Pole Fitness versus Pole Dance…is there such a thing?

So here’s the the thing right: Many pole schools and such advertise being as ‘fitness’ based as opposed to dance based. This is abso-cool. BUT: Many actively insinuate (or just downright state) that pole schools covering full aspects of pole ‘dance’ is not going to get you fit the same way, SAY WHAAAAT!!? There are MANY MANY reasons that dismiss this and even turn it completely on its head. All styles can get you so much fitter and stronger but I have to say:

1. Pole dance doesn’t mean no tricks. It means having to perform full tricks/spins and then transitions inbetween each trick/spin without stopping thus creating higher intensity workouts, more of an overall body workout and higher potential of cardio and toning benefits than just the tricks on their own. This applies whether you like ballet inspired/sexy/contemporary dance or acro style pole. Dance and tricks together means extra workout benefits.

2. If anything-It means more tricks!! Performing a trick, a transition, floor tricks and then hauling yourself back up and straight in to the next sequence and the next and the next means a huge variety of challenging movements. Again, greater workout benefits.

3. If anyone thinks that floorwork movements and dance elements do not count as a workout then you clearly haven’t given them a bash! The intensity of a simple elegant looking leg wave with proper technique KILLS your abs, obliques, biceps, triceps and quads. Think about it: Who is fitter .. A guy lifting weights only or a guy lifting the same weights and running on the treadmill too. Or even a guy lifting the same weights as the others WHILST running on the treadmill??

4. There is an argument that barefoot equals pole art/sport/fitness and that heels equals exotic/dance only. Again, wear heavy heels and try to nail those tricks as easily. It is MUCH more challenging. Yet again- greater workout benefits! I allow students to go barefoot or wear heels- with full routines and sequences they’re always going to be a challenge.

5. Some ‘Fitness based’ schools assume that dance based schools just roll about and hairflick. No. Primarily, we teach tricks. All manner of them. Then we add dance elements (and then those lovely hairflicks) on to them to make the tricks look cooler and to add flair and further workout. And then add a full routine where you run through it over and over and over. Phew!

6. Most ‘dance’ based schools do not teach easier tricks. I can only vouch for Pole Physique when saying that our curriculum is pretty damn brilliant and I have never had a student that has completed even 2/3 of it. We teach fit guys too with natural strength and agility and always show them tricks that they may take a long time to actually get. Then we make them perform it by adding cool flair that adds a further difficulty to the tricks. I also train every night after classes on new professional level tricks to ensure that we have the highest quality trick curriculum.

7. When you enjoy the dance aspects of pole as an instructor, you strive for perfection of technique. Clambering into a trick or through a routine isn’t enough. It needs to be performed well too. If you are going to do it, you want precision, correct technique and the strength to allow you to then add flair. Often, this makes a trick much more difficult to accomplish.

8. Often, a ‘dance looking’ trick can look effortless. Very rarely is this the case. Often, these cool tricks are much more difficult and a harder workout than a handspring!! But we also show how to handspring and deadlift too and have them as a solid part of the curriculum. Sometimes though, with some tricks, we love a secret way out too, an illusion, a cheat. It’s just a fact that sometimes, a deadlift into something can look nowhere near as exciting as you want it to be considering the months/years it took to get. Often, a cool momentum kick or swing into a trick using good dance technique learned will just look much cooler than a simple ‘just repeat it til your strong enough’.

9. In our advanced levels, our students have 10-15 (sometimes more) tricks put into a personalised routine. These are put into 2 combos. To stay up at the ceiling for 10-15 tricks and all of the extra transitions is ridiculously challenging. I mean, ridiculously!! The toning, weight loss, cardio benefits here are massive compared to not having the challenge of combos/routines.

10. Sometimes it’s just FUN to spin the hairflick and high kick!! Many feel too self unconscious to think they could ever do it. But nearly every woman deep down would LOVE to be able to. It’s like Pringles- once you pop you just can’t stop. I’m not saying that ‘fitness only’ ie tricks only based schools won’t get you fit in any way at all. I just really dislike the notion of insinuating that ‘dance based’ schools won’t get you fit the same way when in fact the potential of fitness/toning/weight loss/dance knowledge/technique at a dance based class can be even greater.

Pole Physique is a dance and fitness pole school. The dance, the tricks, the technique and so on ARE the fitness. Here I am below trying to demonstrate my point: In the heaviest 9″ heels know to man :)


  • Amby Stanyer-Hunter says:

    I once had someone tell me that she ‘wouldn’t lower herself to pole dance’… Her school taught pole fitness!

    I was like ‘do they also teach you to be an ill informed ignorant twat…or is that your own dining?’ Lol

    Can everyone please get over it… Tbf, yes we are a pole dance school…but who ever heard of dancing where you don’t get fit?

    In all honesty I now consider my school to be a ‘pole arts’ school as we concentrate more in actual performance than anything, but it doesn’t mean anything…we still all get fit…isn’t that the point…oh… And to have fun and stop being so judgemental!

  • Karen Currie says:

    Love this article – Well said!!

    Makes perfect sense to me, having started 5 years thinking I was going to be teaching Pole as a fitness class because I’m not dance trained etc etc, I now just want to call it Pole because it’s just so much nicer to teach it with some elements of dance!

    I’ve had to learn the choreography side of things because without some Flow, Pole doesn’t do enough for me or my students!

    Will be sharing this article on my page – just brill – thank you!

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