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Pole dancing is rewarding in so many ways. Not only do you burn tons of calories while having fun—it’s also a great way to improve your posture, build self-confidence, and get into the best shape of your life. (1)
But anytime you try something new, it’s normal to feel a bit intimidated or discouraged.
At PolePedia, we often hear from people who want to start pole dancing… but just can’t push through that initial anxiety without some support. You aren’t alone in wanting to soak up as much information as possible.
That’s why we rounded up our best pole dancing for beginners tips into one convenient place. From dancing safely to boosting your self-esteem, this guide covers all the must-knows and pro tricks you need to get the most out of pole dancing.
Is Pole Dancing Hard for Beginners?
No, pole dancing isn’t hard for beginners, especially when you start with basic moves. There’s a very good reason you might have this perception.
Think about any performances or displays of skill you’ve ever observed. For example, consider watching someone pole dance on a stage, play an instrument at a recital, or something to that effect.
When someone is great at what they do, it looks both effortless and impossible at the same time. You find yourself thinking, “This person was clearly born to learn this skill! It’s so complex and yet second nature to them.”
This is the mark of a skilled performer. But you have to remember that once upon a time, they were in the exact same position as you.
So, pole dancing isn’t hard for beginners. (And that’s not to say its easy peasy for everyone at the beginning…but it gets “easy” because of how fun and rewarding it becomes, even if there’s some frustrations along the way, promise!) But just like any skill, your success is a direct result of how much time and effort you invest.
You’ll have a much easier time getting started once you read through our tips!
1. Start Slow and Always Put Safety First
Did one specific experience or routine inspire you to finally try pole dancing? This is a very common path for many dancers. It’s also a great motivation boost when you have a particular move or routine you’re aspiring to.
But it’s easy to get carried away and push yourself too hard. Studies have found that across the board, novices and amateurs are more likely to get injured during physical activity. (2)
That’s why you have to prioritize your safety and start slow. The dancer who inspired you is most likely experienced and practices daily. It’s just not fair to yourself to expect that you’ll be at their level right away.
Start slow, focus on safety, and you’ll be pulling off those same moves before you know it.
2. Never Use Skin Lotion Before Pole Dancing
When it comes to pole dancing for beginners tips, we can’t overstate the importance of prepping properly. What you do beforehand can have a huge impact on your practice or performance.
So, it’s crucial that you never apply lotion before you pole dance.
Lotions and moisturizers improve your skin’s hydration levels by infusing water directly into your pores. (3) The water makes your skin slippery, meaning you don’t stick to the pole well. This can lead to slips, falls, and major injuries.
If you’ll be pole dancing at any point during the day, skip lotion altogether until afterwards.
3. Learn Pole Dance with Expert, Qualified Instructors
Living in the age of technology is great. You can find articles and videos teaching just about any skill you can think of.
But you should resist the urge to learn pole dance entirely from YouTube. A video can’t point out when your form is incorrect or you’re at risk of hurting yourself. And when you’re starting out, trying to be mindful of all these details is pretty much impossible.
Always learn pole dance from a qualified instructor—doing so will keep you dancing comfortably for years to come.
Whether you visit a studio, take a private lesson, or attend a live online video class, you need expert guidance to establish good habits and safe posture.
4. Always Wear the Right Clothes
One of our pole dancing for beginners tips surprises many newbies: showing skin is often a matter of safety.
All in all, the exact outfit you wear is your choice. You should feel comfortable and have a full range of motion. But most importantly, you need exposed skin to grip the pole and execute your routine.
Picture trying to spin or hold on with fabric between your skin and the pole. You’d have no control and slip right off in a matter of seconds. The tension and grip of your skin is necessary for staying safe and in control.
When you’re starting out, fitness shorts and a tank top will be just fine. But as you get familiar with the style and moves you like best, you’ll want to invest in clothing that strategically exposes skin.
5. Use a Crash Mat While You Learn at Home
Slipping or falling off your pole can cause knee, shoulder, or other injuries and bruises. Especially as you get stronger and begin trying inverts or other intermediate moves, you have a higher chance of landing badly.
Investing in a crash mat is one of the best things you can do. These soft, padded mats cushion any fall and reduce the odds of long-term injuries.
Ideally, you’ll buy a crash mat specifically designed for your pole. They’re usually round or square with a hole in the center, which allows your pole to stay in contact with the floor. Measure your space before ordering to determine what size of mat you’ll need.
6. Explore the Online Pole Dancing Community
Many of our best pole dancing for beginners tips relate to while you’re on the pole, but not this one.
Take the time to connect with the online pole community. These people are very active and interested in dancing, plus you can use any platform you like. Facebook, Instagram, independent blogs, and global forums are all great places to get support from like-minded people.
Exploring the online world of pole can be inspirational and help keep you accountable. What’s more motivating than a network of friends cheering you on from all corners of the globe?
7. Challenge Your Perception Whenever Possible
The human mind is unbelievably powerful. So often in life, our mindset is the only thing holding us back from trying something new or finding success.
“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t—you’re right.”
The more you visualize and picture yourself mastering pole, the easier your path will be. Of course, you’ll still need to practice and stay persistent.
But doing so with a positive outlook will help you achieve your goals that much faster.
8. Focus on Form and Posture
Pole dancing with grace and skill requires more than thinking, “Be graceful!” The muscles and habits you build during practice are the biggest deciding factor.
Always be mindful of your bones, joints, and muscles no matter what move you’re doing. Awareness in the moment can keep you from settling into bad habits that cause aches or pains.
Watching your form and posture will allow you to keep dancing for years to come.
9. Grip Aid is Your New Best Friend
It’s normal to find your grip strength somewhat lacking when you first start pole dancing. Unless you open jars for a living, you’re asking the muscles and tendons in your hands to work much harder than they normally do.
So, how are you supposed to build that strength and grip the pole during the interim? With some handy-dandy grip aid.
Grip aid, also called pole grip, is most often a topical product applied before you dance. There are quite a few formulations targeted towards dry skin, oily skin, and sweaty skin since everybody’s needs are different.
Especially when you’re starting out, grip aid can make all the difference in completing your routine. It can also be applied to other parts of your body depending on which moves you’ll be doing.
10. Stretching and Warm-Ups are Crucial
No matter what kind of physical exercise you prefer, you can’t start cold. Diving straight into strenuous activity can lead to injury, fatigue, and poor flexibility—3 things you never want to deal with during pole dancing.
That’s why one of the most important pole dancing for beginners tips relates to stretching and warming up.
Whether you’re practicing or performing, take a few minutes to do dynamic stretches and get your heart rate up. Doing so will make it easier for you to nail each move, allow you to practice for longer, and reduce the odds of hurting yourself.
11. Chart Your Progress
Once you get into a groove with pole dancing, your body and skill level will start to change quickly. Pole is a fantastic full-body workout. It’s especially demanding of your biggest muscle groups, like your quads, calves, and glutes.
It’s so satisfying to look back at where you started versus where you are now. Make time for taking photos of yourself every week and jotting down notes as you master moves.
Whenever you’re feeling down about your progress (which happens to all of us now and then), looking back on your journey is the best motivator.
12. Attend Classes Consistently
Consistency is key to improving your skills in any aspect of life. You can’t form habits or create muscle memory with sporadic practice.
Once you start attending classes, stay on top of them.
You certainly don’t have to be commuting across town for pole class every day—just pick a cadence that works for you and stick to it.
This can be monthly, every 2 weeks, or whatever suits your lifestyle. It’s not about attending class whenever you have a spare moment. It really just comes down to staying persistent without burning yourself out.
Learning How to Pole Dance at Home?
Luckily, you’re reading this on PolePedia which is the pole dance community’s top resource for everything about pole dancing since 2018. We have a special guide that we update regularly called the Ultimate Home Poling Handbook, which helps you learn what you need to know about poling at home from total beginner level.
There’s everything you need in this handbook, from what pole brands are good and safe, to how to install and troubleshoot your pole installation (and yes, there are poles that are safe for apartments!)
Best of all? it’s FREE and we don’t ask you for anything in return (not even an email address) so go check it out:
13. Give Yourself Recovery Time
You’ll likely feel sore from head to toe after your first time pole dancing. This is a great sign—it means you got a full body workout and used all your muscles.
But you need time to recover, too. Trying to pole dance again while you’re still recovering can cause painful long-term injuries, or even make it hard for you to dance in the future.
Just remember you’ll need less recovery time as you get stronger. Be gentle with yourself and realistic with your expectations.
14. Stay Hydrated
Is it any surprise staying hydrated is one of our pole dancing for beginners tips? Drinking enough water is important even if you’re taking the day off.
Dehydration can cause fatigue, difficulty thinking, mood shifts, and overheating. (5) It also helps cushion your joints, especially during pole work.
You’ll want water nearby whether you’re practicing at home, taking an in-studio class, or performing in public. The easiest way to guarantee you’ll always have water is by carrying a refillable bottle with you.
Rehydrate during regular intervals while pole dancing. Drinking enough water before and after your routines is important too!
Pole Dancing Tips for Beginners: The Bottom Line
It’s no secret that pole dancing is becoming more widely accepted and destigmatized with every passing day. Research shows that women (and men!) across the globe consistently report improvements in their mental and physical health thanks to this activity. (6)
But like any exercise regimen, it’s crucial to do your research before diving in. Having a clear understanding of potential risks and benefits can pay off in spades.
And when you pair this research with tips from the experts, you’ve got a recipe for success!
PolePedia hopes these pole dancing for beginners tips get you feeling more comfortable and excited about entering the world of pole dancing.
But if you still have a specific question or concern, please leave a comment. We’ll do our best to update this guide and address anything you’re still feeling unsure about!