Article by guest writer Sara Wielenberg
It’s getting cold so let’s talk about warm-ups. We all need them. They make your pole practice safe and they keep you poling longer. I’ve heard suggestions of cheating warm-ups by taking a hot bath or a shower, but warming up your body from the inside out is the best strategy. It gets your blood moving and gently eases your muscles into working. If you work a desk job like me or do any sort of repetitive motion job, warm-ups are especially helpful for easing the tension out of your static muscles. I like to think of my warm-up in three phases.
In the fall and winter, we often come to class or to our workouts layered up for warmth. One of the great benefits of poling in the colder months is the decreased temptation to just jump right on the pole. The pole is cold and we don’t want to ditch our warm clothes for pole gear. Getting the blood pumping allows us to shed those layers as warmth builds. Light cardio is a good first step in a warm-up. Some options are biking, walking, jogging, or climbing (stairs or the pole), anything that gets your heart beating without pushing too hard too fast. Do this activity for a couple minutes, then step up the pace just a little for one more minute. Now you’re ready to lose the snowsuit.
Waking Up Muscles
You want to make sure you’re warming up every muscle you’re going to use. Pole can be a painful sport, especially for those new to it. You’ll have much less stiffness and much fewer aches the next day if you do an intentional warm-up. It’s easy to do the half-hearted, get-to-the-good-stuff kind of warm-up, but a warm-up should be as focused as your pole goals. I like to do a few rounds of Sun Salutations because it really seems to hit most of my muscles. The two pieces I find most helpful for waking muscles up are plank and chair. Those crucial ab and shoulder muscles get activated along with many others in plank. Chair pose is excellent for getting the legs going, as are squats.
As I mentioned, I work a desk job, so every muscle I have is pretty well locked into place by the time I leave the office. My neck and shoulders are especially tight, so I usually include a short yoga series focusing on my neck and shoulders. One of my favorite shoulder stretches to do both before and after a workout is simply raising your arms with bent elbows. If you look in a mirror and draw an X from each elbow to the opposite hip, it should cross at your sternum. Then you gently press back with your elbows. In general, I like to follow videos or lessons from books so I don’t get too aggressive with stretching during my warm-up. In a warm-up, you never want to push your body. Stretching should be kept to gentle, light movements. Save your flexibility stretching and bendy moves for later in your workout. Not only will you have more success with warm muscles, but you’ll also greatly decrease your chances of pulling a muscle.
You need to warm up you and your pole for the safest pole practice. A cold pole is a slippery pole, especially if you’re already warmed up. I always do a few spins and climbs to heat up the pole and they fit well in the first phase of my body warm-up. You can also use any of these phases to stay warm while you wait your turn, if you’re in a class that requires pole-sharing. Try to enjoy the warm-up; it may not always seem like it, but the slow start of a warm-up ultimately serves even your biggest pole goals.
Article by guest writer Sara Wielenberg follow her on social media