Basics: Starting Your Pole Dance Practice

Chris Nawojczyk mounted on dance pole wearing black thong and top.

I want to share my journey from day one of first getting on my pole. It was in 2016 when I bought my first X-Pole, which was an X-STAGE Lite 45mm brass. I chose brass after researching to find that it had the best traction capability for less slippage. Though the odorous metallic substance gets dull, requiring you to polish, the benefits of brass seemed ideal for beginners. Nevertheless it’s brass—good old vintage brass.

Why I Started Pole Dancing

I began pole dancing in spring of 2016 after getting excited from watching pole dancers on YouTube. I was already a health and fitness enthusiast, and having mastered yoga over the past 6 years I wanted something new. I had known about the pole fitness movement since 2013 as a trend beyond the strip club, but never bothered getting a pole for myself until having the desire.

During the winter months between 2015 and 2016 I attended my first year of law school in Boston. Amidst the stress and frustration from courses and classes, I really wanted to take my fitness and health lifestyle to the next level by summer. I wanted to finish off the spring semester by shedding a new leaf and doing something radical. Not only did I become plant-based in my eating, but my lust for a pole dance practice became enticing.

I am a bold rebel with a purpose. I have a nerve for being enthusiastic about life and not caring what others think, so fulfill my inner passions. Pole fitness and dance is still somewhat taboo, largely due to both its tradition among strippers of ‘gentleman’s clubs’ but also because of its erotic nature. Let’s face it, pole dancing is just incredibly sexy. The sensuous nature of the body flowing through positions and stretching in grace is just arousing to the psyche. It’s freaking filthy—and I LOVE IT.

That’s what inspired me to start pole dancing: wanting to be my raw and dirty authentic self. We are sexual beings. Let’s be honest, but beyond the art and psychology there is true hardcore fitness involved. Pole dancing is a full body workout, one that strengthens both lower and upper body while providing major stress relief on physical, mental and emotional levels.

Knowing that I could push the envelope by getting something deeper from my workouts, I knew pole fitness would be exciting and full of variety. It’s not bound to the usual repetitive weight lifting exercises that we do in the gym. it’s also not boring. To be honest, as much as like yoga for strengthening, increased flexibility and inner peace it can get old. I’ve usually combined weight-bearing workouts such as squats with kettlebells on days in between my yoga sessions. Not that yoga can’t be a full body muscle-building workout, it’s just that it gets tiresome without the added intensity.

Pole Dancing is Demanding at First

Pole dance can be a rigorous and brutal sport when you first start out, but don’t get discouraged. This too shall pass! Pacing yourself is necessary to build up the muscles you’re not used to working. After a few weeks of practicing about every other day, you will start to experience less challenge when maneuvering and holding yourself up on that shiny vertical pole. Like many aspects in life, watching experienced pole dancers can be deceptive concerning the effort required until you try it for yourself.

Chris Nawojczyk pole dancing filthy in black thong and top, spreading legs in "v."
Chris Nawojczyk pole dancing filthy in black thong and top, spreading legs in “v.”

Nevertheless, don’t be dismayed. Your body will acclimate. Mine did, and I was already in great shape. For whatever reason, the intricate mechanics of the specific muscles used are unique to pole fitness. I will never forget the night when I climbed on my pole after setting it up. I got on and started shimmying and spinning for the first time. My subjective impression was something like, “OMG this is hard!” After about a minute or two I got down, and was panting and gasping for air.

How intense, I thought. Surly this is demanding, which also means it is rewarding. Though I had been physically active for years from weight training and yoga, my body had to adjust by building the muscles unique to pole dance.

Every Day is a New Opportunity to Improve

Like any practice or activity in life, pole fitness skills get better the more you practice. It’s a combination of neurological rewiring (aka. neuroplasticity) and muscular development. For me, it only took a month until I was performing poses on the pole that I never thought I would do. It’s amazing what the human body can do once you give it a chance. It takes determination and desire, combined with the discipline of consistency.

It’s important to remember that each day is an important opportunity to seize. Skipping practice just for a week can set you back somewhat. Thus practicing briefly even for a 15 minutes can reap mega rewards over time.

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