How To Speed Up Your Pole Progress With Cross Training
Are you looking for interesting cross training activities to help speed up your pole progress?
Looking for something to compliment your pole workouts and increase strength and flexibility?
In this guest post by Mary Milligan from Milan Pole Dance Studio that's exactly what you'll find.
So whether your core strength could use some direct focus or your cardio is letting the side down in your routines this article is for you!
Finding Interesting Cross Training Ideas For Faster Pole Progress
As I was starting to fall in love with pole dancing after a year of classes, I realized that my weightlifting 4-day split made for an excellent way to build my strength. But my body was craving for some other improvements that my routine lacked.
I noticed some of the ladies in my class had exceptional flexibility, or impeccable balance. Some were just so good at improvisation that I had to ask them how they did that so well!
I've done a lot of research on top of my newly-discovered knowledge, so you don't have to! Read on to discover an awesome list of the top five activities I put together for you that will compliment your pole dancing lessons.
What You Will Learn
- How To Become Stronger & More Flexible
- The Importance Of Stillness For Dancing
- Why Breathing Is Relevant For Pole Dancing
- How To Improve Your Cardio
- The Best Cross Training To Improve Multiple Areas With One Activity
Yoga For Inside-Out Flexibility
Although definitely not the only perk of yoga, the first thing that comes to mind is improved flexibility. The way yoga uses “asanas” to carefully create a deep stretch through your entire body is ideal for preparing yourself for a pole dancing routine.
Many dance instructors actually use “asanas” at the very beginning of the class to enrich the warm up sessions, get the heart rate up and stretch those crucial areas that often get tight after an intense workout.
However, if you're not naturally flexible that warm up and cool down a couple of times per week might not be enough for you to reap the benefits of yoga.
If that sounds like you, you should consider doing Sun Salutations in the morning.
This particular flow is perfect for gaining more flexibility, balance, posture and core strength. Believe it or not, it’s also a great way to get more cardio into your day!
Combining yoga with pole dancing can help you prevent injuries through strengthening your whole body and making it more nimble.
It also gives you a unique chance to learn how to control your breathing, be present in the given moment and have a much stronger focus.
The Benefits Of Pilates For Increased Strength
In the past decade, Pilates has become extremely popular among many around the world, and for a good reason.
It combines stretching and strengthening exercises that are both simple and challenging. In case you’re not able to fit a class into your schedule, you can always pick a few favourite moves and practice them at home.
While not my personal favourite Pilates is very helpful as an extra strength workout during the week. Especially for your core, back, legs and arms.
Just in case you can't find a class near you, here is a short video with some exercises you can do at home.
Pilates can also help you improve your posture with spine-aligning exercises. The newly-gained strength will also have a positive impact on your balance and overall body control.
Just like with yoga, many pole dance classes incorporate some of these Pilates moves into their warm up or cool down sessions. You can learn them under supervision and repeat them at home whenever you get the chance.
For best results, doing Pilates two or three times a week in addition to your pole dancing lessons will do wonders for you!
Discover Meditation & The Power of Staying Still
Unlike the other activities I've mentioned that are meant to improve your physical ability for pole dancing (whether endurance, strength or flexibility) most of us tend to neglect the single most important aspect of dancing: mindfulness.
Dance itself is a form of meditation in motion. With that said, movement alone is not enough for your mind if you have the tendency to “wander off” or go through a roller-coaster of emotions every day.
Being active and exercising helps with managing our energy and emotions to a certain extent. What we actually need to cope with the everlasting buzz of the daily life and stress though, is a way to be still.
Now that’s a challenge!
If you've never meditated before you can follow this helpful video for guidance.
Practicing mindfulness every day or just setting aside a dedicated half an hour to do nothing and not think will help you reach a new level of self-awareness.
Mastering the skill of stillness can never truly end so you are in for a lifetime of practice, but you’ll feel more at peace in your life.
You will hear about countless versions of meditation techniques out there, so don’t be fooled into thinking that there is only one right way to do it.
Perhaps the techniques you’ve read about or heard of will not be ideal for you; the trick is to see meditation as a process of discovery.
The goal is to create a stress-free environment in which you can clear your mind, focus on your breathing (or whatever works for you), relax your body and prepare yourself for the challenges that lie ahead.
In time, the more you enjoy your time of peacefulness and stillness, the more you will be able to enjoy dancing and transfer that awareness and presence into the dance you perform.
Capoeira – The Warrior Dance
If anything can complement an open-minded dancing technique, it's another form of dance!
Much like the Chinese and Indian pole traditions that are used to demonstrate strength, acrobatic ability and endurance, The Modern Capoeira is rooted in the rebellious self-defence improvisations of enslaved African people in Brazil.
Their incredible improvisations can range from beautifully simple to mesmerizingly intricate. Done with a partner and with a smile on your face, Capoeira has become one of the most popular martial arts.
One of my classmates from pole dancing has told me that combining her knowledge from Capoeira with her pole dancing routines has helped her achieve tremendous balance.
As many capoeira moves include jumps and aerial spins and kicks, the person performing those moves truly needs to find their balance, remain on their feet and still keep the dance visually graceful and powerful.
Learning to master such control can come in handy for pole dancing in many ways, especially if you enjoy learning lots of flips!
Practicing Capoeira helps you get more comfortable with spinning moves that require stability and core strength.
You also have a chance to gain greater agility and cardio endurance. Knowledge of Capoeira combined with pole dance lessons has made my friend's choreographies truly stand out!
Take The Leap With Trampoline!
Apparently, trampolining is the latest craze and it is tons of fun!
This was the last thing I expected to hear from a fellow pole dancer when I asked how she improved her cardio.
Trampoline fitness classes gave her the much needed cardio boost for pole dancing, as well as more overall energy, strength and muscle tone.
This type of workout can actually be more demanding than traditional cardio sessions and it also keeps your muscles, tendons and joints safe and strong.
The same can't actually be said for running!
In just ten minutes of rebounding, you can get the same results as in a half an hour spent on the treadmill with 40% less impact on your joints!
Here's a video for you to learn more about how you can use a trampoline in your garden to get fit. It's quite a long one though, so you'll need to set aside half an hour to watch it.
If you don't have half an hour right now, just bookmark the post so you can come back to it later 🙂
With trampoline classes you'll get improved cardio endurance, stronger muscles and better balance and any pole dancing troubles will be long gone.
I’ve noticed that some pole dancing studios even incorporate trampoline sessions into their own classes, because of their beneficial impact on dancing.
This fun workout will help to re-awaken the child in you by making you laugh and remember how it feels to be playful.
To Wrap Up
Pole dancing is both beautiful and challenging for your entire body and spirit but introducing a cross training activity into your life will help you overcome your own personal 'weak link'.
If you need more flexibility or strength you should try yoga or Pilates, both have shown excellent results.
For better balance you can try Capoeira or improve your cardio endurance with trampoline.
As for your inner stability and peace, meditation seems to be the key and Yoga might even be your chosen style of meditation if you want to cover more with one activity.
Whatever your cross training of choice, stay persistent and enjoy the hell out of the time you spend working on yourself.
Because all of that effort has one end goal: Helping you become the best version of yourself!
A Note From Gemma
I've really enjoyed this guest post from Mary and I hope you have too!
It has opened my mind to some interesting cross training activities to speed up progress. Some that I hadn't even heard of before!
Just on a final note, some of my own favourite cross training activities to help achieve my pole goals are:
- Boxing for shoulder health, core strength and cardio
- Climbing or Bouldering for improved core strength, faster progress and better grip
- Other Aerial Arts such as Silks and Hoop for fun using transferable skills you have from pole dance
What are your favourite cross training activities and how have they helped you?
Let us know in the comments!