Let’s Play 20 Questions, Pole Dance Edition!

This month’s blog hop for pole dance bloggers is a Q&A  post answering a few of the most common questions posed to pole dancers everywhere. It’s eye-opening to see all the different answers from different dancers to the same questions. It goes to show that as aerialist, we are a diverse bunch with a lot to offer! Here’s my contribution:

1) How long have you been pole dancing?
I have been pole dancing since the October of 2008. I’ve had several months hiatus scattered throughout.

2) Whats your favourite song to pole dance to?
My musical taste is all over the place, so I can’t even pinpoint a genre, let along a single song. I like to pole to anything rock, rock-based industrial, trip hop, basically anything with a medium slow beat. Artists include: Tricky, Portishead, Perfect Circle, Tool, Manson, etc.

3) What’s your favorite pole dance move?
I love the jade. It was one of my first “goal” moves and I still love it today. Not just performing it myself either, I love looking at a perfectly flat (or even beyond flat) jade. It’s just so perfect!

4) What inspires your movement? Why do you dance?
When I’m dancing, it is the only moment I feel completely free to be myself. I am unapologetically me.

5) Do you study/participate in any other kinds of dancing or other kinds of training?
I’ve dabbled in aerial silks and hoops. However, I have had no formal dance training what so ever.

6) Any tips for training?
Don’t compare yourself to anyone else in your class. The best point of comparison is your past self.

7) Do you train on both sides when you pole? Why or why not?
I try to, I really do. But I always end up favoring one side over the other when I’m not paying attention.

8) If you’re not a full-time poler, how do you balance work and pole? Friends and pole? Life and Pole?
This question deserves a blog post of its own! Currently I feel as if work is crowding out the rest of my life and pole is forced to take a reluctant back seat. I’m working to reorganize my life so that pole can take its place at front and center.

9) Is pole dancing, which happens to be a hobby for most, worth the investment?
Does anyone really expect a non bias answer to this question? Of course it’s worth the investment.

10) Why did you start a pole dance blog?
I needed a place to share! Pole bloggers and youtubers before me have helped me on my journey so much and I feel it is time for me to give some back and help strengthen the community.

11) Heels or No Heels?
I personally like to practice and perform barefooted. I feel more connection with the pole and I treat the soles of my feet as a  grip point.  But heels are a lot of fun and I occasionally perform with them, especially if they fit the character.

12) What are your favorite pole clothes?
Extremely short shorts and a bra top. The more skin to pole contact, the safer.

13) What’s your favorite pole? Size? Material? Height? Static? Spin?
45mm, Chrome (or brass, depending on climate), 10-12ft, static. Spin still makes me dizzy after a while.

14) If you have ever performed, how do you usually prepare your performance?
Yes, I have. I usually prepare by hyperventilating backstage… just kidding, please don’t hyperventilate. This is a case of do as I say, not as I do.   But seriously, every time I perform, it still feels like a miracle I got through the whole routine without freezing.

15) Looking back at your life, are you surprised that you’re a pole dancer?
Nope, I’ve always had a tendency to gravitate  towards the unique and novel. I was never a very fit person though and always looking for a form of fitness I can stick with. Pole dancing was the perfect fit, it feels like a natural progression.

16) What’s one pole stereotype that you wish would go away?
I’m going to over extend on this one and give two stereotypes. The stereotype that pole dancing is synonymous with stripping still grinds my gears. Upon overhearing a conversation between myself and a female co-worker (who has also tried pole dancing), a male co-worker asked why I even bothered to work my day job since I should be making double in tips. I took all my will power not to slap him across the face. the second stereotype, often heard from women who want to try pole dancing, it that it is only for people who are already strong and fit.

17) Best reaction when you told someone that you are a pole dancer?
My aunt is amazing! She was a gymnastic mom with an entrepreneurial mind and her first reaction was to tell me to open a studio and start a training program for kids.

18) Also, since its May… does your Mother [or any maternal person in your life] know that you pole dance and what does she think?
Both my mom and my grandmother knows about my pole dancing. My mom expressed concern that my arms will  get too big, like a man’s. As for my grandma, she learned to use Facebook and “likes” a lot of my pole pics.  Ain’t she cute?

19) What’s your pole fantasy or dream?
My dream, which is in the works, it is open a pole studio in an underserved area help bring this life changing hobby to more people.

20)Finish this sentence. Pole dancing is….
…my way of life!

Click on a link below to check out other blogger’s responses!

Until next time, be sure to live it up!

Maggie

logosite

Stretch-a-long: Couch Assisted Back bends

Back bends are a bit of a misnomer, they should really be called front stretches or torso stretches.The key to a good back bend is to incorporate flexibility throughout your shoulders, your psoas, as well as your entire torso. Many people learning to back bend on their own tend to do most of the bending through the lower back. Many partnered or assisted back bends are designed to prevent compression and excessive reliance on just a few vertebrates. Unfortunately, not all of us are lucky enough to have a partner to practice with whenever we like.

Luckily, most of us have access to a couch and a free weight. These couch assisted back bends will help to gently open up the chest, elongate the torso as well as distribute the bend more evenly along the spine. Just remember to be safe! It’s easy to get dizzy when back bending for two reasons. First, some of the poses will bring your heads upside down. Be very careful when coming up from this inverted position, especially with weights in your hands. Make sure the weight is safely over and secure in your lap before raising your head.  Second, it’s hard to breathe in a back bend. Make a conscious effort to breathe throughout the exercise.

Feel free to combine this couch assisted back bending stretch-a-long video with previous and future stretch-alongs to create a routine to fit your needs.

Stretch-a-long: Front Splits

Stretch-a-long: Straddles and Butterflies

Until next time, be sure to Live It Up!

Maggie

Pole Dance Move Tutorial: Falling Marley

Even though the Falling Marley doesn’t require a lot of strength or an exceptional degree of flexibility, a lot of pole dancers balk at this move. Something about deliberately falling forward with the distinct possibility of making friends with the ground head first just doesn’t appeal. But there are safe guards to put into place, rules to follow, that  makes this move a lot easier to control.

Rule #1: Hook your knee as high as you can! The higher you are able to hook your knee, the more controlled the spin will be. Angle your thighs past parallel.This brings your hips closer to the pole and requires less of the drop to place your other thigh (more on this later). This will require a decent amount of flexibility in your straddle, but nothing outrageous.

Rule #2: Place the thigh of your outside leg onto the pole ASAP! This locks you in positions and stops your body, and therefore your head, from continuing downwards. I tend to place my thigh onto the pole a split second after my foot leaves the ground.

The 2 rules above should help make the Falling Marley easier to control and learn.Good luck! Don’t give up, keep on trying and remember to record it all in your pole journal! Please share this tutorial with your friends on Facebook or twitter and share the love!

Until next time, be sure to Live It Up!

Maggie

 

Why I Never Do the Split Grip Handspring (Or why I Owe the TG a Great Big Apology)

I had been doing handspring and cartwheel mounts for a little over 3 months when I first noticed it: nagging feeling at my right wrist that extended to the elbow through my ulnar side forearm. It wasn’t pain, not at all, it just felt like it was…there. I was aware of my right wrist and forearm when I was poling, at my computer, in the shower, cooking, cleaning and most of all, when I first woke up int he morning. Overuse, I was told, and not stretching out the area enough after a pole practice. So reluctantly, I spaced out my training sessions and made sure to stretch out the area really well after every session.  The problem never went away, but since it didn’t hurt either, I got used to it.

Over the course of the next few months, I learned the twisted grip and true grip version of the handspring. I mostly used the split grip and the twisted grip as these two were much more versatile for getting into and out of different moves. Then one day, after a particularly grueling practice, I felt a pain on the outer side of my right wrist.  I iced the area and let it rest for a few days. At the next practice, the pain came back. Again, I iced it and let it rest until the pain subsided. But again, the pain came back the next time I was on the pole and lasted several days.  Since I was about to spend 2 weeks visiting family in Hong Kong, I took the opportunity to rest my wrists.

After the two-week hiatus, I welcomed my pole (and the relatively clean Canadian air) with open arms thinking that the 2 weeks apart surely gave me enough time to heal…but the pain came back. This time, I started feeling numbness in my right pinky and half my ring finger. The numbness came after practice, in the morning when I woke and any time I moved my wrists in a twisting motion. Within a few days, I lost the ability to move my wrist in any twisting motion at all.   Time to get some professional advice! I went to see a doctor who specialized in sports medicine and after much poking, prodding and x-rays, I was diagnosed with a triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) injury and medial epicondylitis. Doctors order was to stay completely off the wrist for 6-8 weeks and to wear a brace daily for support while visiting my physiotherapist to help recover my range of motion and deal with pain management.

During this forced pole-free interim, I spent a lot of time scouring pole related websites and forums for information about wrist injuries. I became thoroughly convinced that it was the twisted grip handspring that caused my painful condition. Like so many other polers out there, I jumped on the “twisted grip is no good” bandwagon. I had no doubt in my mind that if I eliminated the twisted grip handsprings from my repertoire, my problems would be solved. The solution seemed so easy! And not to mention, there were so many pole dancers out there with stories implicating the twisted grip, it just made sense.

After 2 months of rest and wallet draining physio sessions, I was given the green light to start reintroducing  pole fitness back into my life. I missed pole so much!  I started with climbs and spins. No problemo! Inverted poses?  Piece of cake! Should mounts? Got it  covered! Alrighty, the moment of truth, handspings! But this time, I swore to myself, I will only practice split grip and true grip. Guess what? The pain and numbness came back within a week of starting to handspring.  So, not even 2 month since leaving my physio’s office, I was back at the docs when the same problem. I was devastated. I had avoided twisted grip like the plague, why was this happening?

My doctor inquired offhandedly if I had ever considered focusing on another sport, but as a sports medicine doctor, he knew my answer before I did. No athlete gave up their sport that easily! I showed my physiotherapist some videos of moves I thought were causing the problems in an attempt to identify the culprit.  He agreed that the twisted grip handspring has great potential to cause injury but not like the ones I was suffering from. The twisted grip was more likely to cause shoulder/rotator cuff injuries than wrist and elbow problems. The true grip was deemed the safest of the 3 choices for handspring provided you are strong enough.

I narrowed it down to the reverse grab and shockingly, the SPLIT grip handspring. The reverse grab was easy to fix. I was torquing my wrist to stay on the pole when doing reverse grabs on 2″ diameter poles. I have really tiny hands.  The solution was just to avoid reverse grabs on thicker poles. Now comes the real big culprit. The split grip handspring.  There is a moment in the split grip when the weight of the body shifts to put pressure for a moment on the ulnar side of the wrist.  At the start of the movement, the inside of the elbow faces slightly upwards towards the ceiling. At the end of the motion, the elbow faces slightly downwards. But the hands stay in the same position on the pole the entire time. The twisting motion happens at the forearm and wrist.  Check it out yourself. Next time you handspring or cartwheel mount, take notice of where the inside of your elbow faces throughout the move.My body just wasn’t made for that.

So another 2 long and boring months off the pole and when I was finally ready to start up again I removed split grip handsprings from my list. I added the true grip handspring back first and I stayed pain-free. I was still very wary of the twisted grip and waited a long time before using it. I finally did though and was pleasantly surprised.  I have been pain-free for 2 years. I still avoid the split grip handspring unless I’m doing a demonstration (after which I feel that mild nagging sensation again). I can use the split grip for everything else. It is just the movement in the handspring that causes the problem.

I know there are some people who may say that I’m only having trouble with split grip because I’m not strong enough, but I honestly believe that if I’m strong enough to use the true grip, I should be strong enough for the split grip. Either way, I’m not interested anymore in making the split grip handspring work for me. It’s not worth it. I enjoy being able to brush my hair, open doors, fry an egg, use a computer, sew costumes and most of all, I enjoy being able to pole.
I guess I owe the twisted grip handspring a great big apology, considering I accused it wrongly and bashed it vehemently without proof.  Different bodies have different weaknesses. I still believe that the twisted grip handspring is not for everyone, especially those with shoulder issues. And to make matters even more confusing, I have trouble with the TG shoulder mount while the TG handspring works perfectly fine for me. How is this possible? Easy, in the TG shoulder mount, more of twist happens in the forearm and wrists. I can barely place my palms on the pole in that position, forget about putting weight on it!

So what’s the take home lesson from all this?  Just because a move is safe for  many people doesn’t mean it is safe for everyone. Similarly, just because a move causes problems in many people doesn’t mean it is the source of your own problem. Experiment to find the moves that work and don’t work for you body and learn to adapt moves to make them safer for you. Also, find a doctor and physiotherapist who work with athletes and get them to understand that what you do if they don’t already. Regular doctors might just tell you to stop poling all together instead of working with you to find a solution. Ever body is different and there is nothing wrong with that.

Stretch-a-long Video: Straddles and Butterflies

Here’s another Live It Up Pole Fitness Stretch-a-long video! This time we will be focusing on stretching out our inner thighs and hips  with a series of butterfly and straddle stretches. These stretches will help improve your flexibility for the middle splits.

Remember to warm up your muscles prior to stretching.

Missed the first video in the series? Stretch for your front splits with me!

Record your daily stretches and pole practices in a beautifully embossed Live It Up Pole Fitness Pole Journal! Check them out HERE.

Happy stretching and until next time, be sure to Live It Up!

Maggie

Stretch-a-long Video: Front Splits

I’m delighted to introduce the very first installment of my Stretch-a-long video series. One of the most common personal goals I have heard in the pole dancing community is to stretch everyday. You will be hard pressed to find a pole dancer who doesn’t want to improve their flexibility. The goal of the Stretch-a-long series is to provide a variety of stretching exercises targeted to different parts of the body that you can mix and match to suit your needs. Every video will be under 10 minutes, so you can never use the ” too busy” or “no time” excuse ever again. If you have more time to devote to your daily stretching, just do a few videos at a time or hold the stretches longer.

Remember, your muscles should be nice and warm before you start stretching. It is best to stretch your muscles after your workout. In a pinch, you can also stretch after a hot shower. Just don’t let your body cool down in between. Stretching should be slightly uncomfortable but it should not be painful. Do not force your body. This very first Stretch-a-long video is aimed at achieving and maintaining your front splits. When stretching for you front splits, start with the side that is less flexible. This will help it catch up with the other side and keep your body balanced. To further help the less flexible side catch up, I hold the runner stretch in this video longer on the first side.

To keep the videos under 10 minutes long, I included only a selection of stretches I use to increase my flexibility for front splits. So if your favourite stretch wasn’t showcased in this first video, it will probably make an appearance in future installments.

Look forward to more stretching videos and pole move tutorials in the future. Don’t miss a thing, follow me on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/LiveItUpPoleFitness.

Until next time, be sure to Live It Up

Maggie

Pole Dance Products and Accessories I Can’t Live Without

I’ll be the first to admit it, I love any pole dancing product or accessory that can help improve my pole experience.  Finding something affordable and simple that makes an impact on my pole progress or enhances my practices is like unlocking an unexpected achievement in a video game. It feels awesome. Which is why when “pole product” was listed as a potential March blog hop topic for the pole dance blogger group, I immediately casted my vote. What’s the point of collecting pole products, both the new and exciting as well as the tried and true, if I can’t share my experience? Not to mention, I’m really excited to read all the other posts and learn about products I have yet to try. I won’t be featuring any grip aids in this post as I recently wrote a post all about the multitude of grip aid brands and formulas I have tried over the last 4 years of pole dancing. The following pole dance products and accessories have my personal seal of approval, and most of them are affordable (or even free). Better still, many of these products are multi purpose; their usefulness continues way beyond pole dancing.

YouTube

If I had to guess, I would probably say that most pole dance enthusiasts are already die-hard YouTube junkies. We all know that YouTube is a prime location for watching pole dance videos.  There are hours upon hours of pole practice videos, performances and tutorials.  But are you using YouTube to its full potential? Did you know that YouTube is the world’s 2nd largest search engine, right after Google? I use it to study other forms of dance (such as modern or lyrical) so that I can find to inspiration to stay creative and fuel my pole practices. I also use YouTube to find yoga/bodyweight exercise/pilates/ foam roller/ ect routines to help improve my strength and range of motion.  Need costume ideas? Check out belly dancing or burlesque performances.  Have a costume idea but need help making it a reality? Crafty tutorials galore on YouTube.  And let’s not forget that YouTube is a great place to find inspiring music no matter what mood you are in. YouTube is  a prime resource for pole dance enthusiasts the world over, and the best part? If you have an internet connect, it’s free!

A Pole Journal

Pole Dance Journal, OpenMindless practice is a waste of time. Even if you are not training to compete, it is a good idea to work towards specific goals. Reaching goals, even as simple as  finally climbing to the top of the pole or dropping 10 lbs in time for summer, is a great motivator.  Setting goals and tracking your progress will keep you focused and help trigger a “game” mentality where you can inspire yourself to reach for the next achievement.  Use your journal to plan your practices, track your trials and triumphs, write down insights and feelings, file away good music choices, etc.  A pole journal is also a great tool to increase your accountability to yourself. For example, if your goal is to stretch every single day, you would feel obligated to stretch so that you can fill in your entry of the day.  If you are looking for a journal specially designed with pole fitness in mind, check out the Live it Up Pole Fitness Journals now available here.  But regardless of which notebook/journal you choose, the key is to use it honestly and consistently.

Extra-Thick Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat

yoga matNot all yoga mats are made equal. As someone with sensitive skin, worsen by the fact that pole dancing is tough on the skin already, many yoga mats break me out.  Also, I can smell a non eco-friendly yoga mat a mile away. Yuck! Many eco-friendly yoga mats are made with materials that are non toxic, PVC, phthalates and latex free. They are usually two layers bonded together  to form a thicker, resilient and more durable mat. The longevity and irritant free aspect is more than enough to make up for the extra price, the eco-friendly part is a great bonus.  The thicker design of these mat are advantageous for practicing or learning skills such as forearm and shoulder stands and shoulder rolls.  They are softer on the knees. As pole dancers, we put our body through a lot of wear and tear, rolling and crawling over hardwood or even carpet, pole burns and bruises. A little softness is a welcome change.

FootUndeez

For those who prefer to save the heels for performances and special occasions, FootUndeez are an alternative that provides comfort without compromising the tactile control of bare feet. The soles are made of suede which grips the floor and provides just FootUndeez are made be Capezio, but there are several other companies that make similar items going by foot thongs or foot mittens. It may take some trail and error to find one that fits your liking. I like the FootUndeez because the “thong” is only between the big toe and second toe, rather than at every toe junction. Also, the band at the top keeps the “shoe” in place.  I find the ones that look similar to truncated socks tend to slide down a bit.

Foam Roller

One of the best accessories I have ever invested in, the return on investment on this device can not be beat.  For your first foam roller,  forget about the deep tissue massage ones with nubs and grooves, go for something simple. 6″ diameter is a very useful size and many brand come in different lengths. I like the JFIT high density foam roller (pictured above) because it does not absorb sweat and is easy to keep clean and lasts nearly forever. My recommendation is to order a longer one, my foam roller is only 18″ in length and wish I had ordered a longer one as 18″ is not long enough for full body foam rolling. Don’t feel as if you need to buy an expensive roller to experience the benefits. Check out the entire range available and read through reviews to find one for you.  YouTube is a good cost-free source for instruction to start foam rolling. Tight muscles and hampered mobility be-gone!

Not a product, but a good cheerleader is always welcomed!

Not a product, but a good cheerleader is always welcomed!

As I stated earlier, this post is a part of a blog hop, so please check out other posts by all the wonderful pole bloggers and leave a kind word!

Don’t Leave Yet! Check Out These Similar Posts!

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5 Embarrassing Pole Dancing Wardrobe Malfunctions and How to Prevent Them

Grip Aids: A Guide for Pole Athletes

 

Quick Update: Under Construction

I just wanted to write a note to let all you lovely ladies and gents know that I’m working really hard to get a few things sorted out  for this site. In the meantime, if you visit and see random empty pages, links leading to nowhere or sudden changes in layout or design, please ignore them.  The Live It Up Pole Fitness blog still have the same mission in mind: to provide you with tips and tricks and share my experience to help enrich your own pole life. There are a bunch of posts and tutorials waiting in the wing. My blog is not, I repeat, NOT having an identity crisis. The fault lies in the blogger. Yup, me. Apparently, I’m WordPress dyslexic. The most user friendly blogging platform the world has ever known…and I can’t figure it out.

Here are some of the things I’m trying to work out:

  1. Some of you have kindly informed me that this site doesn’t co-operate with certain mobile browsers. Many services that converts websites into mobile sites remove the photos and videos. This simply does not work for a blog comprised mostly of photo and video-rich tutorials. I’ll try to get this site compatible with mobile as much as I can, though I can’t promise perfection.
  2. My pole dance journals are in! I want to offer a way for people to purchase the journals online, choose and calculate the shipping and allow Paypal and credit card payments. Unfortunately, what I’m using right now will not let me add photos to the product page. The only work around is to add the photos to the background…which looks ridiculous. Also, paypal only offers shipping calculations by location to their American account holders. As a lowly Canadian, my only choice is flat rate shipping which makes about as much sense as one size fit all clothing.
  3. The font on my posts are hard on the eyes. Now I know I’m about as blind as a bat without sonar, but if I’m having trouble reading my own blog posts with glasses on, there’s a problem. I’ve gone in and changed the font size, but everytime there’s an update (which feels like every freaking week) everything resets and the font is tiny again.

Please be patient for me as my own patient is wearing pretty thin. On several occasions, I started yelling at my laptop as if it could hear me. I can’t wait to get back to actual blogging instead of spending hours upon hours trying to find a patch for plugin B because it is not compatible with plugin A  which I installed to fix a problem elsewhere to begin with. So I apologize for the slower blog posts. They are coming, I promise.

Until next time, be sure to Live It Up

Maggie

 

 

Pole Dance Move Tutorial: Arched Rainbow

I love looking for novel moves that aren’t seen everyday.  Just a variation on an existing move can turn ho-hum into lots of fun. The arched rainbow is a variation on a layback. If it’s done without grabbing the back leg, the move is simply called a rainbow.  This move isn’t too difficult to learn but can really shine the more flexible you are. My goal is to be able to pull the back foot over my head in the future.

To start the arched rainbow, climb the pole at least once to give yourself some height. Cross your legs as if going into a crossed knee release. This is where things change a bit. Grab the foot of the hooked knee with the opposite hand and try to line up your thighs to the pole to get as much contact along the pole as possible. Try to point your top knee towards the ceiling.

Bend your lower leg and grab your foot or shin with the remaining hand behind your bum. In one motion, lean back and pull your leg down with your arms. Arch your back. You should be using the skin on the inner thigh of your bottom leg to grip the pole. Do not rely solely on the grip of your top leg, especially when you are first learning this pole dance move. To come out of this pole move, release your bottom foot and pull yourself back up into a sit.

If you enjoyed this tutorial, feel free to let me know in the comments below. And if you haven’t already, come find me on facebook @ www.facebook.com/liveituppolefitness.

Until next time, be sure to Live It Up

Maggie

CHECK OUT MY OTHER POLE DANCE MOVE TUTORIAL!

SPINNING SCORPIO

MARION AMBER

TWISTED GRIP ROLL DOWN

 

Grip Aids: A Guide for Pole Athletes

I get a lot of questions from new pole dancers about grip aids. Which ones to use, when to use them and whether to use them. The answers are rarely clear-cut and etched in stone as which grip aid to use differs depending on your skin type, the pole’s finish and the climate. But there are guidelines to follow when considering pole dancing grip aids to help you pick the best one.

Why I am Pro Grip Aids

There are a few who believe you should not be training with pole dancing grip aids, that it will prevent you from getting stronger and that is it cheating. I’m going to come right out and say that I believe this is a crock of bull. I have a theory that the people who claim that using grip aid will prevent you from building strength are not suffering from hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) or extremely dry skin, live in the ideal climate, or have super sticky coated poles . In my opinion, using grip aids to help reduce sweating hands or dry powdery skin can HELP build strength. If you can not grip the pole, not from lack of strength but from sheer slipperiness, then how can you do the moves and exercises that will help you build strength and range of motion through out the rest of your body?

For example, there are days, sometimes weeks in the winter months, when my skin is so dry that my hand and legs feel as though they are covered in talcum powder. On those days, I can not do something as simple as a crucifix (pole stand). To say that I’m simply not strong enough to do a crucifix and that I should train without grip aids to “build” leg strength is ridiculous. If I had followed their advice to not use grip aids when I train, I would probably have thrown in the towel long ago. Especially since I started my pole dance journey during the cold, dry Canadian winter. Similarly, if you are practicing inverts and you can’t even hold on because your palms are sweaty, a little dab of grip aid can help you practice your inverts safely with proper form and help build your core muscles. Much better than slip sliding frustratingly down and even hurting your wrist as you inadvertently over-grip to in an attempt to get more purchase. So if you use a touch of pole dancing grip aid when you practice, don’t feel guilty about it. The fact that you are on that pole, secure and therefore safe, and practicing your moves means that you will get stronger. Just be sure to train your grip strength as well.

Not to mention, professional athletes (baseball, golf, tennis, etc) do not think twice about using grip aids to improve their game. Pole is no different. Even world level pole competitors use grip aid when training and competing. In fact, last time I checked, they slather it on during competitions. Are they cheating? Heck, no! Grip aids help level the playing field, making it possible for people with all skin types to play and pole safely. If grip aids were outlawed in competitions, only people lucky enough to be born with ideal skin will be able to safely compete. Go tell a gymnastic team that using chalk is considered cheating and you will be laughed out of existence. Pole dancing, being a real athletic endeavor, is no different.

That being said, I don’t use grip aid all the time, mostly because I don’t always need it. There are times when my skin works with the climate and pole. But when I do, I don’t always use the same brand. Pole dancers, both new and seasoned are faced with an ever-growing range of formulas to choose from. Below are the brands of pole dancing grip aids I have tried, my opinion on them, as well as when I choice to use each one.

Mighty Grip

Mighty Grip is the first pole dancing grip aid I tried. It seems like very where I go, students and instructors alike carry this product around religiously. Mighty Grip is a heat activated thermoplastic powder. Sprinkle sparingly on your hands and press your palms together, as the powder warms up to your body , it will create a film of tackiness. The keyword here is heat. Unfortunately for me, my hands are usually quite cool and never warm enough to activate the powder. But those with warmer digits swear by this product. It also works for most pole finishes. It does not, however, stop you from sweating right through the grip aid, so Mighty Grip is great for adding tackiness to dry hands but not for combating sweaty palms.
Note: Mighty Grip has a new formula with a lower activation temperature that I have not try. When I try this product, I promise to fill you in with more information.

Tite Grip

Tite Grip is my go-to solution for sweaty palms. It is a clear drying antiperspirant lotion that helps keep yoru palms slip proof. Apply Tite Grip 30 minutes before poling to prevent sweaty palms. Tite grip works for up to 6 hrs, wicking away moisture from your hands. Since it is an antiperspirant, Tite Grip does not add extra grip or tackiness to your skin. So if you are like me and have dry skin AND palms that sweat, you can add a tacky grip aid just prior to pole practice for a customized cocktail of grippiness. Due to it’s versatility and ability to work well with other formulas as well as different pole finishes, this is one of my favourite grip aids. Some argue that it is not a grip aid at all, as it is only an antiperspirant.

Dry Hands

Dry Hands is another grip aid that helps with sweaty palms. Unlike Tite grip, Dry Hands work as more than just an antiperspirant. It adds grip, not so much by being tacky, but by adding “texture” to the skin. After spreading dry hands evenly and thinly on your hands and skin, resist the temptation to rub it in. Rubbing will remove the product as it is designs to sit on top of the skin. I have used dry hands on chrome, brass as well as powder coated poles with great success. It does, however, leave a white residue on the poles and the hands that need to be cleaned off after use. This is another grip aid I keep in my arsenal. Update: Another great way to use Dry Hands is to pat it directly onto the poles on humid days. Thanks Kitty Glitz for this useful tip!

Itac2

Another regular favourite is Itac2. A wax based grip enhancer, Itac2 is hypoallergenic and formulated using organic beeswax. There are different grip levels to choose from. I use level 2 (regular strength) for body and limb grip. For hand grip I vary between level 2 and 4 (extra strength) depending on how much grip I need that day. a little goes a long way for this grip aid and putting on too much can backfire as the layers of wax slides over each other and become slick. Itac2 works great on chrome and stainless steel poles. On brass poles however, it can be problematic. On my platinum stages brass pole, Itac2 works fine. But on my brass X-pole and on brass poles at several studios I have been to, Itac2 becomes very temperamental. On these brass poles, Itac2 will be very sticky for a short period and then become extremely slick. One theory is that since brass is porous the wax fills in the microscopic gaps and smooths at the surface making it slick. If you dance often on chrome and stainless steel, you will love this grip aid. If you have a brass pole, test it out first! Also, make sure to use a small amount, rub it in, and wait for it to dry before trying to pole.

Dewpoint Pole

Dewpoint Pole positions itself as a grip aid that is also a natural moisturizer for your skin. This grip aid is a godsend for people with dry skin. It comes in a range of formula from light to ultra providing oil free moisture that helps your skin stick to the pole. Pole dancers with dry skin learns from experience that their skin sticks better just as they start to sweat a tiny bit, when they skin is a bit clammy. This product mimics this feeling. I use Dew Point all over my body and limbs, but I avoid getting it on my hands. If you have sweaty skin, this is probably not a good product for you. I have used Dewpoint Pole on every pole surface imaginable (including random playgrounds).

Grrrip

Grrrip comes in a spray as well as a lotion. For our purposes, I am refering to the lotion as I have not used the spray personally. Grrrip is a hold enhancer that does not create a tacky feeling oh the skim. SImilar to Dryhands, Grrrip works both to reduce sweat as well as increase grip. It also repels water. Some pole dancers claim that Grrrip last longer for them than Dryhands but for me they are about the same.

Cramer’s Firm Grip

This anti slip paste is a circus favourite, useful on apparatuses such as silks. I personally did not have much success using this grip aid for pole dancing. While it did provide a firm grip some of the time, the results were unpredictable and my hands went from glued on, to slip sliding away in an instant. It was also very difficult to wash off my pole. It was also one of the more expensive grip aids. I do not recommend this product for pole dancing. However, if you need to pole dance fully dressed and don’t mind steaming the stuff off your pole later, rubbing Firm Grip on your pole will help you stick when wearing tighting fitting clothes.

The above are all the pole dancing grip aids I have tried personally. Grip aids still on my to-try list include: Liquid Grip and Gorilla Gold. I have not included are gloves or other training aids that enhance grip as they are generally not allowed into competitions and are visually distracting. Not everyone share the same views I do when it comes to using grip aids and thats perfectly fine. But don’t let something guilt you out of using pole dancing grip aid if you believe it will help make your practices safer and more efficient. Safety always comes first. It’s not cheating, aleast not to any of the major competitions, and definitely not to me.

Until next time, be sure to Live It Up!

Maggie