Written by Charlotte Campbell
Pole fitness has been steadily shaking off its seedy reputation and establishing itself as a popular and successful way to work out. Once consigned to gentleman’s clubs and glam rock music videos, high end pole studios have been springing up across the world, inviting men and women from all walks of life to experience the benefits of workin’ that chrome.
What Makes Pole Fitness A Good Workout?
One of the main benefits of pole fitness is that it improves all the main aspects recommended for overall fitness: strength, aerobic capacity and flexibility. Each of these qualities is interlinked and as you progress you’ll find yourself able to lift your body weight for longer, stretch further than ever before and control your breathing with finesse as you complete a high intensity routine.
Over the course of a class you’ll have worked your whole body, from your fingers wrapped round the pole, right down to your pointed toes. You’re likely to find yourself working muscles that rarely get attention in your regular routine, too.
There’s very little room for less than 100% effort, and this is another great benefit of pole fitness as a workout- when you’re upside down in mid-air and you need to crunch those abs to get right side up, you really crunch!
A clear sense of improvement is also a large part of pole fitness’ popularity. In the same way as reaching your deadlift or 10K PB gives you a huge sense of achievement, nailing a new lift or spin can make you so impressed with yourself and what your body can do.
Of course, one of the most obvious reasons for the increasing popularity of pole fitness is that it’s fun. While studios may be filled with everyone from students to senior CEOs nowadays, there’s still a hint of doing something naughty that keeps pole fans coming back class after class.
Will I look stupid though?
Pole fitness is designed around making you look good, and I don’t just mean as a long term benefit. Pole moves are designed to make you look your best as you are doing it – so you can catch yourself in the mirror and want to go back for a double take! Whatever your shape or size, the posture and poses can make everyone look (and feel) like hot stuff. You don’t have to be a fully-fledged sex siren to feel like you’ve done well at your first class.
Top 3 Pole Fitness Beginner’s Exercises
While you should always try new poses and spins with a trained instructor to spot you, here’s a few safe beginners exercises that will give you a taste of the workout pole fitness can provide. Make sure you do a full warm up beforehand (see our warm up for inspiration). If you’re using a chrome pole, you might find that using chalk on your hands makes it easier to get a good grip as you exercise.
#1 Oblique Blaster
Stand around a foot away from the pole with the pole to your side. Hook the leg closest to the pole around it, so your thigh is at roughly a right angle with your body and the pole is comfortably gripped in the back of your knee. Make sure that your hips are angled forwards and you aren’t sticking out your bum. Slowly lower your upper body in the opposite direction to the pole as far as you can go, and then slowly raise back up. To intensify, keep your arms stretched out above your head.
Recommended: 2 sets of 10 reps on each side.
#2 Pole Pull Ups
Stand next to the pole and hug the pole into your armpit, with your hand holding the pole at shoulder height. Your outside hand should reach over and grip above your inside hand. Hold on tight, pull in your inside arm to get extra grip, engage your core and lift your knees as high as they will go, then lower. For extra intensity, don’t touch the floor between reps. For MORE intensity, extend your legs once you’ve lifted your knees as high as they’ll go – aim to point your toes and keep your legs straight!
Recommended: 4 sets of 5 reps on each side.
#3 Pole Sit Ups
Lie on the floor with the pole between your thighs. Lift up your legs and bum and cross your legs tightly over the pole as you reach as high up as you can go – your legs should still be extended fully, with the crossover of your thighs creating grip on the pole. Holding on tightly with your legs, engage your core and lift your upper body until your upper body is fully upright. Then lower slowly back to the ground. TIP: You may find that pushing downwards with your toes helps you get the hang of this exercise, creating a “see-saw” effect.
Recommended: 15 reps.
If you enjoy the burn you’re feeling after this glimpse into pole fitness, get down to a pole studio near you!