Tag Archives: fitness

What to expect from your first pole class….Β 

So are you thinking of starting pole dance? What’s the first thing I would say to you……do it!! Β It may feel really daunting but hopefully this post will help ease you into the pole world! My first advice is to grab a couple of friends who you think might be up for it, of course this isn’t a must but if you’re feeling a little nervous having some allies can help!

For my very first class I managed to convince two of my friends to give it a go with me, neither of them came to another class but that didn’t stop me, after one class I had the bug and even though going to another class on my own was a little scary I knew I wanted pole in my life!! Best decision ever!

What to wear?Β 
As a beginner it’s completely understandable if you don’t want to turn up to your first class in tiny shorts and a crop top! I still hate having my tummy out now and will always keep it covered for as long as possible!

So if you want to wear leggings and a T-shirt this should be fine πŸ™‚

I love this pic from http://poledancingadventures.com/ definitely sums up a polers clothes journey!

I would recommend going for leggings which you can roll up (or cropped ones if you feel comfortable) but this shouldn’t be necessary for a first class.

For guys, for your first class I’d recommend long shorts or joggers and a vest top or t-shirt!

Most classes are done barefoot although some are taught in heels known as pleasers so check your aerial school before hand πŸ™‚
If you want to take a towel this will be useful for giving your pole a wipe, you will find your hands get sweaty (pole is so glamorous) so it’s good to have something with you to wipe them on. Most schools will have a basket of towels for anyone to use but you may want to take your own anyway.
Take some water too, whatever workout you’re doing it’s important to keep your body hydrated!
Don’t moisturise the day you’re planning to take a class! This will really effect your grip on the pole and no one in the class is going to appreciate a slimey pole, so even though you may be used to moisturising daily, trust me when I say you need to skip it until after class!

Before heading to your session it’s a good idea to eat something usually an hour or so before hand, it doesn’t have to be a 3 course meal but a banana or a handful of nuts will give you the energy boost you need before starting your class!

So what can you expect from a pole dancing/ fitness class? Well not every class will be the same and each instructor will certainly have their own style, but I’ve been to few Studio’s and classes now and there seems to be a similar structure.
Here’s what one of my lessons would be like, I’m going to write this as if it were a beginner class and most people coming to the class are newbies.

At any studio ideally you should be asked to fill in a par q form, this will give the instructor an idea of your health and fitness and raise any concerns regarding injuries etc.

Once you entered the class, I’d say hi, introduce myself and attempt to remember everyone’s names (this is certainly not a strong point of mine πŸ™ˆ)

We start the warmup, I usually put some loud cheesy 90s music which generally gets everyone smiling!

The idea of the warm up is to get your joints mobilising and get those muscle warmed up in order to prevent injuries occurring during the class, the warm up tends to last 10 minutes or so until everyone is feeling pretty warm, we pay particular attention to shoulders and wrists.

Next, we do (what we call at Kelly Amelia studios ‘conditioning’), which from my experience it seems most instructors like to add this into their lesson at some point.

I just do it at the beginning to get it out the way as it is definitely not my girls favourite part! So what is conditioning well it’s just a couple of bodyweight exercises that are really useful for building strength. When it comes to Pole dancing, there is obviously a need for some upper body strength, this doesn’t mean you have to start with it, but you will develop it over time, so we might as well start as we mean to go on getting those muscles pumped and strong.
I usually include press ups they really get those arms strong and toned, there’d be different level options so no need to worry if you haven’t done press ups before, believe me when I started I couldn’t do a single one!

We would then follow this with some leg and ab work and maybe a little bit on the pole to get you used to the feel of the pole. Everything I teach is broken down into small, simple, easy to understand exercises. By now you’re probably feeling a little bit tired and wondering what the heck you’ve signed yourself up for, but stick with it the fun’s about to start!
We’d now begin with a few basic moves which would help you to become familiar with the feel of a pole. Believe me when I say it doesn’t matter if you’ve never exercised or if you are a total gym bunny, I’ve taught lots of students who’ve done various other sports and then when they attempt a pole move they’re surprised by how difficult it is!

There is no other exercise that can prepare you for lifting your body weight on a vertical chrome pole.

Don’t get me wrong having some degree of fitness is going to be beneficial through your pole journey but as a beginner it’s far from essential.
Feel like this meme is very appropriate here πŸ˜‚

Here’s a couple of moves I always work on with beginners. These are the kind of moves I would expect from most beginner classes.

Prayer slide- this helps individuals to understand how to grip the pole and how to control their movement on the pole.

Starting with both hands slightly above head height, shoulders engaged ( think about drawing your shoulders back and down) engage the core and squeeze your glutes (bum muscles) to lift the feet off the floor bringing your toes together and your knees apart! Once you can lift both feet off the floor you can have a go at controlling your dismount to the floor by slowly releasing the hands to allow the pole to slide between both hands.
Prayer slide -hold, front, side and back
It can be helpful to try this on a mat, if you haven’t quiet mastered controlling your slide you don’t want to land on your knees!
Step around- before trying to “spin” around the pole we would usually have a go at a step around, although a beginner move this is 100% one of my favourites and I can guarantee you’re going to see it a lot!
This spin is preformed without having to take both feet off the ground, starting in basic grip with your inside hand (hand closest the pole) fairly high but not so you’re over extending ( see photos)

Engage the shoulder thinking about drawing if back and down and take your outside hand across the body at chest height gripping the pole in a thump up position (see photo basic grip πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡)

From hear leaving your inside leg about a hip width away from the pole lean the outside leg and hips away.
As your outside leg moves forward try to draw a large circle around the pole until your foot goes 360 around the pole then pickup the inside leg and bring your feet together at the starting point.

Step around
During my classes I try to recap a couple of moves which I know students have previously tried and then add in a couple of new moves. There is always alternatives and options for each move so there is something that everyone can achieve!

Once we’ve worked on 4-5 moves and spins we will spend 5-10 minutes cooling down and stretching off our muscles.
Stretching is a super important part of pole not only to help increase your flexibility but also to help remove waste products like lactic acid therefore reducing muscle soreness following the class.

For most beginners you will experience some soreness the following day (or even 2 days after) but don’t be put off it just means you’ve worked really hard and engaged muscles you probably didn’t event know you had! Ohh and before I forget you may have a few bruises or redness, we like to call them pole kisses!! Just the pole showing you a little love for all your hard work and determination on each move!

Here’s my latest pole kisses after a workshop!

Don’t try to hide them, be proud you earned those kisses!!

I hope this post helps to put any of you who are thinking to join a pole class at ease!
Aerial isn’t for everyone, but once you’ve tried it you’ll know!

Whether you love it or not, I’m sure you will enjoy the challenge of a class and meeting members of the pole community!

If you’re a poler let me know what your fears were before you started? What’s your favourite thing about pole fitness? What would you say to someone thinking of starting pole?

Any questions please comment below or drop me a message on my Facebook page


P.s sorry for taking a little longer to post, I started uni on Thursday so I’ve been a little busier 🐝 ( that’s me on my first day πŸ™ˆπŸ‘†πŸ»)
Peace & pole all πŸ¦„βœŒπŸΌ


Handstands and poledance?

How handstands can help with pole….
I meet so many students who absolutely hate even attempting a handstand. And I get it, we’re so used to having our feet on the ground so being told to go upside down and hold your weight in your hands feels completely alien! πŸ‘½
Unfortunately, in my opinion I think it’s a pretty important move to be able to do when being an aerialist. 

Handstands are great for conditioning your body, they engage every muscle and help to you to gain awareness of yourself. Handstands work the abs, the hip flexors and the spinal muscles for balance, which all lead to having a strong and stable core. 

Obviously holding a handstand position means having good upper body strength, which of course all us polers need. I recommend trying to do one handstand a day (holding the position for as long as you can, you could even challenge yourself and try to beat your previous time) and you’ll soon notice your shoulders, chest and back becoming stronger! 

Don’t worry if you aren’t a confident hand-stander (yet!!) I will give you some more options below 😊 

Great news though ladies and gents… according to Amy Cooper, an lyengar-trained yoga teacher, if you can hold a downward facing dog or plank position for more than 30 seconds without discomfort in the elbows or shoulders then you should be able to hold a handstand position! Plank pose is also great for familiarising your body with which muscles you need to engage to hold yourself in a handstand πŸ™‚ so get practicing those planks!! 
So what are the other benefits to handstands? 
Well, not only are handstands super for your body, they can also be great for your mind!! 

In yoga inversions play an important role; they can help to elevate moods, relieve headaches and even reduce minor depressions! This is because of gravity allowing blood and therefore more oxygen to flow to the head, this can in turn create an energising and calming effect, as well as reducing the production of the stress hormone cortisol! 

If you’re not quite sold on handstands yet then here’s one more reason you should start practicing them, many yoga teachers say that inversions are like having a mini face lift!!! πŸ’
This is because being upside down helps stimulate blood flow to the face and increased circulation to the skin in the cheeks and forehead means oxygenation and therefore potential sustained youth of facial cells!! Do you even need any more reasons!? Just be careful not to hold your inversion for too long, I’d recommend no more than a minute if you are just beginning your handstand journey! 

So how will this help you as a poler, well for me the obvious reasons are your improved balance and strength, especially as you progress onto hands only moves such as handsprings and straight edges. 
I also feel that if you are not comfortable being upside down with your hands on the floor then how can you truly feel comfortable going upside down in the air!! Practicing your handstands can really help with inverting on the pole as you need to allow you head to come lower than the rest of your body, and this is true for not just basic inverts but also for handsprings, brass monkeys and cross ankle releases! 

Finally for us polers, not only can handstands be beautiful as pole moves and help us to link moves together ( πŸ“Ή Handstand pickup 1 πŸ“Ή Handstand footlock pick up 2)  but they are also really helpful for when you need to get off the pole promptly! We’ve all done it, you go into a move pretty confidently and then you just don’t have the grip or you’ve totally forgotten what you were doing, you want to dismount quickly, if you have your handstand, getting yourself low enough to touch the floor means you should be able to handstand out, this can be from a variety of moves including inverts and cross ankle/knee releases! 

πŸ“ΉπŸ“Ή Handstand dismount
If you’re new to handstands as well as practicing your down dog and plank, the first way you should try getting into a handstand is by facing away from the wall, placing your hands on the floor and then walking your feet up the wall. For some people this may be enough so just keep practising walking your feet up and then back down the wall. 
If your happy here you are now going to walk your hands in towards the wall, as you do you will need to take your feet higher, keep doing this until you can hold yourself in an upright position. 

πŸ“ΉπŸ“Ή Handstand walk up wall

Remembering to keep your core tight and your arms locked, you want to spread your fingers as wide as you can to spread the weight across your hands, use your fingers to gain balance. 

Next have ago at hand-standing against the wall so that your back is now resting on the wall.

πŸ“ΉπŸ“ΉHandstand against wall
Challenge yourself to hold this for about a minute, once you can do that have a go at pushing your feet slightly away from the wall so that you are in a free standing handstand! Be careful not to arch your back, keep in mind that plank positions and use your finger tips to control your balance! 

From here you can start practicing your free standing handstand, make sure you have enough space around you, and I’d recommend trying this on a soft ground your first few times! 

My personal goal is to now enter my handstands with more control and eventually be able to lift instead of stepping into a handstand! 

Let me know how you get on with your handstands! And if you found any of this information useful! 

Happy poling and handstands! 
Peace & Pole everyone πŸ¦„βœŒπŸΌ

Splits away, on holiday!Β 

Well we’re back home from our travels! 

Our adventure was unreal and I can’t believe how fast its gone after all the planning that went into it! 
One of the things I did as a bit of a fun challenge for myself was attempting the splits in every country! 
I say attempting because I don’t officially have a flat split, but I am closer than I have ever been before and I’m still pretty happy with what I could do without a full warm up! 

My first one was pretty rushed we were at a palace and apparently it wasn’t okay to split on a stone bench, so this was a very hurried photo as the guard was shouting Romanian at us πŸ˜‚ 
The warm weather definitely helped to relax my muscles and as I hadn’t been training for a few days my first split was my best one! 

Here’s my splits from, Romania, Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic and Germany 😝 

By Prague I had done a couple of classes and we had been waking miles everyday, so despite the warm weather my hip flexors and calf muscles were feeling very tight and even after a decent warm up this was as low as I could go! 

I’ve been working on my splits since about a year after I started pole, so about 4 years now, however due to an accident and a leg injury it means my progress has definitely been slow. 
Every year I say I will have my splits by Christmas but you know what, I think this year might actually be the year!! 

I’m going to continue to post my progress and have an upcoming post about some of my favourite (said through gritted teeth) stretches that I feel have helped me the most with achieving my split so far! 
Comment below and share your splits or flexibility journey with me 😁
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Peace & Pole πŸ¦„βœŒπŸΌ

I don’t sweat… I sparkle βœ¨

Budapest Liza Szabo Pole Studio Hungary
So my orginal plan was to also do a class in Cluj, unfortunately I just couldn’t get to the instructor at the times she was available 😒

But this did push me to do a class in Budapest! (Pronounced Budapesht, it makes the Hungarians happy 😊)
So I went back to my list of pole schools and contacted a few in the area we were staying.
I had replies from a couple of Studio’s, but the one that had a class at a time I could make and stood out from the others was Liza Szabo ( here’s the website for her studio, there’s also the option to change the language to English which is very useful for us none Hungarian speakers http://www.polestudio.hu/eng/)
After doing a quick Facebook stalk of her profile and studio page I was excited to try out her class.
This was a mixed ability class, at 6pm and she gave me all the details for the studio.

To get there from our hostel I had to take the tram from the bottom of our road, my sense of direction and map reading is terrible so I popped Szabo Liza pole studio address into my trustee (or not so much) maps.

I got off at the stop my phone told me to and headed in the direction of the studio, or so I thought, now I had set off with plenty of time but by now it was about 5.54 so I had 6 minutes to find the studio, my blue dot was hovering over exactly where google thought the studio should be, but there was no signs for any studios.
I looked back at what Liza had messaged me , the addresses are not the same as back home but I worked out that the building number should be 10, I was at something like 26. By now it was 5.55, I put the street and number into google and it popped up 7 mins away, I only had 5! So it was time to get running! Not really something you see in Budapest, they have a more chilled out kind of vibe so me sprinting down the street did attract a little attention. As I got to a crossing I saw a girl in a red dress start running too, at least I’m not the only one late for something I thought, and she was fast!

So eventually I got to building number 10 absolutely dripping with sweat, red faced and panting, I forgot to mention this was the 2nd hottest day we had in Budapest and at 6pm it was about 37c!!

Now to climb the stairs, Liza had already told me it was the top floor! As I started up the steps I could here someone on the flight above me, I looked up and it was the red dress girl from the crossing!
As I reached the top floor the door to the studio was open, I said hi and apologised to Liza as she had already began the warm up and this was just not good class etiquette. But she was lovely and said Rose (red dress) would show me the changing rooms and to just come in as soon as I was ready.
I followed Rose to the changing rooms where they had baby wipes (thank god!) I gave my face a wipe and tried to get a few deeps breaths in before heading into the warm up.

As I entered Rose told me to grab a yoga Matt and to my relief we were up to part of the warm up where you are sat on the floor warming up the legs and hips. We finished the warm up and Liza told me they would usually do conditioning but as it was so hot we wouldn’t be doing it today (conditioning is important but in this heat, this was music to my ears!)

Now this was a mixed ability class so I wasn’t sure what to expect, we did a couple of spins to warm up our shoulders and then Liza began teaching, she would demonstrate first, talk it through and then translate it for me πŸ™‚

Our first move was a very splitty one, and this is certainly not my strong point but I did my best, managed the first move and then completely melted down the pole to the floor for the second one! I was sweating in spots I didn’t even know could sweat πŸ˜“πŸ˜·

I have never poled in heat like this before so I really had to keep reminding myself that the moves would feel completely different had it not been so hot!

Liza was a great teacher and she could see straight away these particular moves were just not working for a lot of the girls and this was simply because of the conditions!
So after a couple of goes she moved us onto a combo that seemed a bit more achievable and could be done from the floor, for me personally I felt much safer trying moves near the ground!

Here’s the combo below πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡

You can still see how much I’m sliding and I’m so thankful the studio had some grip that was for everyone’s use otherwise I wouldn’t have had a chance!
The last move we tried, I’m not sure of the name so please comment if you know it.
For now I’m going to call it an outside jade. I’ve never tried one of these before and my attempt wasn’t great but I am going to re-film these moves at home and see if I can get them a little better!

Here’s my attempt πŸ™ˆπŸ™ˆ
Outside Jade Split
Even though the class was insanely difficult I still left feeling great! The atmosphere at the studio reminded me of home! All the girls were really supportive and Liza is a fantastic teacher! If you are in Budapest I would highly recommend sending her a message and checking out their timetable! Just try a day when it’s not like taking a vacation on the beaches of hell! πŸŒ‹β˜€οΈπŸ”₯
Oh but I did achieve this….

Peace & Pole everyone πŸ¦„βœŒπŸΌ

We all start somewhere…

Here goes with my first blog post! Wish me luck! This isn’t something I’ve tried before so forgive me if my blogging etiquette isn’t on point!

This blog is going to be about my personal experiences and attending different pole classes and Studio’s in the UK and other parts of the world 🌍

So lets start with my pole fitness history…. it all began on a drunken night out, a friend of mine was spinning herself round a (rather questionable) spinning pole in a  night club which was previously called Crystal in my hometown of Blackpool. I was in absolute awe of the things she was doing ( I now know them as fireman spin and front hook) and I just had to learn how to do what she was doing!
So the next morning feeling a little delicate I pulled my laptop onto my knee and headed straight to google for blackpool pole dancing, I can tell you now a lot of those sites you don’t want on your browsing history!

So after a few attempts, I came across ECN-Bodyworks, the website offered exactly what I was looking for, pole dancing for fitness. I emailed the owner and signed myself and two friends up for a beginners class. After one class I was hooked, my friends not so much, as we left the studio one vowed she would never attempt it again, the other promised to do another class with me but 5 years later I’m still waiting 😝

Skip forward 5 years of classes at least 2-3 times a week and here I am, teaching beginners, intermediates and stretch classes at Kelly Amelia fitness studios, as well as being qualified to teach aerial silks!

So stay tuned for more pole dancing adventures, including top tips, pole studios around the world and my personal pole journey!