Pole fitness 101 injury prevention

September 30, 2009

iStock_pole with handsWith world wide popularity of pole fitness, certain injuries have emerged, rendering injury prevention a top priority.

Pole Fitness, is a highly physical sport, much like gymnastics and the aerial arts, particularly, in the intermediate levels on up. All major muscle groups in the body are used while pole dancing. However, the upper body muscles are very crucial for the strength required to lift, hold and move the body about the pole; and are in constant motion with every pole move. The muscles that fall in these four groups are: upper back muscles, shoulder muscles, chest muscles and arm muscles.

Because of the continual use of these muscles, rotator cuff injuries, pulled muscles and wrist sprain/pain are on the rise.

Overuse is one of the main causes of injuries. Pole dancing can become addictive. For those who take a liking to the pole; want to “perfect” their pole moves and will practice morning, noon and night. They often incorporate other strenuous exercise like yoga or weight lifting into their regimen, not allowing the muscles to rest and regroup.

Overused muscles = quicker injuries.

Working ones way up from the basic classes to the more advanced classes, with patience and care is essential in building up these muscle groups safely. A new student should never be allowed to invert or climb in their very first class. A body needs to condition itself for these types of moves. The question that comes up most often by new students is: When will I be ready to move on to the next level? Individual progression rates are based on a multitude of factors. However, one of the most crucial factors is individual physical fitness levels, which varies from person to person. Therefore progression rates will be different. Pole moves should be taught in a progressive manner. One move should lead to the next, not jumping in head first, so to speak. The exception is if someone has had prior pole fitness at another studio, then beginner may not be necessary. Talk to a qualified instructor of the pole fitness studio you are considering attending for more information

Patience can’t be stressed enough. Often times women who want to try pole fitness will want to start at the somewhat advanced levels already (not understanding that pole dancing isn’t as easy as it looks) however, like any new fitness regimen, starting at the beginning is best. A good instructor will know when a student is ready to move on.

Because injuries are at their highest when the muscles are cool, a minimum 10 minute warm-up and 10-15 cool-down and stretch should always be incorporated before any workout.

Cool muscles = potential injuries.

Liability insurance, both individual and studio coverage, is another means of protection if injured. Accidents can happen, even with the most experienced of instructors, even with “crash pads”. To use crash pads or not is up to individual pole studios. Some feel that crash pads provide a false sense of security and do not use them. The school of thought is that if someone is being trained to fall properly there is no need for crash pads. As well, a good instructor will watch the student like a hawk, establish their level of ability, physically; and spot the student according to the move being preformed.

Most importantly, know your own body and what it is capable of and heed the warning signs. Proceed with that knowledge in mind and your injuries will be at a minimum.

This helpful article was by Carmen Cash from the Examiner.

Benefits of Pole Dancing

September 23, 2009

Dance-Pole-X-Pole-Dancing-Pole-Pole dancing itself is a sport and a skill. It incorporates gymnastic, ballet and modern dance movements around a polished pole. There are endless varieties of tricks that can be performed in a choreographed dance routine. You will be able to learn many of the pole skills through practice. The movements include spins, climbs, static poses and body inverts. The pole dancer may add some floor work and sexy filler moves that complete the dance routine.

There are 3 main styles when it comes to learning the art of pole. These consist of exotic dance, empowerment and pole fitness. People decide to take up pole dance for different reasons. You should try all the different varieties to find out which of the genres you prefer.

Exotic dance is what some people will probably think of when they first hear about pole dancing. This is sometimes the sleazy image that comes to mind but this is not necessarily the case. It does make some women feel ‘sexy’ and they will want to keep some form of exotic dancing involved in their pole dance routine. It has evolved from something performed in a strip related environment but it has developed into a form of art. This type of dancing can be ‘beautiful’ to watch. Some performances have even been likened to a gliding swan.

Many women have experienced empowerment though practising the art of pole. It can provide emotional benefits like an increased feeling of self confidence and provide an all over feeling of well being. It can make you feel stronger, taller and confident.

It is now a recognised form of exercise. It is used as an aerobic workout and for both strength and toning. Participants can expect toning from head to toe and an increase in muscle definition all over especially in the arms, thighs and buttocks. For those interested in statistics, a good session can burn up to 400 calories an hour. That’s the equivalent of two Mars Bars.

It helps by increasing flexibility, improving your posture and overall fitness, whilst enjoying fun dance moves, and all without wondering what you look like. You certainly need strength, flexibility and the ability to express yourself through dance and fitness to get the most from your dancing. The good news is that you do not need to be extremely fit or flexible when you first start, you can gradually build up your skills, strength and flexibility. It is suitable for any figure, of any age or any fitness level.

So go on why not give Pole Dance a whirl!

Article by Tracy Lloyd from Ezine Article

Pole dancing safety tips

September 9, 2009

poledancePole dancing can become a strenuous physical activity, so it’s important that you be in reasonably good shape before you even take your first swing around the pole. As always, you may want to consult your doctor before starting any new fitness programs. Pole dancing also has a few other safety considerations you should keep in mind.

  1. No Lotions: You should not have any type of lotion or oil on your hands before pole dancing. You need as much friction as possible so as not to fall off the pole. It’s also a good idea to wipe the pole down before beginning.
  2. Start with Sneakers: While you may want to build up to wearing high heels while pole dancing, it’s wise to learn new moves in sneakers. Dancing in heels can be dangerous, particularly if you are attempting unfamiliar, athletic moves. If you do decide to switch to heels at some point, don’t start with stilettos or platforms! Weardance heels with a rubber bottom, wide base and ankle strap.
  3. Give Yourself Some Room: You’re going to be spinning around on the pole with your legs and arms extended so be sure to give yourself enough clearance. You don’t want to build momentum and go flying into your television set. Keep your pole dancing practice area unobstructed.
  4. Check the Pole’s Stability: It’s worth saying again. Check and recheck your pole’s stability. It should be secure and able to take your full body weight.
  5. Warm Up: Because pole dancing is an athletic form of dance, you’ll want to be sure your body is warmed up before starting. Your abs, quadriceps and arms deserve special attention.
  6. Don’t Jump Up on the Pole: You don’t want to throw your body at or around the pole. You build momentum for spins by walking around the pole and swinging your outside leg towards it. You pull yourself up onto the pole with your arms and abs. At no point should you really be jumping up onto it. You don’t want to bang yourself up.
  7. Dress Appropriately: When you’re first starting out, it’s important to wear comfortable clothes you can move in as opposed to constricting, “sexy” garments. If you’re a more advanced student who intends on learning inversions, you will want to expose your arms and legs in order to get more traction on the pole. As a beginner, standard gym attire is perfectly appropriate. Nothing excessively baggy, however. You don’t want your clothing to obstruct your movement.

These tips were provided by Mahalo.com

Olympic sport?

September 2, 2009

A VERY interesting article from Softpedia.com

A new form of fitness is currently being considered for inclusion among the sports at the Olympic Games. While the routine itself dates from many years ago and comes with connotations that would make some blush to the roots of the hairs, the founder of the Pole Fitness Association, Collette Kakuk, is telling Marie Claire it’s time to cast prejudices aside and welcome the new form of fitness at the Games. olympics

Speaking with the women’s magazine in a new interview, Kakuk stresses that the time when the routine was limited to a certain type of joints and clubs has long gone, since more and more women – and even men – acknowledge the health benefits the sport entails. In all fairness, experts and trainers do admit that pole dancing is one of the most efficient and fun ways of staying in shape since it engages all muscle groups while also defining them better than other routines.

If you look at rhythmic gymnastics and figure skating, so many of the movements are similar to what we do on the pole. We have to shatter the taboo. The pole is just another fitness apparatus, like a vertical balance beam.” Kakuk tells Marie Claire about the purpose behind the petition to include it in the Games. Should this be granted, athletes would appear barefoot and in fitness gear (like runners, for instance) that would allow them to be able to stick to the “fitness apparatus” without slipping. Judges would note athletes based on criteria such as “Leg extension, flexibility, elevation, and control,” Kakuk adds.

As of now, the PFA founder and trainer says, the Olympics Committee has not yet made a decision on the request. What it did do though was let the PFA know the criteria it met so far. One of them is international support, which the new form of fitness has plenty of, being practiced for this purpose in over 50 countries. Still, “we have 110,000 signatures on our petition. But we need to unify the sport. We don’t even have common names for our moves.” Kakuk adds.

If the Committee grants the petition, at first there will only be women’s competitions, since “most guys just offer to be judges anyhow,” as Kakuk puts it. They’re not to expect smiles and come-thither glances though: this is sports. As such, some moves will also be banned from the competition.