Pole dancing is hard work. When we do even the simplest of spins, we’re asking our shoulder girdles to support us in ways they normally wouldn’t. And, as we discussed in a previous blog post, those shoulders are delicate machines–we need to treat them properly so they can treat us properly!
That’s why I cringe when I see videos of dancers doing moves they clearly aren’t conditioned for. Will my opinions on this make me unpopular? Maybe. But doing strength moves when one doesn’t have the strength is the quickest way to injury . . . possibly a pole-ending injury. The importance of slow, steady progress and proper conditioning is paramount.
Take inverted moves, for example. I believe that if a person cannot control both the UP and DOWN of an invert, he or she isn’t ready for that sort of work. So many times I see polers kick-kick-kick-KICK into inverts, barely catching a foot (“If I can just get my foot up there, I can use it to pull me up”). Eeeeek! If the foot doesn’t catch, the dancer comes crashing down. It’s not usually very long before he/she begins to complain of pain along the side or between the shoulder blades.
That’s a signal. Not. ready. for. inverts. If a dancer can’t control the way down, here’s what’s (usually) happening: improper or lack of engagement of shoulders and core. Dancer kicks into invert, misses pole, on the crash down all those muscles that were stretched in tension on the way up to help the body get inverted snap back into place. Not good! Snapping of any sort isn’t good for your body.
In my opinion, a dancer should be able to roll down out of an inverted position slowly and with control. That means a slow roll down all the way until the feet are firmly back on the floor. And that requires a strong core, shoulder girdle, and arms.
But…. but…. I want to be upside down! I want to do crazy spider monkey pole tricks! OK. Then start working toward them now. Do rows of all sorts, and make sure you use your shoulder girdle and core, not just your arms. Do ab tucks from a pullup position. Do slow, controlled crunches combined with pulses. Do planks. Do core work on a Swiss ball–and keep in mind that your entire torso is your core, and that includes your back. Do handstands. Do spins with proper shoulder and core engagement. There are so many things you can do to condition yourself! Then, when you give inverting a whirl, you’ll float up effortlessly.