In the United States, pole dancing gets a bad wrap. It has a reputation for being sleazy and is associated with strippers and strip clubs. In Europe, however, it is a different story. Men and women alike take to the pole to prove their strength and flexibility. It is an art form and an athletic event that works your abs and arms and challenges your strength and coordination while also expressing a hint of sexuality. Luckily, this idea is slowly making its way over to the United States and many gyms are picking up on it.
Crunch Fitness, a popular gym with many locations in New York and Los Angeles was one of the first mainstream gyms to add a pole dancing class to its fitness schedule. While slow to develop, it has now become one of the most challenging and crowded classes in many of their locations. Other smaller gyms have also started to develop pole dancing classes. One gym nearby my apartment, Work It Dance and Fitness in Norwalk, CT is one of these gyms. Not only do they offer mainstream classes like Zumba, they also have Intro to Pole Dancing, Burlesque, and Belly Dancing. My good friend Christina surprised me on my birthday with a gift certificate to the gym and I decided to organize a group of 10 girl friends to take a private class with me. As you can see from the pictures above, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
We began the class with floor stretches and exercises. Every move our instructor would show us seemed easy at first, but soon because very difficult. Before we even reached the pole exercises my triceps were burning and my shoulders were engaged. The music was awesome and they gave us each a boa to use throughout the class so everyone loosened up pretty quickly and was having a good time. I am so glad that I decided to do it with friends because it really took the pressure off of being nervous.
We then made our way to the pole and were taught a few different moves such as walking around the pole, incorporating the floor exercises, and eventually adding a hop around the pole. I will admit it, I was definitely the runt of the group. Although I consider myself an athlete, I was definitely having a hard time keeping my arm held up straight on the pole and using it to swing me around. In addition, I also found it difficult to perfect the moves and then add some confidence or sexuality. I think that must come over time although many of my friends hit the mark right off the bat!
I was definitely nervous going into the class because I didn’t know how I would do and it seemed a little awkward. But the instructor and the staff made us all feel so free and comfortable that it became very easy to just let go and enjoy it. Even though I wasn’t the best, I still just went for it and tried to have fun with it. Stepping outside of your comfort zone is always a good thing to do, especially when trying new fitness classes, so I urge you all to try this someday if you can (men and women included!). Even better would be if you could organize a group of friends to do it with you.
Sometimes your body can get so used to your everyday workout that it doesn’t burn as many calories the more you keep up the same thing. As I said, I thought I had arm strength until I tried this class and now I realize that I have some work to do! It is always important to switch things up as often as possible to keep shocking your body into burning calories. I hope you all give it a try someday and if you are ever in the Norwalk area, I highly recommend Work It Dance and Fitness! You will never think of pole dancing the same way again :)
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