A seven-part blog to help you prep for competition by Angelica Avolio
Pole dance is a highly technical sport, and as such, it requires plenty of practice. Many pole dancers also decide to take part in competitions, which is a great way to push yourself out of your comfort zone and get to meet people with your same love for this sport! However, with it being a very challenging sport, there are a few things pole dancers need to concentrate on in order to perform their best at the competition. In this article we will discuss the main aspects that a pole dancer should focus on when prepping for comp.
INCREASE YOUR CORE STRENGTH
Core is extremely important to perform tricks or combo moves, and therefore it is highly recommended to include core workouts in your conditioning training. In fact, pole dancers are encouraged to partake in training sessions dedicated at increasing their overall body strength and not just on perfecting spins or trick. This is because having a strong core enables you to maintain correct posture throughout, and also provides you with extra strength on isometric holds or inverts.
BALANCE OUT YOUR BACK STRENGTH
Most of the moves involved in pole fitness require a pulling action (like climbing or spinning), where back muscles are required to pull the whole body towards the pole to maintain or achieve a certain pose. To get stronger on these movements, it is important to implement conditioning training focussed on vertical pull exercises, such as chin ups, pull ups and back pulldown. However, the constant use of the back muscles may lead to muscular imbalances and further injuries or postural issues. For this reason, it is important to also include chest-focussed push exercises on your conditioning sessions, such as push ups, bench press or chest press. Improving your pushing strength is also particularly important as you progress in your pole fitness journey, because it can facilitate the execution of some more expert moves, such as the extended butterfly pose.
FOCUS ON SHOULDER STRENGTH AND MOBILITY
Shoulders are a very important muscle for pole dancers. Majority of moves require some sort of engagement of the shoulder girdle muscles, and therefore strengthen this area with tailored training is of high priority. A great way to strengthen shoulders is to perform push exercises like overhead shoulder presses or lateral raises. Ensure to also include some shoulder mobility exercises so to prevent injuries and maximise the range of motion.
MAKE SURE TO GIVE YOURSELF A REST
As much as you would like to try your routine over and over again to make sure it will be perfect at comp, don’t forget that resting your body is also extremely important as this gives your muscles and your brain a break and time to recharge. Remember that overtraining can lead to injuries, so it is best to take it easy sometimes and allow yourself to rest!
WORK ON YOUR ACTIVE FLEXIBILITY
This is the type of flexibility that enables you to reach your full range of motion without the help of hands (or tools) to achieve the stretch. This type of mobility is particularly important as it enables you to perform any movement gracefully and achieve the correct positions, such as your back leg being fully extended when performing a Jade. A good way to improve active flexibility, is to perform passive stretching alongside resistance training on the areas you are trying to improve on.
FUEL YOUR WORKOUT CORRECTLY
Make sure to consume adequate calories, as well as focus on consuming protein and carbohydrates around workouts to maximize energy output and recovery. A lack of nutrients and calories can in fact lead to poor recovery, and in the long run, it can translate into chronic pain or even injuries. So make sure to eat enough proteins and plenty of healthy foods to sustain your training sessions.
All the aspects discussed above will help you improve your technique, your overall strength and prevent injuries, and enable you to practice your routine like a pro for your next pole dance competition. Stay tuned for a breakdown of each topic, each week!
** Stay tuned for part 2 of this article, coming out next week! **
Sign up to compete at the Minnesota Regional Pole Competitions, at the Land of Lakes Pole Dance Festival! CLICK HERE