I couldn’t lift my poor body out of bed. I had black and blue bruises all over my knees, thighs, and arms. Mr. Suit shook his head in that “I-told-you-not-to-do-that” way. But I couldn’t wait to go back. I confirmed my next pole-dancing lesson from my iPhone under the covers.
I usually got two distinct responses when I started telling friends, family, and coworkers what my new Saturday morning activity has been. Not surprisingly, the responses were very gender specific. The male population usually got uncomfortable, start shifting their weight where they stood, and avoided eye contact. The ladies, however, nodded in agreement that it was the new “hot” workout that had joined the ranks of early morning gym activities for the professional woman along with pilates, Zumba, and belly-dancing.
Thanks to Groupon (thumbs up again!), I had located a nearby studio named Pretty Lady Pole Fitness. I walked in and before me were 15 poles and the ladies had already started the warm ups with some Beyonce pumping in the background. The class had a mix of ladies—law students, corporate climbers, new mommies… quite a surprise at the diversity. I flew through two classes right away—Beginning Pole I (some of the basic “tricks”) and Pole Transitions (this is all the turning, posing, and holding on to the pole in-between “tricks.” I triumphantly go home having learned the Fireman, Martini, and Ballerina. J
So from a good experience, I was totally gung-ho for the next week's class. So after Beginning Pole I and a nice sweat, I decided to stay for the Advanced Pole II course. I did gymnastics and dance when I was a kid, so how difficult could it be?!
WRONG. My eyes went wide when I saw several of the girls arrive with some shiny 6-inch platform heels and start strapping them on. Shirts flew off to reveal sports bras and some booty bicycle shorts. Then I saw them pull out the baby powder and rubbing it on their thighs. HUH?! I watched dumbfounded as they jumped on the pole about three feet in the air, getting a "grip" with their thighs, and letting their arms fall loosely to their sides, with just their thighs and powder holding them in the air. Mind you, I stood there with a tank top and my yoga pants. I was debating going back to my car to see if I had some high heels (in a crude attempt to fit in), but they told me that I needed special "pole" heels that didn't scrape the floor.
Now the real lessons begin.
1) There is a HUGE difference in Pole I and Pole II, which they don't explain in the class description. The end of Pole I class was twirling around the pole. The beginning of Pole II was hanging with your booty in the air in the hopes that your thigh muscles are strong enough to keep you from sliding continuously to the floor. At least that was what my experience was. :P
2) Skin is good. My biggest problem was staying on the pole. The more skin you have, the better the grip. I had to hike up my yoga pants as high as they would go so that I had some grip on the pole. Windex and baby powder are key. Windex keeps the pole clean and baby powder soaks up any sweat on your body so that you have a better grip-per-inch of skin (GPIS) ratio.
3) With enough practice, the nerves on your hands, thighs, and arms will slowly get worn down so that it doesn't hurt so much. At least this is what I have been told.
4) Respect the pole. Girls that can pole dance are insanely strong and talented. After my continual failures at staying more than 6 inches above the ground (and by the way, the end of the class had ladies climbing up 5 feet and higher!), I have wisely decided to return back to Beginners Pole I.
I definitely will return since it's been weeks and my bruises have since healed. But in the mean time, maybe bust out the pole tricks for my bachelorette party? :)