5 Tips for Getting Stronger
There's a lot of things that make a great pole dancer, but one of them is undoubtedly strength. It's easy to look at your pole idols - or even your fellow students - and think "I'll never be as strong as them", but strength is not something you're born with, it's something you earn! Anyone can be strong, you've just gotta put the work in.
So since it's Strength-tember, this month's blog is all about getting STRONG. If you're struggling to get that first invert, or if one pole climb is enough to finish you off, or if you just want aerialist lats so strong that you can crush objects between them, this is for you!
We asked our instructors across our studios for their best tips for getting stronger, and here they are:
1. Don't cheat yourself
If your instructor gives you 5 pull up crunches for conditioning, don't stop at 4! Sure, nobody will ever know, but every crunch counts - taking things easy now will mean that certain moves are more difficult later! Plus - how are you going to get those killer abs/arms/legs/whatever it is you want if you don't work for them?
Alternatively, maybe you do those 5 crunches no problem, before everyone else has finished. Sounds like a great chance to do 5 more! Or maybe do them more slowly next time, really focusing on getting everything perfect.
That leads us to our next tip...
2. Quality over quantity
This was a common theme throughout our instructors' advice. There's 'doing a move' and there's doing a move.
If you can get yourself up the pole and upside down, then it may technically have been an invert, but were your legs straight? Did you throw yourself up the pole with momentum rather than using your muscles? These things matter, especially as you progress and ESPECIALLY if you perform!
So if you remember nothing else, remember to go SLOW and SQUEEZE! Notice which muscles are engaging and which ones aren't - was your butt engaged? Were your quads turned on? Our bodies are really good at finding shortcuts to minimise effort, sometimes without us even noticing.
3. Train off the pole
Pole is really good at conditioning specific muscles, and it truly is close to a whole-body workout a lot of the time. But the key word is close - there are still a lot of important muscles that don't get the attention they need if all your training is on the pole (looking at you, triceps!).
Our studios all have other classes that you can take that will help you to get a more complete workout. Have you tried floorplay? Word on the street is that it's basically sexy pilates!
Find out what's available at your studio and consider trying something different.
Alternatively - do things the old school way and work a few at-home workouts into your schedule. Is it your core that's holding you back? Do some crunches before your Crunchy Nut in the morning! Maybe your quads aren't as strong as you'd like. Time to do some SQUATS SQUATS SQUATS-SQUATS-SQUATS EVERYBOOODY! (so sorry if that song gets stuck in your head now)
The technical way of describing negatives is that they are a way of training the eccentric, muscle lengthening phase of a repetition (straight from Google of course). But what does that mean?
For a push-up, it means spending longer lowering into the push up. For a pull up, it means slowly lowering yourself from the top, really emphasising the downward part of the movement. An example on the pole - if you were looking to work on your straight leg invert, then you can invert to your chopper, then reverse the invert but with straight legs, lowering slowly and with control.
The advantage of doing negatives is that you train your body to hold the more difficult sections of an exercise for longer. Then when you do them normally, it should be that much easier.
Your muscles need time to repair if they're going to get stronger. If you never give them a break, not only will it slow down your progress, you're much more likely to get injured.
So take rest days whenever you need them, and make sure you actually REST! Think of it like this - that time spent chilling on the couch is actually making you stronger. Actually that is probably a dangerous mindset, so maybe don't think of it that way... Rest days can become rest weeks or months if you're not careful!
And that's it for our tips to getting stronger. Hopefully there's a few pearls of wisdom in there that you didn't know or hadn't thought of. As always, check in with your instructors if you need a bit more advice or a few extra exercises to train your strength - they are there to help!