Why You Should Tip Pole Dancers Betterby Carrie Borzillo - April 17th, 2017
When most people think of pole dancing, they think of strippers. That's not quite an accurate word association anymore. In fact, most pole dancers don't even take off their clothing. And, stripping certainly couldn't be an Olympic sport, but pole dancing is actually in the running.
The International Pole Dance Fitness Association (IPDFA) has been working toward this for years with the argument that pole dancers are athletes because their fitness-level, skills, and "tricks" as crafty pole work is referred to is up there with that of Olympic gymnast and figure skaters.
Seeing that pole competitions are growing in numbers worldwide, it's not long before these "pole athletes" get their wish. "There will be a day when the Olympics see pole dancing as a sport. The Olympic community needs to acknowledge the number of people doing pole fitness now," Ania Przeplasko, the founder of the International Pole Dancing Fitness Association, told U.S. news channel MSNBC earlier this year.
Not surprisingly, this is causing many naysayers to raise an eyebrow or two. I thought the same until I took a pole dance class while on vacation at Desire Riviera Maya Pearl Resort in Puerto Morelos, Mexico, and learned that pole dancing has less to do exotic dancing and more to do with athleticism.
"This is going to probably be the hardest workout you've ever done," my pole dance instructor, Bernadette "Bee" Taylor, told me with a sly smile. Bee recently came in 2nd place at the PSO [Pole Sport Organization] Southwest Championship in 2016. "There's a reason why we're trying to get this to be an Olympic sport. It's got gymnastics, strength training, aerial work, balancing and it takes training for the pole competitions around the world. Real training, like an athlete!"
Bee's pole dance lesson was indeed hands-down the hardest workout I've ever done. Harder than Zumba. Harder than kickboxing. Harder than cardio ballet. And, yes, even harder than PX90. And, I'm not in that bad of shape. It's just that it requires the use of every single muscle in your body. You need upper body strength to hoist yourself up the pole, inner thigh strength to grip the pole with your legs, a strong core to keep it all moving, back and hip flexor flexibility to twirl around the pole, and a good sense of balance and coordination so you don't get dizzy and fall to the ground. Everything from your abdominals to your glutes to your biceps is getting a workout.
While there is really no "dancing" in pole dancing, it does require a bit of grace just like with figure skating. There is fluidity to the movements and a routine that is well choreographed. The gymnastics comparison is obvious as well gymnasts do horizontal splits on a balance beam, while pole athletes do vertical splits on a metal pole.
The benefits of pole dancing to your body are obvious. You can tone up every muscle group, burn calories faster, turn fat into muscle, strengthen your back, and improve your flexibility, coordination, and balance. Equally important are the benefits to your state of mind. When you actually manage to achieve a tricky move or just are able to climb up the pole without falling, there's a confidence and feeling of empowerment that washes over you. And, because it's actually a fun workout, it can motivate you to workout more.
But, there are also bona fide health benefits. Because it's an aerobic activity, it's actually quite good for your heart and can improve your metabolism. Seeing that all of the muscles are being targeted, it can also improve blood flow and circulation.
Additionally, good posture is a result of the back and core strength that is required for pole fitness. "Good posture is important for optimal lung functioning, healthy digestion, a healthy spine, and an alert, engaged mind," X-Pole pole athlete Tarryn Knight recently told Health24.com.
The next time you're at a strip club and see a pole dancer doing some fancy footwork on the vertical, toss those singles aside and throw her a twenty!
Carrie Borzillo is a freelance sex/relationship writer for Mens Health, DAME & CanadaPharmacyOnline.com.