Ten Things You Weren’t To Know About Pole Fitness

Getting fit and healthy is said to be one of the top New Year’s resolutions for 2016, however many a resolution fails due to attempting the same methods as before. Within the pole fitness industry its generally accepted that once you get yourself into a pole class it’s a pretty difficult “habit” to break! The rapid results seen by following a pole fitness regime has many coming back for more time and time again. Pole fitness is a total body, cardio and strength training workout - it’s an incredibly fun yet serious way to workout. Incorporating elements of dance, acrobatics and gymnastics, pole fitness is one of the best ways to develop flexibility, coordination, balance, stamina and muscle definition… fast.

Emma Rose, Regional Director of X-Pole South Africa says; “There’s a lot more to pole dance than meets the eye. Of course there are preconceived notions of what pole dance is but there’s a whole new world of pole fitness out there that is worlds away from seedy nightclubs and stripper heels. It is part of an aerial movement that is taking off across the globe and whilst most pole dancers/athletes – manage to make it look so easy, I assure it’s not!”

If you’ve never tried pole dance before here are ten surprising things you may find interesting:

1. Advanced pole dancers are athletes. They are some of the fittest people you will ever meet and they have to be in order to execute spins, flips, tumbles and climbs that high above the ground.

2. Less is More. The less clothing the better as you use exposed skin and select parts of your body to grip the pole during tricks and tumbles. Less is actually safer!

3. Pole fitness is not as sexy as you might think. Sweating, bruising (aka pole kisses), pole burn (think friction), hard skin and calloused hands are all part of the process and many pole dancers are proud of their pole wounds as they often signify improvement and progress.

4. Pole fitness is for anyone! Women, men, children, young and old, big and small, dancing background or not - everyone can take part in different types of pole dance.

5. Pole fitness has become quite a progressive sport with dedicated pole competitions and National Pole Championships taking place worldwide, training guides and sporting codes being written for the industry, lobbyists fighting for it to be included in the Olympics as a sport category and events such as The Arnold Classic Africa (for the first time in South Africa in May 2016) adding it as a sport category to their line-up. In fact, there is a Guinness World Record for the “Longest Pole Dancing Marathon” which now sits at 30 hours.

6. Pole dancers have their own vocabulary. There may be up to three or four different names per pole move the world over, there are specific types of poles, widths and finishes and then there’s talk about “tricks”, scores, routines, costumes, grip lotions and knee pads…

7. The pole community is tight. Due to the negative perceptions of what pole dance is on a local, national and international level pole dancers are supportive of each other and protective of the sport. You will make best friends for life in your pole class as your pole fitness achievements are celebrated together.

8. Pole dance is part of a greater aerial arts movement encompassing pole, hoops and aerial silks. Contortion, yoga and acro are great additions to a pole fitness workout as they prepare the body for some of the more flexible advanced tricks.

9. It’s not “just a pole”. Pole fitness has come a long way since it’s early beginnings when poles were a standard size and were static only. Today there are new moves and combo’s that require sturdier poles, engineers have had to become more innovative and pole manufacturers more safety conscious. For this reason, pole manufacturers must spend a lot of time studying their solution as well as its response when in use. Poles are being constantly tweaked to accommodate the ever changing demands placed upon it.

For instance, a pole dancer can choose from a range of pole widths to suit different sized hands, but the most common is 45mm. All competition poles are dual lined spinning poles. Portable poles and stages are available that make mobile poling possible. A silicone pole provides better grip so these are generally used more for corporate and conservative events where pole dancers are asked to wear more. Brass poles are preferred in warmer regions where sweat and humidity affect the surface grip and in colder regions chrome, powder coated or stainless options are available.

South Africa’s preferred pole finish seems to be powder coated poles as at one stage this is all you would find in the country, however, chrome pole finishes have now become quite popular.

10. It’s an obsession. Become a pole dancer and in no time at all you won’t be able to keep your eyes off Instagram for all the pole video inspiration and new moves “you have to try”, and you won’t have any closet space left for the numerous pairs of shorts and sport tops you will no doubt invest in.

Rose adds; “…to give an indication of the rise in popularity of pole dance and aerial arts: from 2012 to 2014, X-Pole experienced a year-on-year increase of 71.3% in the number of studios, schools and re-sellers of aerial equipment in the UK and Europe.

Besides National Pole Championships that take place throughout the world annually, there is an organization called the International Pole Sports Federation that hosts the World Pole Sports Championships in London each year, at which individuals and national sports teams from 30 countries compete in categories such as: Men, Women, Doubles, Masters (40+ and 50+) and Youth (10-14 and 15-17). This just goes to show how the industry is growing and mindsets are shifting… watch this space!"

China’s national pole dancing team perform in -50°C conditions via Shanghaiist.com

Pole dancers doing their thing underwater via Cosmopolitan


X-Pole ambassador, Michelle Shimmy, dares to pole dance with a cheetah.


X-Pole South Africa ambassador, Tarryn Knight, feeds her soul with pole dance.Images courtesy of X-Pole South Africa.

To find a pole dance studio near you or to invest in a pole of your own, visit www.x-pole.co.za.

Follow along on Facebook /XPole South Africa, Twitter @XPoleSA and Instagram @xpolesa for more inspiration.


Date added: 02/24/2016