When you think of pole dancing, I bet you picture seedy clubs, raining dollar bills and towering heels. But, this is about to change. Pole dancing has become one of the hottest fitness trends, encouraging women to strut, spin, and yes, be sexy, all while getting a full-body workout. So when I was given the opportunity to try a pole fitness class at Sydney’s Pole Dance Academy, I jumped at the chance.
Let’s get down to business
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous come pole day. After all, looking sexy and working out don’t usually go hand-in-hand. Nevertheless, I put my fears of looking awkward aside and gave it my best shot.
Co-founders, and sister duo, Michelle Shimmy and Maddie Sparkle, led the introductory class. Following a dynamic warm-up, the pair guided us through a serious of simple moves, like walking around the pole. Then, we progressed onto lifts and (somewhat graceful) spins before trying some fun choreography (to Beyoncé, of course) and floor work.
The class was relatively slow-paced, allowing time to focus on breaking down each move. There were also options to make each move harder or easier depending on your ability level. Let’s just say I stuck to the easier options.
So, what are the benefits?
Even though we were only working on foundational moves, I was genuinely surprised by the amount of strength required in the upper body, core, and legs. I’m relatively fit and stick to a regular exercise routine, but I definitely felt the burn for a few days! Apparently, that’s completely normal. Pole is an intense, full-body workout that draws similarities to gymnastics, aerial dance, acrobatics, and yoga. So, be prepared to sweat.
In addition to building strength, some other major benefits of pole dancing that came to light included; improved balance, coordination, flexibility and, most importantly, self-confidence.
Obviously, there are physical benefits [of pole fitness] – you become more toned, strong and flexible! But for me, the biggest health benefit is the increase in body confidence and self-esteem. I suffered from a body insecurities and poor eating/dieting habits. When I discovered pole, I began to see my body in a new light. Rather than seeing it as a battleground, I began to see it as an extraordinary machine, capable of so many amazing things. – Michelle Shimmy, co-founder of Pole Dance Academy.
A pole dancing class isn’t for the faint-hearted, so if booty-pops leave you feeling more self-conscious than empowered, this may not be the workout you. But, if you’re looking to spice up your routine (and, ahem, your bedroom activities), then why not give pole a spin? Just go in with an open mind and positive attitude to ensure you have fun. And don’t worry; towering heels are optional.