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If you’ve ever tried pole dancing you’ll know that it’s a full body workout and involves the complete spectrum of fitness basics: cardio, strength, endurance and flexibility. So, why should you cross-train with other kinds of workouts if pole dance is so great?
Any kind of body weight/ heat training will up your pole game as you will find it easier to progress through pole moves when you get fitter and stronger. High-intensity, full body activities that use multiple muscle groups are more effective at engaging your entire core and creating heat, thereby building muscle and toning your body.
Prevent overtraining and injuries by working different muscle groups, and giving your overused pole muscles a rest day. As pole dancers, we tend to concentrate on strengthening our performance muscles i.e. those muscles which pull us up a pole or help us go upside down. Certain fitness regimes are synergetic with pole, as they work the stabilising or non-performance muscle groups, which would in turn provide the necessary support and work to control the movement created by our strong performance muscles.
Improve your body awareness. By moving the body in different ways, you create new brain pathways and muscle memory, which goes a long way in pole.
Choosing alternative activities provides opportunities to work on certain focus areas. For example, if you want to work on flexibility take yoga or stretching classes, if you want to work on movement flow try parkour, and if you want to work on artistic expression take dance classes.
Cardio gets you huffing and puffing. It burns calories fast, works your core, improves endurance and encourages the heart and lungs to pump oxygen to your muscles more effectively. Some examples of this is running, cycling, swimming, surfing, trampolining, climbing, boxing and ball sports like tennis, squash, netball, hockey and soccer.
In addition, any coordination based activities such as contemporary, jazz, modern and hip hop dance, ballet and capoeira will help with form, musicality, agility and technique.
Strength training gets your muscles moving and exerting force, improving functional strength. It builds lean muscle mass and provides a metabolic spike after a workout that continues burning fat while your body recovers. Some examples of this might be weight lifting, kettlebells, Cross Fit and bodyweight exercises such as calisthenics or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
Muscular endurance training is best described as repetitive activities that teach your muscles to exert force without getting fatigued. It’s all about learning your body and knowing when you can push out one more rep and when you should stop. Examples of this are bootcamp, conditioning, parkour, free running, plyometrics and some of the above cardio exercises.
Flexibility is more about working on your range of motion, stretching your muscles, moving from your core and improving your balance. Examples of activities that focus on flexibility include gymnastics, acro, yoga, antigravity yoga, pilates, tai chi, or Flex & Bend classes at The Pole Project! 😉 Martial arts such as kickboxing, MMA, judo, jiu-jitsu, karate and taekwondo also have an emphasis on flexibility.
In fact, things like yoga, tai chi and pilates are also great for improving focus and mindfulness. They all require discipline and have an emphasis on connecting with and moving from your core.
Before we go, let’s just chat about rest for a moment… giving your body a breather is an absolute must! Overuse of your muscles and joints can lead to serious injuries and diminish your passion for all sport, including pole. Here are some of the best ways to rest your body: