In the pole world, there has been a long debate over why pole dancers need grip aid, and whether it was a crutch that should be celebrated, or if it should be banned altogether. No matter which side you are on, the fact is: grip aids are here, and they’re likely to stay. But, what exactly is the benefit?

Do Pole Dancers Use Chalk?  

No, pole dancers don’t often use chalk because it actually decreases the amount of tension you have between the skin and the pole. This can be detrimental to grippiness and lead to injury if it causes you to fall from the pole.

In some cases, you may see other pole dancers using something that looks like liquid chalk. That magical little substance is called grip aid. It comes in a range of applications and suits different skin types based on what kind of aid you need. Some help you stop sweating pre-emptively, others add tackiness to your hands for extra tension, and others help wick away sweat during your routine.

In past years, competitions have gone back and forth about whether pole grip should be allowed because in these scenarios it is seen more as a crutch than anything else. Some studios allow it, yet others don’t.  

Grip Problems: Reasons Why Pole Dancers Need Grip Aid

Grip aids are not a replacement for true grip strength and healthy, conditioned skin. That can take a while, however, and even advanced pole dancers have trouble with their grip sometimes.

On the flip side, grip aids are useful and should be used when it improves the safety of the pole dancer. This is especially important when you are learning new moves that you may be nervous about. Ultimately, if it prevents a nasty fall or accidental pull in a muscle, then it has a justified place in pole dancing and should be allowed during practice.

Oily Skin

If your skin is too oily, you can end up slipping off the pole. This is a similar problem to excessive sweating, except that your body is producing too much oil. Often, this is because of cosmetic treatments that strip too much of your natural oil away from the skin, leaving your body in over-production of oils to compensate. Alternatively, it could be from oils that you’ve applied to your skin, such as massage oil or tanning oil. The best thing you can do for this is to adopt a hygiene routine that is gentler on your skin and ditch the oil products.

Excessive Sweating

A surprisingly common problem in pole dancing is excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis. (1) This condition means that you are prone to excessive sweating even with mild activity, and it can impede your pole dancing progress.

“There are some simple interventions that may help alleviate excess sweating. These include avoiding known triggers and wearing loose fitting clothing or shoes, as well as choosing natural fabrics over synthetic ones. For mild hyperhidrosis, over the counter antiperspirants should be the first step.”


Fortunately, grip aids exist as antiperspirants as well, helping you stop sweat in areas that you need to grip, such as your hands. Plenty of these antiperspirants are recommended in our Grip Aid Guide, which you can view below:

Cold Pole

Your cold pole could be causing some of your grip troubles, especially if you haven’t warmed up at all. Warm skin has more moisture to it, and a warm pole is going to be more receptive to that moisture, providing you with more tack. In the middle of winter, however, it can be difficult to keep poles warm. Furthermore, poles don’t tend to hold heat for very long once they are warm. Grip aids can help you start poling while you wait for the pole to warm up.

Lack of Grip Strength

If you don’t yet have the grip strength to tackle the move that you’re working on, or the pole is just a little too slick, you will wind up frustrated by the inaccessibility of some moves. Because pole dancing is just as much of a mental puzzle as it is a physical challenge, using grip aids can help provide you with a crutch for confidence in being able to nail that move, or work your way a few steps further through the puzzle. Don’t skip on your grip exercises, and you’ll continue to become stronger with each session.

Lotion and Moisturizing Routine

If you’ve been pole dancing for any significant amount of time, then you probably know by now that lotion and pole don’t mix. What you might not know, however, is that a lot of common household products still contain moisturizers that could be ruining your grip.

On the flip side, if your skin is too dry, it could cause even more grip problems, which means its up to you to find the perfect balance for your skin. Ideally, healthy skin for optimal grip during pole dancing should be hydrated and slightly warm. This means that you should drink lots of water and treat your skin well during non-pole days (sometimes that means finding a pole-safe moisturizer.) Warm skin will come with your pre-pole routine!


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  1. Forbes, Sweating Too Much? Here’s How to Handle Excess Perspiration,