You installed a home pole, and you walk by it every day thinking, “I really should use it, but I don’t know what to do.”
Everyone’s practice looks different. The way a pro trains is going be much different than the way a beginner trains. But if you’re here reading this, chances are you want to train on your own, but you have no idea what to do or where to begin.
Here’s a simple guide to getting your own practice off the ground.
Set a purpose or an intention. This is the thing that you’ll want to gloss over, but I promise it’s the reason your practice feels shitty or pointless. If your practice has no purpose, how do you know what to do? How do you know if you’ve done it? Maybe you don’t train a lot and your intention is to just touch your pole and walk around it for 10 minutes. That’s a great goal! Maybe you only want to condition. I love it! Maybe you’re training to get your butterfly. Let’s do it! Whatever your intention or purpose is, write it down, keep it in mind. Your purpose will tell you what to do next.
2. Warm Up
A warm up should prepare your body and your mind for what’s coming. Advanced polers who are getting ready to work on something like a Bird of Paradise or a Janeiro will do specific exercises to warm up the body for those tricks, but for the rest of us, a good old fashioned head to toe roll out will do for general pole training—something that targets the major areas like the shoulders, spine, hips, glutes, and hamstrings.
Using a warm up to get in the mood for your practice can be helpful too. If you’re going to focus on a more fitness style workout, your warm up can reflect that. If you want more of a dance practice session, your warm up can get you in the headspace for that too. Using props like bands, blocks, or even heels can breathe new life into your warm up. For a visual summary, check out this post I made on IG
If you like to be told what to do, luckily for you, You Tube is replete with instructors leading you through warm ups so you can follow along. Try this one by my girl Cathy
, a BKKP super fan since the beginning and a wonderful instructor.
If you are in an explorative mood, try a low-flow freestyle—no inverts or crazy tricks, just moving around slowly, stretching and mirroring movements on each side while gently moving to your favorite song.
In addition to building strength, conditioning repeats a movement so your muscles and skin can get used to the new feeling, and your brain can make a map of the new movements. Personally, I like to target three main areas: the arms and shoulders, the core, and the legs and butt. For arms and shoulders, you can do straddle lifts and experiment with different grips
If your goal was to just condition, awesome! It’s time to cool down. But if your conditioning was prep for a training session, here’s where things start to open up.
Maybe you just learned to chopper, and you want to keep it up. Rad! Maybe you took a break from pole and you want to get your superman back. Kick ass!
If you are working on… well, all the things in general, try organizing your practice into four sections: spins, climbs, inverts, and combos. If you are hard pressed for ideas, there are some Practice Plans
available in the shop. The first one is free.
Whatever you work on, it’s a good idea to track your reps. If you want to strengthen your weaker side, set your number of reps on your weaker side first. Then, do fewer reps on your stronger side.
5. Cool Down
If you are in the movement mood, try my favorite: the walking cool down
. No inverts, climbs, tricks, or spins— not even a pirouette. Just slow simple walking and anything you can do while standing still. Luxuriate in the fact that you just successfully practiced on your own.
This, like setting a purpose, is the part that you’ll want to skip, but I’d encourage you not to. Let’s say your practice purpose was “to work on butterfly.” You repped it, but didn’t nail it. If you’re prone to stinkin’ thinkin’ like I am, you walk away from your practice and say, “Well that fucking sucked. I suck at this.” But look at your practice purpose: to work on butterfly. And you did! You worked on it, which means you were successful in your practice!
Whether your goal was to take a sexy picture to post on Instagram or to be in my pole space for 10 minutes without crying, which are also worthy goals, its important to reflect so you can acknowledge your progress and make adjustments to your practice.
The more you get into a practice rhythm, the more you’ll find exercises, habits, and methods that work for you. Hopefully, this guide is the pep talk you needed to get your practice off the ground. For a notebook to help you plan, track, and crush all your pole goals, get The Ultimate Pole Goal Notebook. It’s set up to help you move through this exact process, and it’s like having a little cheerleader by your side as you train.