We’ve all seen her In the club, on Instagram, Snapchat, and at your local fitness studio. She pulls herself up to the top, then slides down into a perfect split right before extending herself into a flawless brass monkey; leaving you to wonder, “How the hell does she do that without breaking her neck?!”. In fact, if we take a moment to be honest with ourselves, we all have thought about being her: seductive, confident, and if the right song plays, slightly ratchet.
So when the opportunity presented itself at my sorority sister’s bachelorette weekend, I couldn’t resist the chance to see just how flexible and talented I could be on a pole. As the instructor, a cute average height bombshell, began class with a simple warm up to familiarize us with the pole, what many of us overzealous first timers missed as we smiled and giggled at the thought of shaking our booty around the pole was the part where she gently explained how pole dancing is not just about being sexy (although that does come into play) but in fact is also a stimulating work out for the mind, body and soul. Nevertheless by the end of the class through the cheers, laughs, risqué routines and aching calf muscles, we realized pole dancing is just that: a sexy little pastime and so much more.
Physically, pole dancing provides a full body workout by mixing pilates, yoga, and weight training techniques that simultaneously burn calories and tone your muscles. As an intensive upper body sport, many of the exercises require you to support your entire body weight by using your arms and stomach muscles, providing the same results as weight lifting or crunches. In some instance, the more complex routines can tone your glutes, inner thighs, and calf muscles as you climb up the pole and switch positions. Not only will you see yourself becoming more toned, but you can also burn anywhere from 200-300 calories per session due to the upbeat dance moves incorporated into the routines. Pole dancing is a great way to enhance your mobility and flexibility. As you experiment with new moves, you increase your coordination, balance, and limberness; preventing muscle soreness and stiffness, and improving your kinesthetic awareness.
Mentally, pole dancing is a great and fun way to relieve stress. As the day to day demands including work obligations and relationships take a toll on our mental state, it causes adrenaline to build up making us more anxious and easily annoyed. An intense pole dancing session provides an opportunity to release some adrenaline causing the body to produce endorphins. Theses hormones are associated with the feelings of euphoria that will ultimately leave you happier and more relax.
Emotionally, pole dancing is a big confidence booster and a great way to network and make new friends. In a culture where women are told that they must look like an Instagram model to be considered beautiful, or that a size 8 is the perfect criteria for a plus size model and anything beyond that is unruly; a place that allows you to flaunt your body in a safe, supportive, and enjoyable environment is rare. With the attire being less clothes and more skin, you begin to feel empowered, sensual, and seductive as you learn to embrace the way your body naturally bends and hips rotate with every spin, dip, and lean.
Instructor Sasha Rocket of GirlFit Workout Studio, believes the feeling of sexiness is just a bonus. The true testimony of confidence is birthed from the support you receive by other women in the class when you build up enough courage to try a new move or create your own routine to share. It’s in that moment that you can see the true essence of sisterhood unfolding, and a woman coming into her own; whatever her own is.
Despite the three days it took to recover from a failed attempt at a backwards showgirl (trust me, it is as complicated as it sounds), looking back, the experience itself provided a fun, unique, and exhilarating workout that brought my sorority sisters and I closer, while reminding us the importance of loving ourselves inside and out. As a result, pole dancing has become an intricate part of my workout plan and is a great conversation starter when I’m encouraging other women to give it a try. Besides, what other place in the world can you unapologetically dance around in 6 inch heels, with barely anything on, and not have someone throw money at you or be subjected to harassment from a guy wondering if you can have friends? Not that many. Let loose and enjoy yourself Happy dancing!