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3 Ways You Might Be Sabotaging Your Pole Practice

By on July 12, 2017

Whether you’re a home poler or you frequent a local studio, chances are you’ve encountered obstacles along your pole journey that keep you from progressing as quickly as you hope. Some of these might be completely out of your hands. We can’t necessarily help it when our studio’s class schedule changes and conflicts with work or our financial state shifts and no longer supports our pole habits. But in many situations, the only thing impacting your pole progress…is yourself.

Despite your best intentions to be a great pole student, it’s possible that you’re actually sabotaging your own pole practice. It’s rarely purposeful—you probably don’t even notice you’re doing it! Many of these behaviors may seem minor and are easily overlooked, but can ultimately have a big impact on your pole journey. Take a good look at some of these common self-sabotaging behaviors and determine whether any of them might apply to you. I’ve included some simple tips to help get you on track so you can stop holding yourself back in your pole practice.



Showing up late or ducking out early

Are you one of those students who is always rushing into class juuust a few minutes late? Or constantly needs to slip out of class a few minutes early? While that happens to most of us occasionally, making it a habit can start to impact your pole practice. If you’re always running in the door a few minutes late, you’re probably missing some key portions of class, whether that’s announcements from your instructor, the warm-up that prepares your body to safely participate, or an activity that your teacher uses to set the stage for the class. If you’re packing up your stuff before class is over, chances are you’re missing out on that final stretch that keeps your muscles happy.

Respect your body and yourself (not to mention your classmates and instructors) by committing to arriving on class on time and ready to move, and by remaining focused until the very end. Getting in your full time is sure to help your pole progress.

  • Have a pole bag that contains everything you need for class (grip, pole cleaning materials, back-up shorts, snack, etc.) so that everything is easy to find when you’re rushing to class and you can arrive to class prepared.
  • Avoid signing up for classes that push the boundaries of your schedule. I know—sometimes the studio schedule and your Muggle life schedule don’t mesh perfectly and you have to make the best of it, but doing what you can to select classes that don’t cause you to rush will make everyone involved less stressed.
  • Poling at home? Set timers for your warm-up and cool down to ensure you don’t skimp on either one and get a well-rounded practice.

This move’s probably going to take some practice.


Rushing through skills in class

Ever found yourself trying a skill just once or twice in pole class before deciding to move on? Sounds like self-sabotage!

It can be tempting to try out a skill once or twice (particularly if your instructor is teaching material that is familiar to you) and move on to something else, but keep in mind that improving your skills comes from practice. That means working on a move until it becomes second nature—not just until you can hold it long enough for a quick photo.

  • Reviewing familiar material in class? Going into any skill with a beginner’s mind will benefit you in the long run. Listen for new cues and notice creative transitions. We can all continue to expand our knowledge of even the most basic skills.
  • Challenge yourself to not just learn new tricks, but to know them inside and out. Do you know multiple entrances and exits into the move? Does it look different if you play with the pacing? Can you make it totally smooth on both sides?

Finally getting around to experimenting with these resistance bands I got from @rubberbanditz . Planches are kind of my jam, and these bands are great for those of you training your tabletops, skylines, shoulder mount planches, and of course deadlifts and iron-x. I found they work best looped around a leg or foot, but the waist works too for Starfish training. Just be careful getting into and out of the bands — it can take a bit of flexibility and coordination if the band is looped too high around the pole. I’m using the purple ‘Robust Resistance’ bands, which are super heavy duty, lightweight and stayed in place when wrapped around the pole. The @rubberbanditz guys have a booth at @poleexpo this year, so hit them up if and they’ll show you other exercises you can do with a band and a pole. They’re cool dudes! #pole #polefitness #poledance #polesport #poleconditioning #resistancebands #exercisebands #exercise #fitness #strength #workout

A post shared by Natasha Wang (@polecricket) on

Keeping up your training when you’re busy is tough, but the results are worth it.

Training inconsistently

Are you attending classes only sporadically and still wishing you could nail some of those big moves? Or do you start to make some solid progress…only to take a few weeks off and feel like you have to start over? Your lack of routine might be sabotaging your pole practice.

I get it. Pole might not be the center of your universe at all times. That said, it’s worth doing a little self-assessment to see if you’re missing class because you’re really too busy, or if you’re missing class because somehow you got out of the routine. Like any fitness regiment, it can be easy to fall out of the habit of attending class or staying on top of your training if you aren’t on top of it…even if it’s a workout that you love!

So while there may be times in your life when you can’t or prefer not to pole as regularly (travel, major life changes, shifting towards alternative workouts, etc.), there may also be circumstances in which your pole practice is lapsing simply because you’re letting it. If it’s important to you to continue improving, then know that consistency in training is a must.

  • Put your money where your mouth is. If you want to keep your pole training consistent, then invest in the classes or instructional materials that help you do so. Schedule classes in advance (according to your studio’s policies) so that you’re more likely to actually make it into the studio.
  • If you’re training at home, set up a regular schedule and stick to it. (Easier said than done? Yes. Mastering skills takes work!). It can be tempting only to practice when you feel like it, but working even when you don’t feel like it can help you make it habit. (just don’t forget your rest days)
  • Don’t tip the scale to the other extreme—overtraining! Overtraining can lead to injury, which is just as damaging (if not more) to your pole journey as neglecting your training entirely. Work on finding a balance that keeps you happy and healthy.


Do any of these ring true for you? How else does self-sabotage show up in your pole practice? What are your tricks for staying on track?

Paige Lysaght

Paige Lysaght

is a Certified Health Coach, AFAA certified fitness instructor, and parkour and aerial arts studio owner.
Paige Lysaght

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