With 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.