From our first spin around the pole to our first jade split (well, that may only be an option for some of us), pole dancing is very much about building a good foundation and setting pole goals.
Pole dancing is so dynamic. It is a mix of fluidity, flexibility and strength. Your initial pole goal may simply be to dance an entire song of twirling transitions and spins without getting out of breath. Your ultimate goal may be to look anything like Natasha Wang or Alethea Austin when they perform (see our previous post about pro competitors vs. pole fitness for fun). Although we may have hopes of pulling off tricks like the pros, we need to take it one step at a time.
Here is a sampling of pole goals:
Splits. The splits require flexibility in your hips and lower back. You can get there with yoga, or you may want to consider a pole dancing DVD from one of the pros so that you can practice at home.
Climbing. This is a staple that must be mastered before moving on to many advanced moves. Depending upon your method of climbing, it can require your entire body to be strong: legs, arms and core. To save energy, you should think of climbing more like "leveraging up" rather than actually climbing. And don't forget: No monkey feet!! You may want to consider various pole dancing grip aids in the beginning, but you don't want to rely on them forever. Start slowly to build strength.
Handstands. The handstand seems simple but there are so many variations, some requiring flexibility and some that allow you to "fake it." Handstands are great for building a strong upper body and a strong core will help with getting into and out of your handstands smoothly.
Inversions. Inverting requires more core strength than anything else. Yes, your arms need to be strong to hold you initially, and your legs need to be strong for holds later, but it is important to have a strong core to lift yourself into the inversion (you should never have to throw yourself into it). Pilates is a great way to strengthen your core.
Cross-Ankle Release. After you have mastered the climb, the next step may be cross-ankle release. This requires a lot of core strength and a good grip with your thighs. You will want to start with a spotter, as you will be letting go with your hands to lean backwards toward the ground.
Iquana Mount/Walk. The Iquana Walk is a Jenyne Butterfly staple. It requires a lot of flexibility in your shoulders and ridiculous core strength. This is an advanced move and should not be attempted alone at first.
That is just a short list of goals some of us at The Pole Dancing Shop have discussed around the office. What are your pole goals and how are you going about reaching them?