I was trying to be clever and relate ‘Don’t run before you can walk’ to poling, but instead came out with the unfortunately more aggressive sounding ‘Don’t invert before you can spin!’ as a title.
The main message that I’m trying to convey, is to take your time and get each move right before trying harder moves – we need to keep ourselves safe!
I ask every student what their pole goal is or what they want to achieve from our pole fitness lessons. While some have more general aims like ‘get more toned’ or hopefully realistic ones like ‘Don’t fall off’, more often than not, I get ‘Go upside down.’
I think it’s really great for polers to have aims and know what they want to achieve – it helps you get there! Learning too fast or trying hard moves too soon can have a negative effect though.
The Early Days
Often in the first few lessons (sometimes even on the first) students ask me how long until they can go upside down. Every instructor is different and we all have a different class / course structures, but for my classes we have 3 courses of 4 lessons before we go upside down. That’s 12 hours of class time – 12 hours of poling to get you strong enough and confident enough to invert. When you think of it like that, that’s not very long to wait but I know it can feel like an eternity. By this point they done loads of spins on both sides, pole climbs and seats as well as countless pole strength and conditioning exercises.
Cheeky White Lies
Now if you turn up to a different class and pretend that you can invert – your instructor will find out if you have never tried to invert! There’s no point pretending, we all had to start somewhere but as a student you’ll get more out of a class from your level rather than trying something too hard too soon.
Yesterday I was running a class for a different company who chose what level of class people could go in as they have been poling with them privately – sometimes for years. As with a lot of places, they are separated into beginners, intermediate and advanced. One lady did the beginners class and asked the organisers if she could stay for the intermediate class. They asked if she could invert and she said yes… I started teaching the class with some inverted moves suitable for that level, working up to a butterfly. When seeing each student, she asked me how to go upside down, this time I asked her if she had ever gone upside down before, and told me she hadn’t.
I know it’s really exciting to try to invert but in this case, not only did she not have enough strength but it could have been dangerous for her to try. To my knowledge, she had only ever had 2 classes. I made her practice the leg position from the floor and then practice some seats.
With all of the social media sites we have today, new pole moves are literally at our fingertips. It’s so easy (and I have done it many times) to just type ‘advanced pole moves’ into YouTube and see if there are any moves that we fancy trying.
With everyone doing tutorials, they make it look so much easier than it actually is. Therefore when you try it, it will be just as easy. A lot of the time, sadly it is not. I know I’ve found many easy looking moves to try… And immediately fail at them. One that springs to mind is a Batwing. It was a very painful day where I got stuck on the pole and nearly fell off. Needless to say I have yet to master that one. I’ve since seen a tutorial going into it from a different invert which seems a lot easier. If only I’d seen that one first. I’m just lucky enough to have a 6’6 partner who is usually around to help me if I get stuck, but I can’t imagine that everyone does.
Finding Out The Hard Way
My Facebook feed quite literally reads like a pole moves book, I love it! Every day I scroll down, I end up with 20 new moves to try. A lot of the time I have no idea how to get into them and give it a go at home. I find that the ones that look the easiest are often the hardest to actually do!
I’ve now got into a really bad habit of going from move to move to move. I’m always working on deadlifts, no matter what I try and other moves often become pole road kill. By this I mean I try one move until I get it, try it 3 times so I know I’ve got it and then move on. Sure, I get the moves done but not very well. Usually enough for a picture and that’s it! I do try it on both sides but don’t often nail it on both, and when I go back to it a few weeks later, the move isn’t well achieved, if at all.
I’m a classic example of trying too much too soon. On the plus side, I’m always working on deadlifts so I suppose I’m getting stronger, but I’m just not stopping long enough to appreciate the moves.
I was trying a Titanic for a few months and couldn’t get it, then one day it all clicked into place. I spent the rest of that day making sure that I could do it, although only on one side despite my best efforts. I then needed a rest for a few days due to pain from over gripping! I moved on to other moves and only came back to this a few weeks later, and to my surprise I couldn’t do it! I couldn’t even remembered which leg I moved!
My New Attitude
The more masterclass I go to, the more I realise that I need to nail every move on both sides properly. I get really excited when I first get it, but move on too soon.
I would love to be able to teach every move that I’ve ever done but I know that some of them definitely aren’t stronger enough and I’m not graceful enough getting into it. Some of them I need to take a few minutes just to think how to get into it!
We all know we love pole and are in it for the long haul. I know you might want to rush into your inverts but you need to make sure you are strong enough first. Why try a move where you might fall and hurt yourself and then lose confidence? Make sure you can do all of the prerequisites for each move before moving on.
Be proud of yourself for each move that you do. We work hard, we are athletes and we should celebrate each move!
Enjoy poling 🙂