How to build muscle for pole dancing

How to Build Your Strength for Pole Dance (Free Training Plan)

The thought of strength training makes many women want to run a mile in fear of developing bulky, manly muscles.

However, to improve on the pole, it is very important to include strength elements in every pole workout that you do. You’ll find that doing so will help you improve very quickly on the pole. Bonus!

The truth is, that to make serious improvements on the pole, you don’t need to be pumping iron!

In fact, doing so will increase the likelihood of becoming more muscular. If it’s the bodybuilder look you want – then go for it 🙂

Instead, most of us want to develop the toned, slender, sexy look that is synonymous with pole dancing.

To achieve this, bodyweight exercises (on and off the pole) and light resistance exercises will produce great results.. while making you stronger in your pole moves.

Build Your Strength for Pole Dance


Why is Strength Training Important?

Strength training for pole dancing is very important. When most people start, they think that they aren’t strong enough to pole dance and find it a struggle.

For the first few sessions, it is likely that you’ll go home with (or wake up to) very sore arms. As you continue in your lessons and workouts, your strength will naturally develop and increase.

In the beginning, this effect of getting stronger by simply practising the pole moves, is the reason why specific strength training is overlooked.

But… at some point we all reach a plateau. When our strength (or lack of) becomes the limiting factor in achieving more advanced pole moves. Getting “stronger by doing” is no longer enough at this point.

As soon as you move onto harder, more advanced moves, you will soon wish that you had done more strength training earlier on.

When you work on strength moves such as the Ayesha or moves like The Flag or any Deadlift, you may find it a struggle.

It can feel like you are starting to learn to pole dance all over again. You will feel like you are not strong enough and may worry that you will not be able to get these moves – you have to re-train your muscles.

Starting your strength training early on in your pole dancing workouts will help you to improve in all areas of your pole dancing – and you will be especially happy that you did, when you are working on more advanced moves.

Build Your Strength for Pole Dance


How Often Should I do Strength Training for Pole Dance?

Rule 1: Pole Comes First

While it is important to make sure you do your strength training, it should not take anything away from your actual pole dancing.

Rule 2: Little & Often

It is important that you still keep the element of fun and enjoyment when you pole dance. For this reason you only need to spend a short amount of time every workout on strength training. For example if you are working out for an hour, you should spend about 10 minutes training. While this does not seem like a lot, imagine doing press-ups or sit-ups for 10 minutes. Ouch!

Rule 3: Remember to Rest!

It is important that you do not over train your body. While it can be tempting to train every day you must give yourself at least one day off a week to recover. Giving yourself a rest allows your body to fully repair and recover from the previous training and workouts that you have done.

It’s during this rest time that your body heals and gets stronger!

Rule 4: Be Creative

If you do not have a lot of time to work out, work your strength training in with your attempts at pole moves.

For example, if you are trying to master an Air Walk, you can train accordingly for this, while trying to practise the move. Place your hands on the pole as you would, if you had climbed up the pole. Practise taking your legs off the ground, lifting them to the side, holding it for 5 secs and then putting them on the ground again. Repeat 3 times. Change your arms around and repeat again. The whole of this exercise may only take 1 minute but if you were to train like this for every move, you will find that you will quickly improve and feel stronger.

What Strength Exercises Shall I Do?

The Strength Basics:

Here are some exercises for you to try as a start to your new strength regime. As a rule of thumb try 3 sets of 15-20 reps for each exercise. Some YouTube searching will help you with technique!

Arms: Bicep Curls, Tricep Dips, Chin-Ups

Chest: Press-Ups (Wide & Narrow)

Back: Rows, Lateral Pull Down

Shoulders: Shoulder Press, Lateral Raise

Core: Sit-Ups (Many Variations), Plank, Side Plank

Legs: Squats, Lunges, Step-Ups

Functional Strength for Pole Dance:

These exercises relate to the moves that you want to do. These aren’t necessarily moves that you want to do now -they can be moves that you want to master in the future – such as a deadlift. For a Deadlift you can twist your strong hand and place it high on the pole. Place your weaker hand lower on the pole. Take your legs out the side, and stand on your tip toes. From here practise lifting your feet off the ground and holding for 5 secs. Repeat 3 times and then repeat on the other side. This is a great way to prepare for when you eventually are ready to try a Deadlift.

This technique can be applied to many moves. If you look at a move you want to do, figure out the first step, whether this is lifting your feet off the ground or holding yourself up by your legs. Whatever the first move is, practise holding your body up in this way and make sure you can confidently do this on each side. You can strengthen your whole body this way as you are often working more than one muscle group at a time. This is also brilliant for those moments of frustration when you don’ t want to try that particular move again – simply work on some strength training.

What Are Your Favourite Pole Strength Workouts?

Let me know your thoughts! 🙂

5 muscles to work on before trying pole dancing

Listen to this article

Pole dancing is among some of the most intensive workouts available. When it comes to pole exercising, Bollywood actresses like Jacqueline Fernandez and Malaika Arora indulge in it. Housefull 4 actress Kriti Kharbanda too is a huge fan of it and flaunted some neat moves on social media. Recently, she shared a video on Instagram in which she can be seen doing pole dancing while dressed in a black tank top and a pair of black shorts. 

Take a look at her post!


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Kriti Kharbanda (@kriti.kharbanda)

More than just a fad, pole dancing is a fab way to gain muscle. Yes ladies, it is more than dancing with a pole. It brings a lot to the table. And if you are opting for pole dancing or pole exercising to get back in shape, you need to make these 5 muscles really strong to get the best out of it.  

1. Arms and shoulders

Pole dancing is primarily an upper body workout, despite its benefits for other parts of your body. Most moves with pole dancing require you to use your arms and shoulders strength to maneuver on the pole. Most pole dance instructors will encourage you to build your arm strength straight away. 

2. Core muscles

The core muscles also play a very important role in pole dancing, particularly during inverted (upside down) moves. This is especially true when the exit or transition from the move involves reversing the inversion in what is essentially a reverse crunch. This is because the forces of gravity act as resistance during such moves. That’s why you need to work on your core muscles before trying pole exercise. 

3. Back muscles

Pole fitness requires you to develop your back muscles. In fact, strong back muscles can help promote correct posture as well. 

To avoid back injury with pole exercise, make efforts to strengthen it. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
4. Leg muscles

Pole dancing works your upper body, core plus your legs. Lower body strength is required because pole exercise moves require primarily leg strength to hold yourself on the pole. That’s why you need to work on your leg muscles as well. 

5. Thigh muscles

Last but not the least, thighs, which include the hamstring, glutes and quads muscles! The continuous striking motions of pole dancing work the muscles in your thighs. To avoid possible injuries, your thighs need to be strong. 

Tania Sudan, a professional pole dancer and fitness trainer, shares with HealthShots how pole dancing can benefit your body:
1. Strength training

Learning to control and balance will strengthen muscles throughout your body. Many pole dancing maneuvers require you to lift and hold your own body weight, so it is ideal for building strength in your back muscles, biceps, triceps, and forearms. 

2. Increase mobility and flexibility

Sure, mobility and flexibility are great, but does pole dancing help tone your body? The answer is yes – of course, it does! People often forget the importance of flexibility, but twirling yourself around the pole involves quite a bit of stretching. Your flexibility will also reap the benefits. 

Everyone can benefit from pole exercise regardless of their flexibility. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
3. Cardio

Pole dancing is an excellent way to train your strength and stamina. It is quite an exhausting workout as you’re doing lots of hectic strength moves in a row. 

4. Mental health benefits

According to the expert, serotonin endorphins, commonly known as happy hormones, are released when you pole dance. So say yes to pole dancing to release your stress because it really does lessen the anxiety and stress. 

5. Reduce joint pain

Pole fitness will work on strengthening your muscles while increasing flexibility and mobility, which significantly reduces the likelihood of you developing joint problems.

8 exercises to help you prepare for pole practice

Pole practice: is it possible to practice without preparation?

In theory, yes, but in practice. .. “Training on the pole requires stretching, flexibility and strength,” says Polina Volchek, two-time world champion in pole dance, ex-soloist of Cirque du Soleil, artist of the Leningrad Center troupe ". “That is, of course, you can try to do without them, but the number of elements that you can perform in this case will be significantly reduced.”

For beginners, it is important to strengthen the muscles of the upper body, as arm strength is important in the initial stages of mastering pole tricks. “In the first lessons, we study near-pole choreography, some basic tricks at the “lower” level, the simplest twists,” comments Vera Kefner , teacher of pole dance, stretching and other fitness areas at the Yaradance dance studio, author of the complex that we will show today. - And only then we transfer them to the “upper floors”, to the pylon. With strengthened arm muscles, it is much easier to work on the pylon: it is easier for a person to pull himself up, statically hold himself in certain positions on the pylon, without touching the floor. As for a good stretch, it makes the muscles more elastic, gives more joint mobility, increasing the range of motion, which makes the task easier and reduces the risk of injury. Don't forget about the visual effect - a good stretch allows you to perform tricks gracefully and beautifully.

So if you've been wanting to try the pole for a long time, but didn't know where to start, start with strength training and stretching. We asked Vera Kefner to compile and show us a suitable set of exercises.

How to build a session

* Start your workout with a warm-up. 10-15 minutes of simple articular gymnastics will prepare the muscles, joints and connections for the upcoming load.

* Perform exercises in sequence.

* Practice this program 2-3 times a week, gradually increase the load. The pace is medium or slow, which will allow you to concentrate on the correct technique for performing the exercises.

To complete the complex, you will need a mat, a chair and dumbbells (weighing 2-3 kg).

Ready to start class? Then repeat after Vera Kefner.

Wide Arm Push-ups

Get into an emphasis lying on straight arms (can be supported on your knees). Put your hands wider than your shoulders, fingers look forward and widely spaced, distribute the load on a full palm. The neck is a continuation of the spine, the gaze is lowered down, the abdominal muscles are tense. While inhaling, keeping the body absolutely straight, bend your arms, spreading your elbows to the sides. Your chest should almost touch the floor. As you exhale, focusing on how the pectoral muscles contract, push up and return to the starting position. While you're a beginner, do as many push-ups as you can. You can start by doing it on your knees 8-10 reps in 1-2 sets of , gradually increasing the load to 10-15 reps in 3 sets of . Further, without support on the knees, perform the same number of repetitions and approaches with straight legs (feet hip-width apart).

Narrow Push-ups

Get into a push-up position on straight arms (can be supported on your knees). Place your palms shoulder-width apart, fingers look forward and wide apart, distribute the load on the entire palm, the neck is a continuation of the spine, look down, the abdominal muscles are tense. While inhaling, keeping the body absolutely straight and moving it slightly forward relative to the hands, bend the arms, pulling the elbows back. Your chest should also almost reach the floor. Exhale as you push up and return to the starting position. While you're a beginner, do as many push-ups as you can. You can start by doing it on your knees 8-10 reps in 1-2 sets of , gradually increasing the load to 10-15 reps in 3 sets of . Further, without support on the knees, perform the same number of repetitions and approaches with straight legs (feet hip-width apart).


Get into an emphasis lying on straight arms, arms shoulder-width apart, hands in line with shoulder joints, feet together (fingers in line with heels). Make sure that the muscles of the legs, buttocks and the press are in tension. Do not arch your back and keep your torso straight as a single line from crown to heels until the end of the exercise. Hold this position starting from 15-30 seconds to 2-3 times , gradually increasing this time.

Shoulder stand (“Birch”)

Lie with your back on the mat, arms along the body, palms on the floor, legs bent at the knees or straight, knees and feet touching each other. Throw your legs over your head as much as possible. Bend your arms at the elbows, place your palms on your lower back, straighten your legs up. The body should be straightened, extended upwards so that the body and legs form one straight line. Keep your feet and knees together, hips and buttocks tense, palms on the lower back. Breathing during the exercise is deep, even, calm. You need to finish the rack in the reverse order, slowly, without jerking, supporting your back with your hands. Hold this position 15-30 seconds . Repeat 2-3 times . A variant with the support of the feet on the wall is possible.

Reverse Chair Dips

Sit on a chair, place your palms under your shoulder joints shoulder width apart, fingers forward. As you inhale, slowly lower your pelvis by bending your elbows to a right angle. Make sure your forearms are perpendicular to the floor throughout the movement. As you exhale, push yourself back to the starting position. Do as many push-ups as you can. The main thing is that each repetition is done correctly and in full amplitude. You can start from 8-10 reps in 1-2 sets of , gradually increasing the load to 10-15 reps in 3 sets of .

Dumbbell Curl

Sit on a chair with 2-3 kg dumbbells. Lower your arms with dumbbells along the body. The hands are turned towards the body. Fix the position of the elbows, pressing them to the body, tighten the press. Slowly bend your elbows. When the forearms are parallel to the floor, begin to turn the hands outward, that is, upward with the wrists. Next, raise the dumbbells to the point where your wrists almost touch your shoulders (at the top of the exercise, there should be a few centimeters between your wrists and shoulders). Hold at the top for 1-2 seconds and just as slowly return to the starting position.

Important! When performing this exercise, jerks and the use of inertia should be avoided. Do not sway or lift your elbows off your body. Start with 8-10 reps of in 1-2 sets of , gradually increasing the load to 10-15 reps of 3 sets.

Seated Fold

Sit on the mat with your legs straight out in front of you, feet together and firmly pressed together. Stretch your arms up, back is straight, shoulder blades are brought to the spine, shoulders are lowered down, the crown is stretched up. Gently lean down towards your feet, keeping the stretch forward. Reach forward with your entire back, lengthening the thoracic and lumbar region, stretch the spine out of the pelvis. Help yourself with your hands, first holding on to your shins, and then clasping your feet. On each deep exhalation, relax and move your chest forward. Hold position for at least 30 seconds.

Stretching the muscles of the anterior surface of the thigh in the half split position

Starting position - half split position: the right leg is bent, extended forward (the foot is located under the buttock, the left foot is straight, extended back. Leaning on the forearm of the left hand, lower the pelvis below and fix Next, bend the left leg at the knee, pulling the heel to the buttock with the right hand. It is important that the pelvis is fixed and does not rise up. Hold this position for 30 seconds or more as long as you can, then repeat the same on the other side.

Don't skip home workouts to make your pole practice more comfortable.

Threshold of entry into pole dance and training system

There is a serious replenishment in the catalog of our authors. We were joined by Ekaterina Malina, whom many know thanks to Instagram (@malina_pole). Now she has more than 14 thousand subscribers, almost all of them love pole dance, just like us. Today we will talk about how beginners get involved in training, what is most important for a teacher to pay attention to, how to competently build a warm-up and swap.

It's no secret that the "entry threshold" in pole dance is high and even very high. Many people, having tried to practice, quickly droop, cannot endure pain, get upset because of bruises, everything is hard for them and, as a result, such people quickly leave this sport. However, there are always beginners who fall in love with pole dance from the first minute “with all the giblets”, their eyes light up from the thought that the training is tomorrow, and the lesson itself flies by in an instant.

As a rule, it takes a beginner the first six months to get involved in weekly workouts, pump up muscles, learn to “not die” during a warm-up, strengthen muscles so that they can do push-ups and pull-ups. From the point of view of the elements, in half a year, the average beginner can climb the pylon up, masters a simple “footstep”, “superman”, “martini”, “corner”, hangs, twists and the same simple basic elements.

Pair stretch. Studio Shark

Already a year later (and if there was sports training before pole dance, then even earlier) someone tries himself at the reporting concerts of the school or small competitions.

When the very first, basic step is mastered, the muscles are put in order, and perhaps there is even a debut behind them, the realization comes that weekly pole training is not enough. The “butterfly wing” would be more beautiful with a twine, the elbow stand would be more elegant if the lower back bent more, and also, well, I really want to master, finally, the flag! This realization can come both earlier and later, each newcomer has his own “maturing cycle”.

At such moments it is important not to get upset! Yes, this is all true, and it is good that this understanding exists. You have already overcome the “threshold of entry” into the pylon sport, you have already proved to yourself that you are capable of feats! At this stage, positive emotional nourishment, the support of admiring friends and colleagues in the group is very important, but it is even more important not to dwell on what is missing now, but to build the right training system for yourself, add stretching and muscle strengthening exercises.

Plank in Sofa dance studio

You should not compare yourself with others “but he already knows how, but I won’t learn for a year” - these are all harmful and wrong thoughts. You can only compare yourself with yourself, and if you began to ask questions “when will I finally learn how to do ...?”, Then it means it's time to reconsider your training system.

Stretching and flexibility

Stretching exercises are divided into 3 types:

  • longitudinal splits
  • cross twine
  • lumbar and thoracic back, shoulders, arms

Longitudinal splits can be combined with back workouts. After additional stretching classes, the “ballerina” will quickly turn into the first “Biehlman”, it will be possible to do splits on the pylon. It will be useful to stay stretched after a pole workout when the muscles are already warmed up. If you live in a big city, this is a time saving, taking into account traffic - you don’t have to go to the gym an extra time.

Zhukova dance. Pole kids

Tip! Be sure to check with your studio for information about stretching classes: in many schools, when buying a subscription for a month, they give a stretching lesson as a gift .

If additional stretching in the gym is not an option for you, try stretching for half an hour before bed. You will see, the result will not keep you waiting!

When should I add training? The earlier the better. Stretching is needed in pole sports, not only for those who want to develop in the direction of flexible gymnasts, but even for those who are more into acrobatic elements, pole jumps and somersaults. The combination of a bad landing on the floor and the lack of elasticity of the soleus muscle can give a sad result - injury. Even if you don’t have the task of sitting on the twine right now, stretching will be a prevention for you from many injuries received by a sharp stretch, and then muscle contraction.

Muscle strengthening

Pumping is more complicated. How to understand that it can and is time to add? If after a workout, the krepatura lasts another 3-4 days, then it’s too early. If you feel that the body is strong enough and is already starting to “idle” between workouts or after a workout some muscle groups are not tired at all, an additional load will not hurt.

Veronika Mikhailova in Pole Positions

Why is it still necessary to add it? Because on the pylon, the development of the body is often asymmetrical. Only people with iron willpower will take turns doing elements on each side and achieve perfect performance on each. In the end, at some point, especially complex elements are done well only on one side and this is how they are inserted into the numbers, that is, many months of asymmetric work of the body goes on. Some coaches give significantly more hand tricks than foot tricks or vice versa. In such cases, there is also a violation of the harmonious development of the body.

In addition, there are several hundred muscles in the body, ranging from very small, such as along the spine, to as large as the gluteus or pectoralis major. The more difficult a person performs the work, the larger muscles are connected to the process. In complex elements, the most “familiar” and developed muscles most often work. The body tries to cheat, and, having spent a minimum of energy, to do the necessary work. Whatever is most developed in you will work. Hence, for example, the difference is that some squat due to the gluteal muscle, and some due to the quadriceps of the legs. Therefore, pumping with the study of all the small muscles of the body will be very effective and necessary for health in general. It is best to pump up with expander bands, lighten the weight of the body, but work on the correctness of the exercises and the study of each individual small muscle.

Anzhela Kulagina in Monella Pole Studio

Pumping can be divided into:

  • Back and arms
  • Press
  • Legs

If you squatted a lot in class, then at home or on the court it makes sense to additionally pull up or push up.

Learn more