By KAITLYN ANDREWS
Pole dancing is a full body workout everyone can benefit from.
Whether you’re young, old, big or small pole dancing uses the entire body in ways of strength training, flexibility and promotes a positive persona in those who use this method of exercise.
“Everybody can benefit from pole dancing,” said Shanyn Pollard, owner and instructor at Shanyn’s Artistic Strength Studio (SASS), in Stoney Creek. “I say that because I’ve had every walk of life come in here: men, women, kids, all ages, youngest was seven, oldest was 67 and they’ve all benefited from it in one way or another.”
Pole dancing is a type of exercise that combines aerobics, gymnastics, dance and strength training. Due to all the moves, climbing the pole, spins, inversions, and limb grips, it makes this a very versatile form of exercise.
It’s estimated you can burn between 320 to 485 calories per hour; however, results vary among people because everyone’s body is different. Because of the emphasis it has on core and arm work (especially) you build lean muscle, which can help your metabolism.
“I went from a size 14 to a size 10,” said Samantha Ellison, a jewelry store manager, who has been dancing for about two months.
There is no specific diet for this work out but a well-balance meal plan is advised.
“As a health professional, I encourage people to eat well, drink lots of water. But as far as this goes, you can maintain any diet you currently adhere to,” said Pollard. “But clean eating is going to benefit any fitness regimen.”
Pole dancing requires skin. This is not for the purpose of being sexy; you need your stomach, legs and arms exposed so you can grip the pole. This all depends on the level of dancing you’re at. You can wear a tank top as you begin your training, but pants or leggings restrict you from being able to grip the pole for majority of the moves.
Dancers at this studio say it’s okay to be shy but the close-knit community is full of support.
“Everybody is just so supportive of each other and they help each other and they work together,” said Kelly Winger, 55, who’s been pole dancing for three years.
“If somebody is up on the pole and they can’t get something, they’re all helping: ‘Put your arm here, do that!’ And when they finally do get it everyone is clapping and happy.”
“Whether you’re ever going to get it yourself you’re still so happy that they get the trick that they’ve been working on.”
Some basic moves include, the Front Hook Spin, the Stag Spin and the Fireman Spin.
The Front Hook Spin: begin walking forward around the pole with your inside arm holding onto the pole. Hook your inside leg around the front of the pole and bring your outside arm to the pole and your outside leg will be last to come into position.
The Stag Spin: begin walking forward around the pole with your inside arm holding onto the pole. Hook your outside leg around the front of the pole and bring your outside arm to the pole. Your inside leg should be bent backward with your toes pointing toward your backside.
The Fireman Spin: begin walking forward around the pole with your inside arm holding onto the pole. Using your outside leg to gain momentum, swing and hook it around the front of the pole. As your inside leg leaves the floor, bring your outside arm to the pole and cross your legs at the ankles as you slide down the pole.
Pole dancing may be dangerous without the proper training and safety precautions should be considered.
Many people assume it’s easy and try it with friends and can end up with intense back and neck pain or even end up with much more serious injuries to the spine.
Pole dancing is a huge confidence boost. A lot of people who use this form of exercise come out feeling more attractive and confident.
“Mostly I find with my girls that their confidence increasing quite a bit,” said Pollard.
“Honestly, pole has been such a positive influence in my life,” said Sophie Adair, a bartender and student who has been pole dancing for two years.
“You don’t need a background in dance; you don’t need a background in gymnastics; you can be any size, any shape and you can start and it’s just such a supportive, positive community.”
“Performance wise, the confidence boost it gives you, I never had that anywhere else I’ve performed for other sports and music and it’s nothing in comparison to this,” said Alicia Archbell, who has been dancing for three years.
“I can actually do a push up down, grace, I no longer fall over my own feet!”
There are a lot of opinions based around this form exercise, both positive and skeptical.
“I think why pole dancing can be so shocking is because women are taught that we’re not strong and that we need to keep our legs together,” said Sheena Winger, an educational assistant and pole dancer for six and a half years, who is proud of what she does.
“When we come to pole dancing we are strong and we stretching our body any way we like, whatever is comfortable for us.”
“We do splits in the air, on the pole and we find it liberating because we were taught not to be this way when we were younger.”
Strength training, flexibility and confidence are all major benefits of pole dancing, as well as being a part of a close, supportive community full of encouragement.
“Come in with an open attitude and just let loose and have fun and be open to the experience because it is a good time,” said Pollard.