Let’s face it – on the pole we tend to have one side that we prefer to use – it’s usually stronger and more coordinated… And then we have our ‘bad side’. This tends to be the weaker arm or leg – we have less control of it and for some reason we just don’t like to use it as much.
If you’ve read one of my articles or been to a class, you know how much I try to get across just how important it is to use both sides of our bodies as equally as we can.
When I was first learning to pole, I definitely called my right side my strong side and my left was my weaker side. I’m pretty sure (as it was a long time ago!) that I tried my spins on both sides. I definitely know that I didn’t try my climbs, seats or inverts on the other side, simply because I have had to work hard to even up both sides. For me the importance of training both sides equally, came when I was trying inverted transitions and realised that I started on my ‘good side’ and ended up on my ‘bad side.’ It’s so frustrating having to go back over moves that you thought you had nailed, because you can’t do them on your ‘bad side.’
Let’s Fix This!
One piece of advice I wish I had been told was just how important it is to train everything on both sides. I now make sure that I do each move 5 times on each side – sometimes when it comes to painful moves like a Knee Hold I allow myself to stop after 3 😉
So the first step is to get rid of our ‘bad side’ because we don’t have one! If you like, you can have a ‘good side’ and a ‘greater side’ or simply right and left. The point is to start telling yourself that you can do these moves on both sides. Negativity isn’t going to get you upside down!
And now we have to try… but actually try – don’t trick yourself into thinking that you are doing both sides if you are not! After every move we have tried in class I ask every student if they have tried both sides. If they say no, we do the other side. Every so often we will go to do the other side a week later and someone will tell me they have never tried it before – this is when I learn that they only tried their preferred side last time in class. The problem here is that you’re only hurting yourself. You’ll work on one side of the body and get great at those moves but will struggle when doing transitions, combinations and routines. Let’s not forget about muscle imbalances and problems that can occur from that! If nothing else, even up both sides! You wouldn’t just do a bicep curl on one arm, so don’t do it on the pole!
It Takes Time
We all know that one side is stronger than the other, so it makes sense that it will take one side longer to build up muscles than the other. So when it comes to pole, you will quite often find that some moves come quickly than others on one side rather than the other. I still make sure I work both sides but to my level. With spins you can do both sides easily enough – one side might be one handed, and the other two handed. When it comes to inverts you might be working on hard tricks one side and can’t get up on the other – and that’s fine. Keep trying just to invert and you will get there, and then you can start to add on other moves. You may be working Extended Butterfly one side and Butterfly on the other. You get the idea. Just keep trying!
The Great News
The fantastic thing about working both sides is that you can surprise yourself and can get better results on your ‘good’ rather than ‘great’ side. I have a much stronger outside knee hook on my good side and therefore moves using an outside knee hook are strong than my ‘great’ side! I also prefer my Jade and accidentally did an aerial invert on my left shoulder thinking it was my great side when it’s my good side. Moments like those are great as it means you are progressing and evening out both sides!
So do you always train both sides as evenly as you can? Or do you cheat a little now and then? Either way keep training and try to even out both sides – you will get stronger! 😀