help you build muscles. Muscles are the key to completing any pole move. These are 6 workouts that will improve your core, breathing, and arm strength which are all keys to becoming comfortable on the pole.
These 6 exercises will give you a strong core group if you are a beginner. These will allow you to form the muscle groups to do pole routines properly.
1. The Superwoman
This is a great exercise to build core strength. Lie facedown with arms outstretched palms down and either out from the sides or overhead. Facing straight ahead lift your arms and legs off of the ground like a Superwoman in flight. This is like doing a crunch that exercises your back rather than your abdomen. Hold for as long as comfortable, relax and repeat a minimum of 10 reps to begin. Add reps as you are comfortable physically.
It seems as though this is the most used position in the world. I cannot think of any type of physical activity that does not include this as a primary exercise. Planking properly is a key to getting the most from this exercise. Setup for a push-up exercise resting on your forearms, palms down. Look forward and raise yourself off of the floor with your toes. The only part of your body that should be touching the floor are forearms, hands, and toes. Hold for as long as comfortable, relax and repeat a minimum of 10 reps to begin. Add reps as you are comfortable physically.
Like Planking, what exercise program in the world does not include crunches. Why, because they are the best exercise to build a strong core. Let’s try this variation on the basic crunch movements. Get on the floor on your back with your knees bent, flat feet on the floor and your hands at the side of your head. To do this properly you need to let your abdominal muscles do the work of pulling you up off of the floor. Doing this correctly a few times and letting the abs do all the work will benefit you more than 100 crunches where you back is the doing the work.
Hold for as long as comfortable, relax and repeat a minimum of 10 reps to begin. Add reps as you are comfortable physically. Try to build up to 10 sets of 10 reps for 100 of these in each workout period.
4. Jack Knife Situps
On the floor on your back again with arms stretched over and above your head. Contract your abs then raise your legs off of the floor as high as possible forming a V-Shape with your body. Let your arms and legs down without allowing them to touch the floor and repeat a minimum of 10 reps to begin. Add reps as you are comfortable physically. Try to build up to 10 sets of 10 reps for 100 of these in each workout period.
5. Elbow Crunches
This is a basic crunch exercise but instead of raising yourself up and reclining you want to touch your knees and elbows together and hold for 5 seconds. Recline and repeat quickly trying to not let your back touch the floor until you have repeated each set of reps. Start out with one set of 10 reps without touching the floor.Add reps as you are comfortable physically. Try to build up to 10 sets of 10 reps for 100 of these in each workout period.
6. Leg Swing
On your back with your arms resting at your side and your legs straight out off of the floor. Raise your legs and swing them as far as possible to the left and allow them to touch the floor, raise immediately and swing the legs as far as possible to the right and allow them to touch the floor. Start with 25 Lefts and 25 Rights if possible. Add reps as you are comfortable physically. Try to build up to 5 sets of 25L and 25 R reps of these in each workout period.
How to Choose a Pole Fitness Coach
It might look effortless when a performer is up on a pole spinning about. The techniques they use usually take time to master. Having a good coach makes all the difference, but how can someone know a professional coach from an impostor?
‥ To find the best coach, it is recommended that a trainee keep trying different classes until they find a teacher that best understands them.
‥ Good coaches can sometimes be unknown. Most of them offer private lessons and usually, flexible prices.
‥ Students should always make sure that their coaches are certified and experienced enough to handle any injuries that might occur in the class.
‥ The best coaches will build a relationship with their trainees, making them feel comfortable and confident about their bodies and abilities as pole students.
Until this sport came along, there had never been a workout routine that could get someone into shape while also encouraging their self-esteem. This sport is food for the body, and it is food for the mind.