Making healthy choices is the trend these days with people opting for blenders, juices, and fresh produce over fast foods, processed foods, and synthetic ingredients. With this shift in perspective over nutrition, people are also seeking alternative means for exercise, attending boot camps, doing home workouts, and even planning “hike” vacations to majestic sites. The one-dimensional approach to exercise as being done in a gym or on a machine has now evolved to include much, much more. Enter: pole fitness.
Upon first glance, it’s a turnoff. Only strippers do that, right? Those girls MUST be desperate for attention to take that up as a hobby. Why are they so scantily clad? Pole dancing doesn’t require any real strength or coordination.
I didn’t think much of it at first either. I stepped into my first pole fitness class, bought through Groupon, and figured I’d just stick it out for my three sessions as a fun experiment, and then I’d probably never return. I didn’t expect the pole fitness bug to bite me in those few sessions, but it did.
What sets pole apart from other sports is that in addition to being a form of dance and rhythm, it’s also a measure in grace, strength, and flexibility. Victories at Crossfit usually manifest in the ability to lift heavy objects or run long distances. Victories at pole manifest in graceful visual expression, so graceful and delicate that we pole dancers often fool people into thinking the tricks we do are easy. Indeed, they require lots of training, preparation, awareness, and talent. You’ve got to point your toes, keep your shoulder’s down, sit firmly onto your wrists, and hoist yourself up the pole in order to be able to spin around and slide down. Pole dancers wear short shorts because skin to chrome contact is all that holds us up. We wear bruises as evidence of how hard we’ve been working in the studio. We carry the mental and physical scars of the many failures we dealt with before finally succeeding at inverting or climbing. It’s been nine months since my first pole fitness class, and I am stronger now than I ever thought I could be.
Erase from your mind the hard-wired marriage between pole dance and the sex industry. This is no longer an inherent coupling. Instead, I invite you to commend the pole fitness experts you see as professional athletes just like golfers, gymnasts, and curlers. If you’re feeling brave enough, you may even give it a try. Just keep your shoulders down, and remember to look up.