There is one question you can hear echoed from studio to studio in the pole dancing world.
Everyone wants to know: “what cross training will help my pole dancing the most?”
The goal, many times, is to refine our art and feel stronger, feel empowered, and feel on top of the world. Perhaps there’s spare time between studio classes, or you’re doing it from home and want something to break up the routine.
Anything that can give us the edge we need to finally ace those goal moves and make progress in our pole journey.
The truth of it all is: anything will help you get better in pole dancing.
It sounds like a cop out, but it’s the truth. If you use your body in another dynamic way, you’ll gain more body awareness. If you work on mental skills, you’ll be able to apply that to your pole dancing.
It’s all a matter of learning how you learn best, and how you can transfer the skills you learn into other parts of your life, like pole dancing.
There are two things to be conscious of when considering cross-training for pole.
The first is to be conscious of overtraining. You may be doing multiple activities, but that doesn’t make you immune to injuries or muscle imbalances.
The second is that there are always risks to different activities, so research these on your own and consult others in that field before deciding to jump into a specific cross-training activity.
Now, we aren’t going to leave you hanging with “everything” as the answer.
A good place to start would be to look at what classes are offered in your area, or what you can do at home. Below are several common things that pole dancers across the world do to cross-train:
Ballet / dance
Any kind of dance will help you gain body coordination and flow. It’s an enjoyable physical art that is easy to incorporate into pole dancing. After all, pole dancing is a type of dance.
Dancing will also help you with bodyweight conditioning as well. Many dance studios will warm up with conditioning exercises, and the act of dancing in itself will be a workout that gets your body accustomed to those movements.
Ballet is a particularly popular cross-training for pole dancers. This will help you develop the toe points and muscles in the foot, leg, and glutes that achieve those gorgeous toe points.
There is some concern regarding the safety and health of your feet in ballet, as standing on the toes directly – even with proper wear – can cause problems later on.
Weight Lifting / Strength Training
Weight lifting is a very popular cross-training option for many pole dancers because gyms are so widely accessible.
A common misconception is that weight lifting will make you bulky – and that’s not true. If done a certain way, you can strength train without bulking up at all. We won’t judge if you want to do a little bodybuilding too – as long as you’re working towards something you want, it’s worth celebrating that.
It is important to combine any strength training or bodybuilding with flexibility training.
There’s always more detail to the exact process, but simply put, when you engage in these activities you are making your muscles “denser.” This also means you might find yourself losing some flexibility. To maintain a balance, you’ll want to stretch and mix up your strength training with some flexibility training.
Note: never do passive stretches before a workout!
Yoga / Flexibility Training
Flexibility training will never lead you astray in pole dancing. It one of the best things to help you achieve your pole goals, especially if any of them are splitty, like Jade, or require back flexibility like Python or Janeiro. In fact, many pole dancing studios will even offer flexibility or yoga classes.
One thing to keep in mind whether you’re doing yoga or any other type of flexibility training is that there is a difference between active and passive flexibility. Learn the difference here.
Other aerial / circus arts
Pole dancing originally came to the West in traveling circuses, and in the East, it was apart of Chinese Pole and the Indian sport Mallakhamb. It only makes sense that other aerial circus arts will help your pole progress by helping you develop more body awareness.
Some of these arts, like lyra or aerial silks, are already very popular for pole dancers to cross train with. Many larger pole dancing studios will even offer classes or special workshops for their pole students to take advantage of.
What do you do cross-train with? How has it improved your pole dancing?
Tell us in the comments below!