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Mythbusting! There's no such thing as a "bad side"

5 minutes
25 February 2022

Ah, the "bad side" - that weird and awkward half of your body that just doesn't seem to want to co-operate. Who needs it right? It's much easier to ignore it and keep training your favourite side instead 🤔

Except that only training your "good side" can lead you to over-use injuries and make certain combos near impossible, not to mention the suspiciously muscular arm just on one side if you catch our drift......

It's about time we bust that myth that we have a "bad side" and start training smarter!

Why is one side so much easier to train than the other?

For most of us, we discover our "bad side" fairly early on in our pole journey. We tend to prefer our dominant writing arm because that's the side that we've been practising coordination on for most of our lives through writing, using our phones, brushing our teeth etc. etc.

When we start pole we often start practising everything with our writing hand. Switching over to the other side feels weird, it's less coordinated and everything feels a bit off. As a general rule, most of us don't like feeling gammy so our other side can get neglected in favour of faster progress on our "good" side.

But not being the strongest or most coordinated side doesn't make it bad! It just means it has more potential for improvement 😉

What are the benefits of training both sides?

The biggest benefit of training both sides is injury prevention - training both sides equally helps to minimize overuse injuries, which are fairly common in the world of pole. If we only train one side, those muscles will fatigue faster and then all it takes is some sloppy technique from muscle exhaustion to tweak something the wrong way. Eeek!

By training everything on both sides throughout the class we're sharing the load more evenly across our body which means we're far less likely to hurt ourselves and can keep training hard 💪 Bonus - you'll also find yourself less tired in class because you're giving your muscles a quick rest when you switch sides 🙌

Training both sides equally will also help to reduce muscle imbalances, which is an important part of avoiding injuries. A balanced body is a happy body!

Another perk to training both sides is it helps with training combos! Oh yes, as you start reaching level 2+ you'll be doing combos that start on one side and move to the other. If you don't have a bad side then these combos will be a piece of cake 🍰 Buuuuut if you don't try to learn everything on both sides you might just get stuck on a move mid-combo!

Pole dancing meme only one side large

Let's flip the perspective!

Calling our sides "good" and "bad" is a mistake that pretty much every pole dancer makes. The trouble is that we're setting an expectation that we'll be bad at something on that side just because we've already labelled it a "bad side". Words have power!

So how about a name change? Some of our favourites are:

- Our dominant side and our "contemporary" side

- Our good side and our better side

- Our favourite side and our challenging side

- Aaaannnd for our gamers "easy mode" and "hard mode" 👾

Whatever you decide to call your other side, try to think of a positive word to associate it with and you might find a little more motivation to give it some love.

Learn to love your other side

It may never be as strong or coordinated as your dominant side, but your other side can challenge you in some really fun and exciting ways.

Have a go putting on some music and dancing using mostly your other side and see how your movement patterns change.

Using your other side is a great opportunity to explore new styles of movement. Your other side might feel a bit strange and awkward, but you can totally use that to your advantage! Challenge yourself to move differently on your other side and you might just love the results 💃

The secret to mastering both sides

In class, it can be too easy to be so caught up in the excitement of learning a new move that you simply forget to try it on both sides! That is until your instructor says the dreaded sentence "one more go on the other side".

Then you get time to attempt it once before you move on to the next trick. It's easy to be put off by the other side if you only get to try something once and then move on...practice makes perfect after all!

The secret is to attempt everything on your other side first. I know, it sounds crazy, but attempting something on your other side first means you're more likely to give it a really good try before swapping back to your dominant side.

Ideally, you'll attempt things an equal amount on both sides - even if you just stick with drills and regressions on your other side for a while. Learning to love your other side means accepting that sometimes you need to take a few steps back and that's ok! Build that strength, coordination and trust from the ground up if you have to 🌱

It's never too late to start using your other side

That's right, whether you're new to pole dancing or a seasoned veteran it doesn't matter! It's never too late to embrace your other side.

Start by finding out roughly which level you're at on each side and work on closing any gaps between the levels.  You may find it helpful to drop back a level to train exclusively on your other side here and there to give it a solid boost.

Another thing you can do is add a bonus rep on your other side when you do your drills and conditioning in class. It's amazing what a difference this can make!  You might be surprised by how much you can actually do on both sides when you try 💪 Some moves may even be easier on your non-dominant side 🤯

One more piece of advice...

Be kind to yourself and to your other side - over time it'll get easier and easier! You may even find that giving your other side some love in pole classes can have some added benefits in your day to day life - having two strong arms is better than one!

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