Monday, 14 April 2014

Berkshire Fitness Scene : Pole Fitness

If you ever thought that pole dancing was glamorous, you would be sorely mistaken. Sorely is a good choice of word actually. My foray into the world of Pole Fitness took me to a grimy, industrial gym, appropriately called Fitness Warehouse; a relatively new facility underneath a multi-storey car park, surrounded by greasy food establishments, pool halls and taxi firms and populated largely by burly men hefting weight around in stringer vests (not string vests… that would be even worse).
Car park turned gym
It’s a cheap and basic facility that serves a purpose. No fluffy towels here, but you will find a handful of classes such as Spin, Tae Bo, Thai Boxing, circuits and Pole Fitness. You may have seen me expressing nerves on twitter about the class and what to wear… shorts and a t-shirt or vest are fine but leggings are best avoided as you get better grip without. You can wear socks if you like (I did) but most girls were barefoot.

There can be up to 12 in the class but this evening we were 6. We shared four poles and because I was a newbie I got one all to myself – bonus! Our instructor, who was the spit of the girl from Flashdance, took us through a circuit style warm up and then talked the girls through level one and two moves in between showing me some basics. I was soon tackling basic and cross legged fireman, crescent moon, attitudes and a bunch more I can’t remember the names of. I became familiar with cup and baseball grips and was allowed to attempt flag poses, holding myself sideways on the pole.

My instructor... honest!
Although I was the novice the class catered for all levels. I spent a fair portion of the hour letting my arms recover while watching the experienced girls climb and perform more acrobatic poses. I felt quite bulky in comparison to the other girls, which is probably more a reflection of my lack of elegance on the pole rather than a comment on my weight. There is some emphasis on looking good on the pole, pointing toes, arching your back and sticking your bum out… years of being told to “tuck your tailbone under” meant that the latter was hard to get used to, but by the end I was throwing some reasonable shapes.
One of the more experienced girls warming up before class
If you’re planning to be showing your legs off in the warmer weather I wouldn’t recommend pole fitness. I had a bruise showing by the time I got home from class and more the next day, not to mention aching in places I didn’t know it was possible to ache (armpits… seriously). No doubt that this is hard work but more for your muscles than your CV capacity. Lean limbs and strength are likely to be your outcomes here.

Would I do it again? Well at £5 for an hours class it’s fun, affordable and challenges me in a different way but I don’t think it’s going to become a regular part of my regime.


  1. £5 a class?! that is a bargain! its £22 approx in London! lol ...I love pole, and I'm lucky as my bruises (if I even got any) never really showed up! It was a fab all over body workout and the elegance / poise / strength transferred into other workouts I do :)

    1. Yeah I know! Totally affordable right? I really did enjoy it, and it was good having to think about poise as well as technique. Do you still do classes? I can't remember you mentioning it for a while.
      I would do it again, but it's not where my focus is for the moment :)