As I imagine most people do, I thought that pole dancing was a little bit grimy — there is such a stigma attached to it. I feel your confusion as you’re reading this – why are you writing about it then?! Read on to hear why…
I had these bad preconceptions of it in my mind, although I’d never really thought about it properly – pole dancing isn’t something that really comes up in everyday thought. I was in my second year of university when I came across it as a sport. I vividly remember my housemate talking about her best friend joining the pole dancing club there. Long story short was that her friend could now hold herself out sideways from a pole and the admiration in her voice at her friend being able to do that really hit me.
A fun way to get strong…
As previously mentioned, I’d ever really thought about pole dancing in any great depth at that point, but I’d never thought to associate pole dancing with strength. How stupid of me! At that point in my life I was the fittest I’d ever been. I was lifting weights in the gym on a daily basis, rowing and cycling. Even then I knew that I couldn’t hold my body out like that.
Since leaving university, I’ve had this idea in my head that it would be a really fun thing to try but have felt overwhelmingly embarrassed (thinking back to my original perception of it) by the fact that I’d like to give it a go. Forget all the films – to me, it now symbolises being strong and I can’t stress how important that is to me.
Being strong means I have built my fitness back, am not always injuring and makes me mentally satisfied with myself. Being able to excerise has proved slightly difficult over the past few years. Since I stopped specific strength training and my strength has ebbed away I’ve injured myself on a regular basis. My body seems to just give out and I know myself well enough to just stop – even if that means I get on a downer about it for a month or so.
Something more than the gym…
When we moved to Ripon I wanted to find some kind of exercise class to join in with to build that strength back up and in my googling I came across Urban Circus. They do a range of amazing looking classes such as arieal hoop, yoga, handstands and flexibility.
Of course, for me, the temptation to try pole was now huge and so I took the plunge and booked my first class – and man, am I glad I did.
If I was ever in any doubt that it was not going to be a solid workout I was soon proved wrong by the amount my body aches after my first class (last Monday) and more than three days later I was still recovering. I hurt in places I didn’t even know could hurt and the bruises are still here eight days later. But I was buzzing – it really felt like something seriously challenging but fun that I could get stuck into long term.
The warm-up in itself was intense and took us through a range of exercises to warm up every part of the body. I’d certainly built up a sweat just doing that but I very soon learned why it was so important, as we went into spins.
As it was my first class, I wasn’t used to the strain it would put on my arms, shoulders and back and actually wished I’d spent a few extra minutes doing more of a warm up on my upper body despite the intense workout we’d just been put through.
Keri, who led the class, was unbelievably supportive and showed me what to do step by step and I was soon having lots of fun working on my grip as I spun my bodyweight around the pole. The control you learn to have over your body is on another level – making all your limbs do all these different things while battling the fear of letting go and flinging yourself around. I won’t lie, there is a certain level of pain that you have to push through but everyone assured me the worst part is when you start and your body adapts… We’ll have to see about that!
For all the aches though I can’t stress how amazing I feel for having gone out, exercised and met some lovely people who all want the same thing as me – to have fun while getting fit.