Why this new workout craze is more sporty than sexy
I’m always up for trying something new, especially when it comes to my workouts. So when a Groupon for Pole Fitness in my town popped up, I decided to give it a try. It's pole dancing; How tough could it be?
Boy was I in for a surprise! After one hour-long class, every muscle in my body was quivering, and I was slightly discouraged that I couldn’t do half the moves the instructor showed in this ‘introductory’ class. At the end of class, I was told that I need to wear less clothing, as skin on pole contact is best and my go-to sweats and tee-shirt just weren’t cutting it.
Refusing to be a quitter, I took the same ‘intro to pole’ class exactly one week later, this time, armed with my determination and the required ‘uniform’ of 5-inch clear Lucite platform heels and tank and skorts ensemble. After my second class, I was shocked by my strength gains. I was ‘spinning’ and ‘climbing’ before I knew it. Plus, it was fun!
Despite gasps of shock from family and friends (“you’re doing what?”), I was hooked and determined to fit pole fitness into my life. Just a few classes later, I feel stronger, longer, and leaner. And I want you to feel the same! I sat down with the ladies at NY Pole, one of the premier pole fitness companies in New York, to dispel the stereotypes and find out why all women should give pole fitness a try. Here’s what I learned:
1. It’s Risqué
“The stereotype of what pole dancing means to the majority of people, although changing and getting better every day, is part of the allure to some women,” says instructor Tracy Traskos, of NY Pole. It’s also a great conversation topic at parties or even at work.
2. It’s like Role Playing
Besides the fact that you get to wear 6-inch stilettos when you work out, you also get to be a sex siren for an hour. Coupled with building the leg and arm strength needed to climb the pole and hold yourself up and the coordination to follow the choreography, you get to do moves like head and hip rolls, mimicking the sexy dancers you often see at strip clubs (while toning at the same time!)
3. Female Bonding
“Women who take the classes together create great friendships while bonding over the fun of pole dancing,” Traskos says. “Also, no one is catty or judgmental so it’s a place you can be free to look foolish if you want to!”
4. It’s an Accomplishment
“Participants feel like they have accomplished something great they never really thought possible,” Traskos says. Plus, it’s a safe, fun, and effective way to learn the art of pole dancing. At an advanced level, pole dancing is both a cardio and strength workout, which can burn 800 calories an hour or more!
5. You Get Individual Attention
Rather than group fitness classes, where one instructor is often teaching a dozen participants or more, pole dancing classes are smaller and more intimate. You get a lot of individual attention from the instructor, similar to personal training sessions.
6. It’s Much Harder than it Looks
“This aspect of it builds confidence and improves body image and the ability to tackle other seemingly out of reach goals in life,” Traskos says. “This confidence inevitably blends into other areas of your life, including relationships.”
7. It’s Four Exercises in One
“[Pole dancing] effectively combines strength training, endurance, and flexibility training into one fun activity,” Traskos says. “It’s yoga, Pilates, TRX, and Physique 57 all wrapped into one. And in high heels!”
8. It Teaches the Power of Bodyweight Workouts
“Most woman work way harder in pole class than in the gym,” says Traskos, who was a personal trainer for 15 years before joining the team at NY Pole. “There is a time and place for the gym, but pole appeals to women who hate the gymmor never even go. And most of the exercises we do, like climbing the pole, are a lot tougher than doing biceps curls.”