February 2021 marks the two-year anniversary of my pole fitness journey with The Diva Dive. So far, the journey has been both unexpected and completely rewarding. Here are five key lessons I’ve learned about pole fitness in the past two years:
#1: Don’t Panic and Don’t Let Go
This is the golden rule of pole fitness. No matter what you do, don’t panic and don’t let go. If you remember nothing else, make it this.
#2: You Will Improve In Every Class
In my very first pole class, Miss Samantha and I went over the basics of pole class and maintenance: wiping your pole down before and after class, how to be respectful of the equipment, and the best body stretches and conditioning to help with pole.
Sitting spread eagle on the floor, she asked me how high I could lift my leg off the ground. The answer was: not at all. We tried to do a few repetitions of leg pumps, but my legs barely moved. I tried to channel all my muscle into one leg. I tried mind control. Nothing worked. I looked over at Miss Samantha, who with all the grace of a ballerina, lifted both her legs outward, toes pointed, to show me what she was looking for. This is cute, I thought, but too bad I can’t do it. I was a year-round swimmer for 12 years growing up. I still had the muscle (albeit most of them had been laying dormant for several years), but I did not have the posture or discipline of a gymnast or a dancer. Miss Samantha assured me I would get there someday.
In my two-year experience, I believe that repetition is key. When I started out, I couldn’t do most things. I couldn’t climb. I couldn’t hold my weight on the pole. I certainly couldn’t invert. But within six months of 2-3 classes per week, I could. (Starting out, my weeks usually consisted of a Beginner class, an Intermediate Prep class, and a Pole Choreography or Beginner Spin class.) And every new move was a tiny victory that made me thirsty for more.
#3: Complement Your Pole Classes with Fitness Training
Pole exercise is a workout that requires a lot from your muscles. It’s important to get plenty of rest throughout the week to allow your muscles to recover. I never do more than three classes or pole sessions per week, but I complement these sessions with fitness training to round out my exercise routine.
Luckily, The Diva Dive offers fitness classes! You can do Yoga with Miss Alexzandrea or whip yourself into shape with Miss Sally’s Booty Boot Camp or Pilates classes. Another great supplement to pole fitness is flexibility training. At The Diva Dive, you can take conditioning classes, adult ballet classes, and even Intro to Contortion classes with Miss Aisha!
#4: Pole Fitness Is Not Your Average Fitness Experience
It’s true that pole fitness is not your typical gym fitness experience. It’s what I like to call “boutique fitness:” a smaller studio with specialized equipment and a focus on learning new skills. Small classes also allow more of a teacher/student focus with feedback for each individual.
If you are looking for a high-intensive fitness regimen, pole might not be the fit for you. You will most likely not be sweating at the end of a pole class. However, if you are looking for something that will help build muscle, tone, and flexibility, this is a perfect fit. (If you do want to sweat, take Miss Sally’s Booty Boot Camp or ‘80s Aerobics fitness classes.)
#5: Everyone Is On Their Own Journey
In pole, everyone is on their own journey. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses and some people might need to work on something longer to get it. Everyone goes at their own pace. All of the teachers at the Diva Dive are so supportive and encouraging. They’ve created a culture of positivity in their studio and they meet each individual where they are. Don’t get discouraged if someone else in your class learns something faster than you. You will get there eventually. Don’t judge yourself based on anyone else in class. Judge yourself on your last class, and keep your own improvement in mind. What did you do in class today that you couldn’t do in your last class?
When I started two years ago, I couldn’t do anything. Two years later, I can do the following moves very well: Outside / Inside Leg Hangs, Scissor Climbs up the pole, Aerial Inverts, Butterfly / Jemilla into Butterfly, Laybacks into Iguana/Fang/Archer and Diva Dive, Zombie, Teddy and Broken Teddy, Dangerous Bird, Marley, Nose Breakers, Poisson into Brass Monkey, Genie, and Superman.
And if you stick with it, you will build your own portfolio of moves, too.