So you’ve made a resolution to get fit and have fun learning to pole dance this year. Perhaps you even got a new pole for Christmas.
You’ve watched the videos on YouTube, drinking in the graceful spins and inverts. Now it’s your turn.
But something’s not quite right. Have you started a spin and ended up on the floor half way round? Do your hands slip down the pole when you’re actually trying to lift yourself up?
You’re not alone
A lot of people have problems slipping instead of gripping when they first start pole dancing. And though it’s less common, some people have the opposite problem – they just stick too much.
Unfortunately it’s not something that will ever go away completely, but it will lessen dramatically as your pole dancing improves.
Here are some of the most common things to look out for, along with links to articles that go into extra detail if you’d like to read a bit more.
Too little grip
Sweaty hands are one of the most common culprits, and almost everyone has problems with this at some point. I’ve talked about ways to combat sweaty hands before, but perhaps the most important thing you can do is just relax – pace yourself and don’t try to do it all at once.
Work those hands! Many pole dance moves need a lot of hand strength to pull off successfully – much more so than other sports – and you may need time to build up strength in your arms.
You’re in good company here too, but most people find it comes surprisingly quickly once they start practicing regularly – while you’re having fun on your pole, you’re also giving yourself a great workout and toning your body!
Too much grip
It’s less common, but you may just seem to stick to the pole too much. Gripping too hard can cause you to ‘bunny hop’ while spinning round the pole (imagine bad clutch control on a manual car). Not perhaps the most graceful of movements!
Make a conscious effort to loosen your grip a little in easier moves, and try launching into spins a bit more enthusiastically, so you get a better feel for the limits of adhesion on the pole.
Just like too little grip, it’s a problem that will naturally go away as you gain confidence in your pole work.
Tips for consistent grip
- Clean your pole regularly. Before, during and after use. Just wiping it down with a damp cloth is pretty effective, though using a cleaning product can give even better results if your pole manufacturer allows it. I personally find acetone (nail polish remover) is really effective. More about cleaning your pole →
- Clean yourself regularly too! If you start to get a bit sweaty, dry your hands and legs off so you don’t end up smearing it all over the pole. And while it’s not good to make a habit of it, a quick dab of acetone on the hands and inner thighs will give an immediate dryness to the skin to help get you through those crucial moments. More products to help you grip the pole →
- Use a towel to clean the pole. It may seem obvious, but the thicker fabric and texture of a towel is much more effective at removing any grime or sticky residue on your pole.
- Think about what you’re wearing. Your clothes can make a huge difference to your pole dancing. Wearing a pair of pole shoes or boots can seriously effect on your pole prowess too.
Pole moves to help you stick
- Hang tough – Simple, but effective. The hang tough really develops your grip, building strength in your hands. I’ve often started classes by getting everyone to hold a hang tough for as long as they can!
- The fang focuses on building grip in your thighs, again allowing your strength (and perhaps pain threshold!) to develop.
Pole moves to help you slip
- Spins – Concentrate on a variety of spins. Kick off with as much momentum as you can and try to make your spins as consistent and smooth as possible.
- Floater transition – As it’s a one handed move, the floater transition should take advantage of your extra sticking power and help you start gliding round the pole. Hopefully it will give you a feel for the overall level of grip needed to spin effectively too.