I pole dance for fitness. I started last year in a casual class learning some basic tricks and began to work on getting upside down. I loved it. It made me feel strong and I could see my progress as my tricks began to get smoother and prettier. After Christmas and New years, that studio closed down, and I moved interstate and couldn’t afford to go to classes for a few months. After getting my money under control, I joined a new studio. The studio I go to is very fitness based – on their website, many of the pictures include the instructors wearing joggers. It’s not about being sexy for men, or being trashy. It’s about getting fit, feeling good about yourself and having a lot of fun.

I don’t like exercise that feels like work. With pole, your improvements are far more noticeable – finally getting that trick you’ve been stuck on, the first time you manage to get upside down, you can see yourself getting better in a more obvious way than lifting more on the weight machines, running for those few seconds longer on the treadmill. You use your whole body, your own weight builds your strength, and as an added bonus, there isn’t anything better fitness wise for preventing tuckshop lady arms, or bingo wings. I like the challenge it gives me for my whole body. Strength, flexibility, coordination, confidence and it’s just plain fun. Think of how much fun you had as a little kid playing on the monkey bars. It’s like that, but for grown ups.

Once you get your basic strength, a lot of pole is mental.

This week, I’ve been stuck on a trick. I went in to practice last night for half an hour or so, as long as I could manage before my hand started to feel like it was getting blisters. I felt like I made no progress with it. I can’t get the speed with it, I end up too close to the pole and I slide down too far, too fast. Pantera Blacksmith, a  famous pole dancer, came to my pole studio a few weeks ago and said to practice tricks on both arms, so you don’t end up with one very strong arm, or butt cheek, and one weak arm and one saggy butt cheek. This trick, I can do on my left. On my weaker arm. Not as perfectly or as fast as I’d like, but I can do it. But on my right, my strong side, as well as being the direction for the routine my class is doing, I’m sloppy and weak. It is so frustrating to hit a wall like this. I know I can do it. I can do it going the opposite direction. Which makes it all the more difficult to understand what I need to do to get it right. But I know I can do it. It will click and once I get it the first time, it will work every time after that.

I’ll be going back to practice again on Tuesday. Go over the routine a few times with the instructor, then keep working on that spin. Hopefully I manage to get past that mental block that is preventing me from being able to do the spin on the right. It’s not as though I can’t do it, my left is decent, I’m not lacking the strength or flexibility for it.

And when I get it, I’ll be overjoyed. Everything will fall into place and the mental block will be gone. I won’t be stuck on this trick anymore, and I can move on to the next challenge.


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