PART 3 | Pole Goals
Happy New Year!
We're finally getting back to the swing of things and nows the time to start implementing any new resolutions, get back in to a routine and start working towards goals.
If you've read the previous 2 blogs, hopefully you've got a pretty good idea on what you'd like to be working towards, and this final part is here is help smooth out those edges of your pole goals.
Having correct body alignment doesn’t only help with the aesthetics of your movements, it also helps to improve strength, flexibility and reduce the risk of injury.
*Goal Tip – Video yourself to pick up on areas to improve. Take the time to repeat the same tricks and transitions until you can do them almost 'autonomously' This gives you the time to fully extend, breathe, keep tension in your legs and use your arms and fingers to finish the shape.
We all want new tricks to add to our repertoire but we can all get stuck in a tricks rut. Having a well rounded pole game is key to giving you combo options and keeping your routines diverse. Instagram is a gold mine for new content and play with searching for # rather than just sticking to the just well known polers. There are some incredible pole gems that don't necessarily have the followers to reflect that!
*Goal Tip - Instagram is great but sometimes you can't beat some face to face time. Pole jams, trick swaps, or grab yourself a private with an instructor (instructors this means you too!) Try to come prepared with a few wish list tricks as well as some out of your 'style'. You might find a new transition or shape that you never would have thought of, had you stuck to what you think you'd like.
This word brings joy to some and terror to others! Its something that you'll stop improving and never feel fully prepared for - but thats the joy of it! Moving to a piece of music with no set routine - this allows us to discover new transitions, build confidence moving on and around the pole and develop our own style of dance and movement.
*Goal Tip - The only way your going to feel more confident is to bite the bullet and just start freestyling - It's not about being perfect! Get a playlist together, if you can - get the lights down low and start with some simple pole walks, dips and pirouettes. It doesn't matter if you repeat yourself, as you continue to move you'll start to branch out - just let your body flow and go where it wants to go. Listen to the music and try to match your movement with the highs and lows of the song.
Floor jades, shoulder-rolls, handstands and splits - there is a whole host of areas you can play with moving between poles. This can be a great way to warm up, freestyle and learn balance, strength and flexibility skills - many of which are transferable on to the pole.
*Goal Tip - Slippers, big socks, knee pads...basically get comfy! The more padding the better to help you slip, slide and roll around of the floor!
These are some of the most important tricks/transitions on the pole - they are the foundation of nearly all aerial tricks and can even act as a safety catch in the event of an emergency exit from a trick. Your body needs to know these like the back of your hand - and yes I mean both sides....
They require some skin conditioning, correct alignment and positioning and strength to hold them securely.
Some times referred to as Gemini and Scorpio - this has become a little confusing as some people name them the opposite way round. Sticking to 'inside'' and 'outside leg hang' reduces confusion!
*Goal Tip - Make it part of your session after your warm up to have a 'conditioning section' Have a plan of exactly how many you will do each side before hand and get them done before you move on to new tricks.
We all know pole is upper-body reliant but our bodies are masters at compensating. Correct muscle activation is key for generating correct force output and reducing the risk of injury.
*Goal Tip - As with the leg hangs make it part of the conditioning section. Ensure you do both sides.
Static Spins. Arm only drills like pull ups, static spins (ensuring correct shoulder position) and isolated holds such as split grips will help to strengthen these positions.
Spin Pole requires practice to control the speed of the pole whilst moving through tricks. Some tricks will speed it up, others 'cancel' the spin out. Static tricks don't always work on spin pole and there are some spin specific tricks and transitions. Your body needs time to get used to the spinning as you may experience dizziness when you first start. The more you practice - the more your tolerance will build up.
*Goal Tip - Start with some simple climbs and sits playing with controlling the momentum. Pulling your body in to the pole will speed it up and reaching an arm or leg away will slow it down.
A beautiful pole combo or trick doesn't have to be crazy or advanced. A clean entry and exit is just as important as the trick itself. Taking time to repeat tricks until they become smooth will not only help you to get stronger and smoother - but it will also help you to relax, breathe and in turn increase your endurance on the pole.
*Goal Tip - Can you pause during the trick or transition? Can you have a conversation to make sure you breathe? Set your self challenges and review those 'old school' tricks. Video yourself to make and see improvements.
I hope you've found this blog series helpful! Good luck for 2017 and remember - small steps lead to big changes, so don't worry you don't seem results straight away. Plateauing is all part of the process - if we always improved then we'd have super-humans!
The point is to keep consistent with your training, get adequate rest and pay attention to signs of andy problems (loss of strength, fatigue, loss of range of motion/flexibility, pain) - pain is late indicator and taking time off pole for injuries is much worse than dealing with things before it becomes an issue.
I will be releasing some more blogs on this issue soon - and in the mean time let me know if you have any requests for content!