How does pole dancing work

10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Pole Dancing


Most pole dancers, regardless of age, are in the best shape of their lives.

Pole dancing is a full-body workout. It is resistance training and cardio in one, and flexibility is improved as well. Pole dancers perform acrobatic tricks either suspending their weight or propelling it around a metal pole. The simple act of climbing a pole is an incredible display of strength. It is no surprise, then, that most pole dancers insist they have never looked or felt better.

Natasha Wang, a world champion pole dancer, didn’t even start the exercise until age 29. Greta Pontarelli is a champion pole dancer at age 63—and she only began a few years ago!


There are many different types of pole dancing.

Pole dancing is extremely versatile. There are three main branches: sport, art, and sexy:

  • In sport, you have the serious athletes performing difficult tricks and displaying unfathomable muscular strength. (Some have even petitioned for pole to become an Olympic event!)
  • Then there are also those who embrace the artistic side pole has to offer. The simplicity of a vertical apparatus like the pole is appealing in that there is no shortage of creativity—so many stories can be told. Many pole dancers perform barefoot and have been known to incorporate modern dance, props and costumes into their routines.
  • Finally the sexy side of pole is still practiced by many. These dancers usually wear heels and favor more sensual, erotic movement.

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Although there is some debate within the community about which direction pole is heading, all three forms flourish, and many pole dancers enjoy all styles. There is something for everyone!


You need your skin exposed to grip the pole.

Pole dancers must have their legs, arms and stomachs exposed to safely grip the pole. There are some grounded spins, poses, and floor work that can be performed while wearing pants, but in order to perform more advanced moves, we must have the proper amount of skin exposure.

At first, the idea of working out in a sports bra and tiny shorts may seem intimidating. But most new pole dancers quickly discover they are having too much fun to worry about what they look like. Their focus shifts instead to what they can accomplish—a freeing notion, really, that can help build confidence.


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It can be dangerous without proper training.

Although pole dancing is fun, it is a serious athletic endeavor that should not be taken lightly. Some people do not realize how challenging pole can be on a first attempt (re: every muscle in my body ached for days). In addition to bruises, pole dancers can experience shoulder or back pain with improper technique or overtraining.

You should always learn from a certified instructor. If training from home, take time properly installing your home pole according to manufacturer instructions and vetting a reputable online learning platform. If you're too eager to flip upside down, it can be especially dangerous and can lead to injury.

That said, I encourage everyone interested in pole dancing to go through gradually progressive training with a professional.


Men can (and do!) pole dance.

The number of men pole dancing continues to grow every year. There are men’s divisions in competitions now, and I see more men joining classes I take or teach than ever before.

Men’s natural inclination toward upper body strength makes them ideal candidates for the sport. There are many ancient forms of pole dancing such as Mallakhamb, a traditional Indian sport where the practitioner performs yoga postures on a wooden pole—and has actually been performed exclusively by men throughout history.


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“Not having upper body strength” is not an excuse to avoid it.

I understand that you may be nervous to try pole dancing. Maybe you don’t feel you are at your ideal weight, or you think you have no rhythm, or you think you're too old. But I encourage you to stop creating roadblocks for yourself. The best way to get better at something is to work on it! Every athletic journey requires a first courageous step. You'll grow over time as you build skills, strength and body awareness. Overcoming feats is part of what's so inspiring and empowering about pole.

Whether you’re uncoordinated and can’t lift your own body weight or you're an athlete with gymnastic capabilities, there is always a new trick or transition to learn with pole dancing. The process of growth never ends, and the possibilities can be as creative as your imagination allows them to be.


It’s not always so sexy.

Pole dancing is not always as overtly sexual as people may believe. The process of training is often full of awkward and unglamorous moments. Many of us end up with bruises, burns, and scrapes from trying new moves. And although we may wear sports bras and tiny shorts when performing, most dancers opt for comfort over fashion in between training sessions.


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But it can be very sexy.

The seductive allure of pole dancing still remains steadfast. There was a period of time when pole dancing first became mainstream where many pole dancers sought to distance its association with strip clubs. They felt this link delegitimized efforts to be taken seriously. The community has since evolved to understand this denial as a form of appropriation and recognizes with respect the roots this art form holds in exotic dance.

While many styles of dance and movement currently inspire modern pole dancing, the kind we practice today would not exist without strippers. Many of the first informal pole dancing classes in the US took place in strip clubs and many of the first pole studios in the US were founded by strippers who became small business owners and entrepreneurs. 


The community is very tight-knit.

Because what we do is still considered taboo by many, there is a unique closeness that bonds us together. There are pole dancers of all professions, ethnicities, religions, cultures, sizes, and ages. I have friends all over the world because of pole dancing, and I have friends who have been able to travel the world because of it.

We support each other through learning new moves. We share each other’s videos, and we watch each other perform. This shared interest bonds us with a special understanding, just like any other team sport.


Pole dancing can be emotionally healing.

This is one of the biggest reasons I've stuck with pole dancing as long as I have. The physical benefits are great, but the feeling you get from mastering a move or expressing a particular emotion is indescribable. For example, when I am able to assist a student without any fitness background in their first pole climb, it is an honor to witness their feeling of accomplishment and resulting boost in self-confidence.

You can dance out any emotion in class, whether joyful, angry, or sad. The combination of athletic skill and artistic influence makes it unique to any other form of dance or sport. To me, it is both dance and sport woven together into one beautiful, athletic art form.

7 surprising health benefits of pole dancing

While many overlooked the health benefits of pole dancing for years, they’ve recently come to the fore as associations with the practice have moved away from the strip club and into the studio.

Pole dancing has always required the same levels of athleticism, elegance and skill as gymnastics and ballet. It’s a great activity to get into if you want to reap the health and fitness gains and have more fun exercising than you could imagine. 

People all over the world are now discovering the health benefits of pole dancing, and here’s why. 


1. Increased strength

Pole dancing is a complete body workout. Even at beginner level, the moves are dynamic and engage multiple muscles at once. It’s little wonder, therefore, that so many personal trainers are embracing it.

Many pole dancing manoeuvres require you to lift and hold your own body weight, so it’s ideal for building strength in your back muscles, biceps, triceps, and forearms. Even if you come to a class without much upper body strength, you’ll soon build it up through pole dancing.

Here are some common pole dancing moves that help build upper body strength:

  • Climb
  • Spin
  • Fireman

Beyond upper body strength, pole dancing gives you strong core muscles. Your abdominals and lower back muscles are used to perform moves where you need to climb, lift your legs, or hold your weight.

These moves are perfect for improving core strength:

  • Tuck spin
  • Arms-only climb
  • Barbed wire

We weren’t kidding when we said pole dancing is a complete body workout. Initially, you might find that most moves depend on upper body and core strength. 

However, the grip for the more acrobatic intermediate manoeuvres comes from your legs. Sometimes, even without the assistance of your arms.

Try these moves for leg strength:

  • Pole-sit
  • Dragonfly
  • Rainbow

There are very few muscles you don’t use while pole dancing. The repetition involved in perfecting a manoeuvre means that by the time you nail it, you’ll be substantially stronger without even realising it.


2. Increased flexibility

Each of us is born with a full range of motion in our joints, but this is lost if we don’t use it regularly. In turn, our joints can feel stiff and our range of motion restricted. The good news is that you can condition your joints to restore flexibility—and pole dancing is perfect.

We’ve covered the importance of flexibility before. It’s about more than just being bendy—it also has practical health benefits.

When one part of our body is less mobile than it should be, other parts end up unnaturally compensating for it. 

This can lead to premature joint wear, poor posture, and even poor form for basic movements like walking or lifting. Poor form means more aching, cramping and increased risk of injury, which may result in chronic joint issues.

Given the twisting, stretching, and bending involved in pole dancing, you’re training your muscles and joints to be more flexible. You’re also improving your sense of balance and spatial awareness.

Some of the more advanced pole dancing techniques border on contortion but don’t panic. You’ll have massively increased your flexibility by the time you’re at that level.

Related: 9 best injury prevention exercises to improve performance


3. Cardiovascular health

According to WHO, adults aged 18–64 should complete at least 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75–150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week.  

Hitting this benchmark reduces the likelihood of developing Type II Diabetes by 40%, heart disease by 35%, and certain cancers by 20%. It opens the door to countless additional health benefits.

Pole dancing is an ideal way to hit this weekly recommendation because it keeps your heart rate up and incorporates your whole body, even at beginner level.

Furthermore, pole dancing falls between moderate and intense physical activity comparable to aerobics or calisthenics. 

This means you don’t have to do it as long each week to reap the cardiovascular health benefits of pole dancing. Or, better still, you get a greater benefit for the same amount of time.

We spoke to Jaime Rangeley, a pole dancing instructor from The Pole Studio, who added:

“The beginning of each class has a cardio component to warm up the body and prepare it for exercise. In addition to that, we put together tricks, spins, and transition moves into combos to increase endurance. 

Other health benefits include increased strength and coordination as well as neurological benefits. Learning new movement has been proven to develop new neural pathways and help reduce the risk of dementia.”


4. Balance and coordination

Multiple studies show that developing balance and coordination is important for improving your overall quality of life, especially as you age. 

Despite this, both elements of health and fitness are largely overlooked

Good balance is the foundation of physical movement, as it keeps you upright and on your feet.

Coordinating that movement relies heavily on balance, as you will struggle to control a movement that doesn’t stem from a strong stance.  

The two go hand in hand, and training them has various health benefits, such as injury prevention and improved performance. Having greater control over your body is never bad and will certainly help you later in life. 

Pole dancing is one of the best activities you can do to train your balance and coordination. It relies heavily on both, as getting to grips with balancing your body against the pole is the first hurdle you’ll face.  

Coordinating your movements comes next; this is virtually impossible without first mastering balance. Once you get to this stage, you’re already making significant progress. 

You can’t complete this activity without having trained both to some degree, and then you’re well on your way to receiving these additional health benefits of pole dancing. 


5. Improved sleep quality

While scientists have yet to uncover the exact reasons behind their findings, multiple studies have found a link between regular aerobic exercise and improved sleep quality. 

Since pole dancing is an aerobic exercise that challenges multiple areas of your fitness, it’s a great activity to try if you struggle with your sleep. It uses a lot of energy and releases multiple hormones that can help combat stress-related insomnia. 

For example, your body will release serotonin during a pole dancing session. This mood-stabilising hormone is known for promoting healthier sleeping patterns thanks to its ability to regulate stress in your brain.   

Endorphins, also known as ‘feel-good’ chemicals, are also released. They can similarly affect your sleep quality as they actively reduce stress hormone levels and decompress the mind. 

Once you create better sleep patterns through regular exercise, this begins a ripple effect that positively impacts your health. 

According to WebMD, getting quality sleep on a regular basis can help improve your mood, give you a sharper brain and boost your heart health, amongst other benefits. Pole dancing is worth a try if you want to improve your long-term health. 

Related: How to create a meal plan on a budget


6. Weight loss

Among the health benefits of pole dancing is the fact it helps you approach weight loss from both a cardio and strength perspective. High activity in the sessions helps you burn calories, and all the lifting, climbing, and holding will help you build muscle.

Increasing and consistently maintaining your physical activity raises your basal metabolic rate. This is the number of calories your body burns when at rest. So, even when you’re not pole dancing, your body will be optimised to burn more calories between sessions.

Weight loss is related to yet distinct from cardiovascular health because you don’t have to be a high-performing athlete to be in good physical health. 

However, pole dancing will result in you burning fat and gaining muscle. So, pole dancing is highly effective if your goal is to become leaner instead of just staying healthy.

Jaime Rangeley from The Pole Studio added:

“Many students do report weight loss and muscle gain, as pole dance is a very dynamic form of exercise. But regardless of any change to body shape, what I see in every single student is an increase in body confidence and self-esteem.

 Although I have taught many other fitness classes, what makes pole dance unique is that despite being a demanding workout, we always have a lot of fun, and there is real camaraderie among the students.

That brings us to the next point.


7. Mental health

All exercise is good for mental health—endorphins are released when we exercise, which are proven to reduce stress and anxiety. This, combined with improved health, positive physical changes to your appearance and the mental stimulation physical exercise offers, is great for your self-esteem.

In addition to this, there are some unique mental health benefits of pole dancing too. For instance, it creates a sense of solidarity with other classmates as each of you takes control of your body. You’ll also feel empowered and have more body confidence through pole dancing.

As Alison Hudd, founder of Pole People, said in an interview with the Evening Standard:

“It’s about developing your confidence, getting stronger, and being proud of what your body is capable of doing—because it can do so much more than you’d ever thought possible.”

Beyond this, at any level of pole dancing, there’s the satisfaction of achieving a spectacular feat through athleticism, determination, and study of the art form. Put simply, pole dancing is as fulfilling as any pursuit can hope to be.


Pole dancing is great fun, but with the precise moves involved you could land awkwardly and injure yourself.

With this in mind, you might want to cover yourself through specialist pole dancing insurance.

You’ll receive Personal Accident cover up to £50,000 to protect you in the worst-case scenarios. You can also add loss of earnings cover from £2.25 per month.

Click here to learn more or hit the button below to get an instant online quote.

Pole dancing: what is pole dance? How to start pole dancing

Not what it seems

Help on the shore: pole dance is not a striptease, but a full-fledged dance and sports direction, a mix of choreography, acrobatics and gymnastics. The direction originated already at the end of the 11th century in India and at first it was marked “men only” (well, or as they said then), that is, for the development of strength and endurance. Then circus performers got down to business: they traveled the world, adopted the experience of different nations and came up with acrobatic performances on a pole. And it turned out to be a great show! Since 2003, various championships and competitions have been held in pylon sports. The rules are black and white: it is forbidden to be naked and show erotic elements. It is heard that the inclusion of the direction in the program of the Olympic Games is not far off. And we are glad.

Not only dances

Pole dance corrects the figure for one or two. In one lesson, each muscle group has time to turn on: from the arms and back to the press, legs and buttocks - a great alternative to monotonous exercises in the gym. Since you have to stay on the pole in different planes, with each movement you feel a rather big load. You really work, get tired and spend a lot of calories. And flexibility, plasticity and stretching are also developing.

Another huge plus: you won't be able to "pump".

The work, although difficult, has to be done with the weight of your own body - hello to the aesthetic relief. As well as a possible reduction in the manifestations of cellulite due to the work of the muscles of the legs and the activation of blood circulation. That's it, nothing more to dumbbells.

Not only sports

There are several varieties of pole dancing. And if the direction of pole sport is a story about power elements and tricks, then pole dance and exotic pole dance are, first of all, dances. In the last version, the focus is on choreography in characteristic high heels, on musicality and sexuality, while tricks on the pole are supposed to be at a minimum. From the point of view of psychology, many dancers note the positive effect of dance on self-confidence, femininity, sensuality, getting rid of negative thoughts. Additionally, you are charged with adrenaline: after all, tricks are performed at a height of a meter, and clinging to a pole and simultaneously holding on to it is not so easy.

How to prepare?

The official answer is no. I mean, you don't have to prepare. Absolutely everyone can practice pole dancing, no matter how many cups and medals you have in gymnastics. It will take two to three months of regular training to start feeling confident in performing tricks and stop being afraid of heights. The first meeting with reality is harsh: bruises and calluses are inevitable, especially at first. While this argument can be applied to literally any fight-calorie endeavor, whether you're cycling or trying on boxing gloves. A professional was asked to continue the checklist.

Kristina Levandovskaya,

head and teacher of the Moscow branch of the school of dance and acrobatics on the My Pole Space pylon:

“It is important to understand that a pylon is not an exercise therapy. In the classroom, we immediately begin to work with the weight of our own body, and not with small dumbbells of 2-3 kilograms. Therefore, if you have serious problems with the musculoskeletal system, it is worth solving these problems before classes.

And such a fear that before practicing pole dancing you need to pump up or stretch somehow, this is superfluous. Not waste your time.

A competent trainer will select the appropriate exercises that correspond to your specific training, and the development of the necessary strength will take place under the supervision of a professional. The entry-level elements do not require or imply any outstanding flexibility.

Please bring short shorts, sports top, tank top or t-shirt for class. To warm up or while waiting for a lesson, you can take leggings or pants. Sneakers are not needed - the lesson most often takes place barefoot or in socks. Schools usually provide special cloths for wiping the pylon, but you can take your own as well - it will be more pleasant and hygienic. On day X, do not apply cream to the body and hands - this may interfere with traction with the pole.

Most importantly, don't be afraid to bombard the instructor with questions. There should be a clear understanding in your head of how and why you actually spin. If the coach does not explain, but only shows the technique for performing the elements, it is better to look towards replacing him. You literally trust the instructor with your health.

And don't worry if something doesn't work out for you. There are no speed limits here. The most optimal pace is yours personally. So take your time. The better your base is worked out, the faster and safer you will progress in the future.”

Photo: Alisa Savostyanova

What is Pole Dance and how to start dancing

Pole Dance is a harmonious dance performed on a metal pole (pylon). It combines elements of acrobatics, choreography and gymnastics. This direction does not need strong physical training, all the required skills and abilities are given during constant training. It is often confused with striptease and pole dancing, but in reality there is nothing in common between them.

Greetings, dear readers. If you are here, then you have the opportunity right now to learn about such a dance as Pole Dance. Classes on the pylon attract modern girls and women, draw them in and fall in love with themselves. The multifaceted Pole Dance gives meaning and fulfillment over time, a thirst for achieving new goals. It gives fans more and more opportunities to develop themselves, to be more attractive and stronger.
What is Pole Dance?

In pole dance, a pole or pylon serves as the main working element, a sports equipment on which various tricks are performed. In striptease, a metal pole is a decorative detail, the stripper dances next to it, doing simple dance moves - no complicated tricks are performed here.

Pole Dance is a physically difficult pole dance that can be safely attributed to a power sport. Young girls, women of different ages and even children can do it. By the way, men can also practice on the pylon, perform power elements of increased complexity.

Standard Pole Training

As a rule, Pole Dance classes for beginners begin with a warm-up to prevent sprains and all sorts of injuries. A good start makes pole training safe and effective, prepares the ligaments and muscles for loads and twists. Then it is allowed to start performing simple elements of the dance. When the body is well warmed up, stretching is done (static and dynamic).

Flexibility is important for performing the main number of elements on the pole, so stretching is in every workout, after warming up and at the end of the session. A force load is placed on the prepared body. A lot of energy is wasted here. To perform heavy tricks in pole dance, the use of a mat is provided. After a power load, the trainer does stretching and a hitch.

Tips for pole dance beginners

Pylons for training are dynamic, which are spinning, and static. There is an erroneous opinion that it is better for beginners to practice on a spinning pylon. Beginning dancers are advised to start doing dance elements on a static pole. It may be more difficult, but it’s faster to make progress, get stronger and develop a muscular corset. The issue of choosing clothes for pole dance for practicing on the pylon is also of interest to beginners. Everything is pretty simple here. For the first workout, you don’t need high-heeled shoes and expensive uniforms. Initially, a t-shirt, shorts and socks are enough.

In the future, you can decide for yourself what you want to wear for training in Pole Dance. For the first lesson, it is not at all necessary to bring magnesia (liquid chalk to improve grip with the pole) or gloves. Just try to come to the lessons for beginners and in practice understand whether special tools are needed or not. When hands are held tight without anything, gloves and magnesia are not needed. In addition, the coach will tell you what would be the best option in a particular case.

A big problem for beginners is bruising. Without them, the first workouts are unlikely to do. It will take some time to put up with them. To alleviate the condition and quickly improve the appearance of the body, you can use special ointments, such as lifeguard 911, troxevasin, badyaga. Time and patience will help in the fight against bruises.
IMPORTANT! Before starting pole lessons, it is important to check your health condition. There are a number of diseases, due to which the doctor may prevent you from training. That is, you need to consult a specialist, especially if you already have any health problems.

Varieties of Pole Dance

Today there are three main directions of Pole Dance:

  • Exotic. Here, the emphasis is on strength elements in a percentage ratio of approximately 70 to 30. In addition, the bulk of the dance movements are performed on the floor. This kind of pole dance is characterized by plasticity and eroticism. At the same time, there is no undressing in the exotic.
  • Art. The direction is characterized by a harmonious combination of power elements and choreography. The emphasis is on the technique of performance, the quality of tricks, and the outfit of the performer. The classical understanding of the direction is pole dance as an art.
  • Sport/Fitness. The most difficult variety of Pole Dance. In the performance of the pole dance, approximately 70% of the complexity and quality is given.

Why should everyone try pole lessons?

Paul Dance makes you constantly work on yourself, your body, hone your own skills, fight fear and pain. This can hardly be called a disadvantage of this type of dance, since there is a goal, work and victories.

In training, music and movements allow you to relax, relieve negativity and nervous tension. On the pylon you become more graceful, stronger and more flexible, and also much more confident in yourself. Pole Dance is the art of controlling your own body, which always needs care and love.

Learn more