Pole Dancing for Fitness & Confidence

With more dedicated pole dancing schools and gym classes than ever before, pole has well and truly graduated from strip club gimmick to bona fide fitness all-star. But booty shorts and (very) high heels aside, it’s been a long time coming for the general perception of pole dancing to shift from an erotic association to one of serious fitness.

And it’s not for the faint hearted. A typical pole session is a rigorous full-body workout lasting anywhere from 90 minutes to two hours. Devotees can’t praise the results enough: toned and trimmed problem areas, improved flexibility and increased core strength.

Director of Blush Dance School Sarah Martin says that although the misconception still remains that people partake in pole dancing to perform or compete, the majority of her students do indeed approach it as a serious form of fitness:

“Pole dancing has come a very long way since I started 10 years ago,’ she says. ‘I think people are now starting to appreciate the strength and difficulty it requires. Learning and mastering new tricks builds your muscle tone, while putting the moves all together in a sequence increases stamina and raises your heart rate.”

Artemis Reyne (pictured) has been pole dancing for three years. She says that not only was it the best fitness choice she ever made, pole has also vastly improved her confidence and self-esteem:

“I haven’t miraculously shrunk to a size six, but my strength has improved astronomically, my flexibility has improved and I’m a lot more toned,’ She explains. ‘And I really get a kick out of busting-out chin ups on the outdoor gym equipment down at Bondi and freaking out all the beefy guys.”

Sarah agrees. “It is the challenges of pole that greatly improve self-esteem,’ she explains. ‘The accomplishment of a difficult trick greatly boosts self confidence.”

Although every school or gym teaches pole dancing differently, classes are usually structured around ‘levels’ containing tricks or maneuvers that gradually increasing in difficulty. At Blush Dance School, levels start with Beginners, followed by Intermediate, Advanced and Master courses. Each course is taught over a six-week period, consisting of one hour-long session per week. After an initial warm-up, the session focuses on a ‘catalogue’ of pole moves, spins and tricks to condition the core, followed by a cool down and stretching.

At an Advanced level, students can expect to start mastering more difficult and cutting-edge tricks like the extreme invert Artemis is demonstrating in the picture above.  And while she agrees that pole dancing can be a physically challenging journey, for Artemis the true benefits of pole will always be more than skin deep:

“After a lot of hard work, I’ve achieved things I would have never thought possible and it’s given me the kind of confidence that keeps me going and makes me proud of who I am,” says Artemis. “I might not be a ‘skinny mini’ but who cares; I can flip myself upside-down in the air and hang off a pole with one leg!”