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The Importance of the Warm-Up

Michelle Jenneke Every type of fitness class has a warm-up. So it's understandable that a Pole Dance class needs one too.

But does anyone ever question why we need one?

Especially if you have rushed all the way from work, been stuck in traffic and have to run up the stairs to the studio, you are already flustered and out of breath, so you don't need a warm-up, right?

Or, it's Summer, and you are already hot, so no need for a warm-up, right?

Or you're a bit tired, so taking it easy is the best thing to do, to save your energy for class, right?

WRONG.

Even though a Warm-Up should of course, warm you up, maybe the name is misleading.

It could really be called, a joint lubricator routine, or a blood pumping choreo, or even an oxygen building dancey bit.

It's highly important that you prepare your joints, your muscles, your lungs, and even your mind before you take your first spin.

Plus, if you have been going to Defy Gravity classes regularly for a month or two, you are probably fitter than you think you are. Which means it really will take more than a small run from the car park and a jog up the stairs to get your uber fit body out of relaxed/rest mode and ready for a work-out.

Joint lube, you say?

Yes, those precious shoulders of yours need a warm up to stimulate the synovial fluid in the shoulder joint (this goes for all joints, but shoulders are taxed a lot during pole dance). This provides protective cushioning as well as allowing your bones to move more freely. So less risk of injury.

Blood pumping, oxygen, what?

Yup, if you want to go from not pole dancing, to pole dancing- your muscles are going to need a lot of fresh oxygen in order to do that. A warm up should increase and deepen your breath and raise your heart rate, which will send more red blood cells to your muscles, and thus fresh oxygen. Less risk of cramp, or feeling `heavy` and tired during your class.

So

  1. Show up to class ON TIME

  2. Put your all into the warm-up, MOVE, EXTEND

  3. If you arrive and the warm up has already started, HURRY UP and join in. Join in, wearing what your are wearing!

  4. Remember the rest of the class cannot stop mid warm-up for you to catch up, plus they do not need to warm up twice. See point number 1.

  5. Remember as with everything, you get out what you put in. See point number 2.

  6. Do not try and `save your energy` for class by not giving the warm-up 100%. The warm-up will give you energy!

Pole Dance Myths

Myth Busting - Defy Gravity

Even though all women are welcomed into a Pole Dance class, and many have joined Defy Gravity this year already! But there are still some who are not sure what goes on inside a Pole Dance class. This has lead to a few myths about Pole Dance. So lets rectify them here.

1- You'll get Blisters on your hands.

Very,very rarely will you get a blister. Over time, and I mean a long time, of consistent practice, you will start to get very UN-NOTICABLE rough skin in VERY small amounts just below the fingers on the palm side of your hand. Pole Dancers who train for competitions in a serious way get much more noticeable rough skin on parts of the palms. Someone who enjoys a pole dance class once or twice a week, will not.

2- You get covered in bruises.

For the first few weeks, you may notice a few small purple pole kisses on your legs or ankles, until you smooth out your spins. Further small, singular bruises may arrive once you focus on one particular new move. Many bruises and raw patches are, again,more `professional pole athlete in competition mode` territory and should not be the main worry of someone who loves pole dance as a fitness hobby.
None of the Defy Gravity Members walk into class covered in bruises with really rough blistered hands.

3- Its REALLY hard.

Pole Dance Instructors know that holding yourself off the floor, even for a second, on a vertical metal pole, is not like anything you will have done before. We also know it takes about two or three weeks for it to not feel so alien. We understand.
This is why we structure our BEGINNER classes for those who have never tried pole dance, or any kind of dance before. In other words, we make it easier for you. We want you to have fun learning the skill. In beginner classes, you stay on the floor, with both feet, A LOT. The off the floor stuff, is built in, slowly, over time. So you are ready for each move. We make sure that everyone is capable before introducing anything new.

4- You dance around the pole in a sexy way for men, and then you hang off it upside down.

O.k. I am not sure which one to tackle first. So I will start with: NO! You will NOT be hanging upside down in Beginner classes! You will have to remain the right way up, for a very ,very long time.

Pole Dance classes are split into levels. At Defy Gravity you start at Beginner level. You learn easy dance steps, easy spins, a sit, a climb, and we have fun putting it all together. There is also of course a warm-up, and cool-down and some conditioning exercises and stretching. It's normal to stay at this level for a while. Until you are ready for...

Improver Level. This is where you work on harder variations of everything you learned in Beginner Level, and also start to prep for...

Intermediate Level. Ok NOW we go upside down. But still slowly. And only when your body is ready.

So no need to think your friend will have to call A&E during your first class. No need to think you might fall off (you cant fall off when you are still on the floor), and no need to think you have to be a gymnast, or are not strong enough for pole dance class.
It is not your job to be strong enough for pole dance class, it is your instructors job to make you strong enough DURING class. Over time.

Ok, the first bit. There is nothing wrong with realizing that the quiet confidence that comes from knowing that you can pole dance, makes a woman stand out from the crowd. And there is nothing wrong with wanting to get that allure via pole dance classes.

There will be no men in class watching. I assume the only man you will wish to dance for at home would be yours? And that is no ones business but yours. For anyone saying pole dance hobbyists only do it for men need to inform me where all these men that are near poles are? Unless you are a paid professional, the only time you will be near a pole is at class. Where are there are no men watching. This is a silly myth.

5- It's dangerous.

Being drunk and flinging yourself around a pub pole is dangerous. Never attending a pole class before putting up a cheap home pole and trying to copy from pole dance videos on the Internet can be dangerous, especially if you are in a rush to `go upside down`. Classes run by well respected and experienced instructors are not dangerous (as long as you listen to your Instructor ). The poles you see crashing down on Internet videos are not the same kind of poles you will find at class. Also, any pole dancer will tell you, unless you really don't know what you're doing, or unless your self preservation reactions are out of whack- it is difficult to fall off. It is much easier to get `stuck`. Also the poles we use in class are quite grippy!

 

6- Its only for young, thin people.

Coming to class just once will help you realize than this is NOT the case! I have all shapes and ages in ALL levels of my classes. Not just in my beginner level, all the way up. Learning pole dance, like any other skill is less about age or body shape and all about mentality. You will find some things easy and some things challenging. The person on the pole next to you will find challenging what you found easy. It's the same for everyone. If you can relax and have fun with knowing that, then pole success will always come your way.

7- You have to wear underwear and dance in front of people.

This is actually NOT recommended in my classes. Underwear never stays in place and is really awkward to pole dance in. Also dancing in front of people is reserved for our Freestyle Club, where if anyone wants to, they can. In a warm, supportive, positive environment. Nobody has to dance by themselves at class. Oh, apart from the Instructor.

8- You have to wear really high heels!

Shoes are not compulsory! It matters not if you never ever want to pole dance in any of the over the top, sparkley, platform high heels. Although if you do, you will find 5inch heels will be too short, and will soon upgrade to 6 and even 7 inches!

9- It Hurts!

Ok, this one is not a myth. But gripping the pole with your legs, waist or armpit hurts way less than a tummy or a head ache. It hurts way less than banging your foot on the table, it even hurts less than a hangover. Pole grip is also not permanent, over a few weeks your brain switches off from telling you about the part of your body that is touching the pole, as reminding you has become pointless, because you keep on putting that part of your body on the pole! Because its so much fun!
My Defy Gravity Members keep telling me that kneeling on a hard floor hurts more than pole grip. So, there you have it.
10) You have to be strong and flexible to start.

This is similar to saying that you have to be fit before you join a gym, or flexible before you join Yoga, or be able to swim before taking swimming lessons. Pole Dance makes you strong and flexible over time, its one of the great things about it. Allow yourself to start something new. Even the most famous pole dancers started out not being able to do a simple spin.

Do you know of any other pole dance myths?
Be sure to tell us at class! :)

5 reasons why Defy Gravity makes life easier.

  1. If you miss a class you can make it up by attending another class that same week
  2. It's not just Pole Dance that happens at D.G, you can stretch in Ultra Flex or work up a sweat in Chrome Core.
  3. Still want to dance but don't want to lift your body weight this week? Try our Beginner Stripper Style class.
  4. Starting to find Beginner level a bit easy? Try adding Choreo Class (full routines) to your weekly classes.
  5. Been with us for 3 months or more? Refer a friend and get rewarded with a Pole Junkie voucher or some Free Membership.

Jessica is our Member of the Month!

Jessica - Defy Gravity

Jessica is one of our Unlimited Members so you can usually bump into her in almost every class! Which as an Instructor I am overjoyed about as Jessica always goes out of her way to say Hi to newcomers and make them feel welcome. Jess has a long standing horse riding injury, and because of this has had many challenges during her pole journey. Not that you could tell, as she always has a positive attitude at class and has attained 3 of her big goals: Really good flow when dancing, upside down leg hangs and a butt on the floor (ok, on a small yoga block) in her splits.
A true ambassador for Defy Gravity!
 
So Jess, how long have you been a Pole Dancer?
I’ve been going to classes at DG for about 2.5 years, and I love it! 

What made you start Pole?
Initially I just wanted to tone up, but the idea of a gym just didn’t inspire me.  Also pole has all of the sexy, you don’t get that on a rower!  I had heard about classes from a friend, and I’m so glad I decided to try it!  It’s a wonderful way to work out, gain strength and flexibility.  

What do you get out of it?
I’m not a natural dancer, but I’m amazed at how much more ‘flow’ I have now compared to when I first started.  I love learning the dancing as well as all the tricks, and there is a perfect balance of both within classes.
 
Do you have any advice for anyone just starting out?
My advice for anyone thinking of starting out is to just go for it!  It took me a year to pluck up the courage, for no good reason!  For those starting beginner/improvers. I know some weeks I found I had reached a plateau as far as improvement went, and if you find yourself in the same place, don’t let it dishearten you
 – another level of progress is just around the corner, and it’ll happen sooner than you think!   
And definitely get the shoes!

Do you have advice for the Intermediate pole dancer?

Advice for inters?  For me I found dipping back into the beginner/improver classes now and then is beneficial.  When we’re upside down or working on bigger tricks and bolder spins, it’s easy to forget the pretty basics, they’re all still important.

Pole dance is the only form of exercise I have stuck to, the atmosphere in the studio is always positive and we have so much fun!  Jamie is a mesmerising dancer and a wonderful teacher who gets the best out of every single student, not only on the pole but in the RLNA classes too.  I’ve noticed such a massive improvement in my strength and flexibility since joining DG, and my waistline is also trimmer, all good stuff.  Give it a go, nothing to lose and you could gain a whole load of awesome!

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Defy Gravity - Jamie Taylor
Defy Gravity - Jamie Taylor
Defy Gravity - Jamie Taylor
Defy Gravity - Jamie Taylor

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