One of my students came along to class last night – but only to watch. She had injured herself at home during the week and was taking time to recover. As much as she wanted to get on the pole she knew she couldn’t, and so just took in all the information she could for when she is feeling better.
It turns out that she had fallen off of her pole at home and smashed her head on the corner of the wall. Not pleasant! Now let me be clear – when I say she feel off the pole, I mean that while she was on the pole, the pole fell down with her on it.
As well as minor cuts and bruises, she has a huge cut on the back of her head that was pouring with blood at the time. She now has to take it super easy as any fast movements can make her feel faint or pass out.
It’s Easily Done!
The problem at the moment is that there are so many different poles out there, it can be difficult to figure out what a good, safe pole is. Imagine you have no pole experience and have not yet been to a class, but want to buy a pole for at home use. You probably won’t have much idea of what kind of pole to get. The pole in question I believe was £50 and brand new. Now obviously it can be user error that brings the pole down, for example if you haven’t assembled it properly but as I’ll explain later, I think the pole is more to blame in this situation.
There are so many poles out there, and if they all claim to be safe and for pole fitness use, why would you think otherwise. Those of us who have spent more time in the pole world would never buy a new pole for that cheap. And for the rest of us – we have no reason why we shouldn’t – any pole we buy should be safe for us to use!
It’s All About Quality
I quite often get sent link to poles from students who want to buy a pole for home. While I have not tried out every brand of pole there is, I have used a lot and certainly know what constitutes a good pole – or not!
When people buy their first pole, it’s often quite early on in their pole fitness career. You know that point where you want to get better at your new hobby but don’t want to spend £200 on a pole just yet? You’ll go for something cheaper. I’m sure when I first bought a pole (after 3 courses of lessons) I was amazed by how ‘expensive’ they were – but now I know that you need to pay a bit more if you want to be safe.
A lot of pole adverts say they are suitable for home use while doing pole dancing and fitness moves. When you then look at the tiny, tiny print that people don’t always read, it says ‘not suitable for spins.’ Ridiculous. I know not everyone in the pole world wants to do the craziest flips and tricks they can find, but if I buy a pole I need to be able to use it and spin (at the very least!) without it falling down.
Since having had her pole fall down, she’s told me a little more about it. She could only spin one way as it unscrewed itself if she went the other way. The individual pieces of the pole slotted together, but didn’t have any safety locks or devices to keep the pieces in place. There were 3 of these pieces slotting together which made the pole wobbly. Not a good start!
How To Choose A Safe Pole
As the pole world expands, so does the amount of pole choices. Each time I go to a pole event, there seems to be a new pole launched. As I have mentioned, I haven’t tried every pole out there, but I have tried a lot!
So in general, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. As a rule, a good new pole (in the UK) will cost from £150 and depending on what type i.e. stage or made to measure, can add hundreds of pounds on to that. As a second hand pole, I would be sceptical if I found one for under £100. Of course there are bargains to be had but just be careful. I’ve had people buy second hand poles from friends, made by really good companies sold for around £50 that turned out to have bits missing and are unusable due to lack of care from the previous owner.
A few years ago I bought a second hand pole for the value of new pole, as the new poles were out of stock at the time. It turned out to be missing parts, was scratched and rusty, and does not spin, even though it’s meant to. It was made by a good company being sold through what I thought was a good, trustworthy website (which I no longer believe, for numerous reasons) but it was still a very bad pole to buy.
Our limiting factor when it comes to buying poles, is usually money. The good thing is that if you buy a good pole and take good care of it, you should be able to sell it on for good money – if you ever want to. You might spend more than you want to, but if you end up dedicated to pole then it doesn’t matter, and if you want to sell it, you can.
When students ask me what pole to buy, I suggest getting a similar one to the poles we have in class if they can – they will be used to these poles so it will make it easier for them when they are training at home. If you have the option, I would go for both a static and spinning pole – you may only be using one of these types at the moment, but you may end up wanting to use both. They don’t actually cost too much more either.
If you’re buying a pole whether second hand or brand new, find out as much as you can about it. If the pole is good, you should be able to find out a lot about it – if there is a weight limit or what kind of moves you can do on it – i.e. can you actually use it! You should be able to find out how to install it – there are often YouTube videos for this. Research as much as you can, and ask loads of questions. There are plenty of good Facebook groups where you can ask questions about poles if you are not sure.
Buying Second Hand
If you’re buying second hand, it’s even more important to ask questions, as you may not be able to complain to the seller to fix things. Quite often (like me with the pole that doesn’t spin) you won’t find out that the pole is broken until a while after you have bought it. They are getting rid of it for a reason after all.
Ask why they are getting rid of it – do they want a new pole (this means you’ll have the old version and may not be able to buy replacement parts) or just have no room for it anymore. How long have they had it for? What size is the pole – and don’t let them guess! Find out what type of pole it is and then do your own research.
Ask For Pictures
I know a lot of people use pictures from the manufacturers website to help sell their pole. If you look at real pictures, you can see it set up properly and if it has scratches which can become worse.
Ideally you should go to see the pole and ask the seller to show you how to put it up, when it’s up – test spinning if applicable, and how to disassemble it. In this way you’ll be able to see if it’s in a good working condition. Hopefully they will still have instructions and good bags (although pole bags are known for breaking very easily). If there is a little something wrong with the pole which isn’t a deal breaker – like a broken bag, you may even be able to knock the price down 😀
Going from personal experience and the fact that I use my poles to teach on rather than solely for personal use, I will always buy new poles. Usually manufacturers are really good and if needs be, send you new, spare or extra parts. Currently my pole of choice is an X-Pole but there are other great brands out there.
Those who have bought cheap poles usually end up buying a more expensive pole in the end, and find they can’t (or don’t try) to re-sell their cheap pole, as it just isn’t safe, or worth it.
There are so many more safety elements to poling at home than just getting a good pole – like mats and spotters, but for now poles are where we will start.
Get a good pole, ask around if you’re not sure and make sure you stay safe. Happy Poling 😀