No matter who you are, how old you are, or how long you have been doing pole, at some stage in your pole training journey you will reach a “plateau”. A “plateau” by definition, is a state of little or no change following a period of activity or progress. We will all get there, or maybe we are there now and just can’t seem to take that extra step forward. I always try and use my own ‘plateaus’ as a time of re-invention or change. Your body and mind will take you so far, but your soul may need a little extra encouragement to take your pole training to a higher level.
One thing I have found that works for me is changing up my training. Sit back and assess the moves, the way you’re training, when and how you’re training. Sometimes, I change the amount of training I do, or the length of time - less time but more often, or more time but less often, may work. However, usually I look internally. What is my body telling me, what muscles am I trying to activate, where is my weakness, why is my body not doing what my mind wants it to do?
That is where Cross Training can help. “Cross” in definition is the action or practice of engaging in two or more sports or types of exercise, in order to improve fitness or performance in one's main sport.
I approached a couple of Australia’s most well-known Pole Performers for their thoughts on cross training and how they apply it to their own training.
Suzie Q, author of ‘The Stripper Next Door’ and winner of the recent APC doubles division, along with her partner Toby J, says she is a big fan of resistance training as a complement to pole. She always uses therabands to warm up before training and performances and she uses weights at the gym to help strengthen and stabilise her shoulders. In 13 years of pole training, she has already had one shoulder surgery, and says she uses weights and resistance training to avoid another operation.
Miss Pole Dance Queensland 2016, Tammy Grindlay, aka BamBam, says she always ensures she trains both sides equally and really concentrates on muscle engagement in every move. She recommends cross training with Pilates, as it focuses on engagement and balance, assisting in injury prevention. Putting in the time now will prevent injury later.
My own pole journey and strength gains on the pole have exceeded my expectations after I concentrated on resistance training at my gym, added in Pilates for core building and stretching daily with my PhysiPole Family. If you want to succeed, if your pole gains are slowing… up your training and add some resistance work or do some extra casual classes at your local studio every week. You will be amazed at the difference it will make to your Pole and Aerial training.
Written by Vicki McArthur
Photo credit: Model Suzie Q and Photographer Glen Woodhead