She said it was one of the hardest things she's ever learned.

By Faith Brar
September 06, 2019
Jeff Kravitz/Contributor/Getty Images

Raise your hand if you've been counting down the days until the new movie Hustlers hits the big screen. Same.

Based on a true story, the highly anticipated film is about a group of New York strippers who con dozens of wealthy men during the late-2000s financial crisis. Your girl Jennifer Lopez stars as Ramona Vega, an experienced stripper who teaches newcomer Destiny (played by Constance Wu) all the ropes when it comes to pole dancing and turning the tables on their Wall Street clients.

But to make her role as a high-end stripper convincing, J. Lo had to take a crash crash course with pole choreographer Johanna Sapakie. Going in, the actress and singer had almost no experience on the pole and didn't quite know what to expect.

In a new behind-the-scenes YouTube video, L0pez shared that learning pole dancing "might be one of the hardest" things she's ever done for a movie.

To prep for her training, J. Lo had a pole installed in her living room. The pole itself was what Sapakie dubbed a "beginner" pole with a matte coating, making it perfect for first-timers who need to work on their grip strength, Sapakie explained in Lopez's video.

Even then, J. Lo visibly struggled to hold on to the pole while sliding her body around it at the same time. Throughout the video, you can see the 50-year-old performer wincing in discomfort and flexing her entire body while trying to make the moves look as seamless and sexy as possible.

Eventually, Lopez built up her endurance and stayed on the pole for up to three minutes—a feat that impressed Sapakie, the instructor admitted in J. Lo's video. And by the end of her training, J. Lo not only graduated to a signature metal pole, but she also learned to flip herself upside down into a split like a total pro (in bazillion inch-high platform heels, no less).

But J. Lo was quick to remind viewers that while her movements might look effortless now, pole dancing is no easy feat. "It's rough on your body," she said in the video. "It's really acrobatic. I've gotten cuts and bruises and stuff from movies, but I've never been bruised like this from anything I've done." (Related: Jennifer Lopez's Best Fitness Moments That Will Inspire You to Attack Your Goals)

It's no wonder that pole dancing is considered a great workout: "Pole dancing accomplishes so many things at once," Amy Main, pole dancing expert and self-proclaimed fitness fanatic previously told Shape. "Not only is it an incredible core and upper-body strength builder, but it is also sexually liberating, emotionally cathartic, a form of expression, and an exploration of self. It's the most transformative type of fitness I've ever experienced. And I've never been so in love with my body and curves!"

Some experts believe pole dancing combines four workouts into one. "[Pole dancing] effectively combines strength training, endurance, and flexibility training into one fun activity," instructor Tracy Traskos, of NY Pole, previously shared with us. "It's yoga, Pilates, TRX, and Physique 57 all wrapped into one. And in high heels!" (Here are 8 more reasons you need to make pole dancing a part of your fitness routine.)

J Lo. felt that pole dancing was more than just a great muscle-torcher; it was a way for her to test her limits and discover what her body can do. "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone," she wrote on Instagram. "This was definitely one of the hardest things I've ever done physically. But it was all worth it in the end."

Watch her master the pole in the video below:


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