|Deacon Learns Basic Chair Dance Moves|
Thankfully, we recruited Xpose Annapolis owner Rachal Frank to give us a private session - having four paws makes participating with the "regular crowd" a bit of a challenge. She briefed us on what to wear, why dancers wear those crazy heels and super short shorts, and what the difference is between Pole Fitness and the pole dancing you'd see at a club.
What Do You DO?
|Filling Out Safety Forms|
Pole Fitness is quickly becoming recognized as a sport in its own right - there's even talk it could become an Olympic event as soon as 2016.
Pole Fitness is much more closely related to Cirque due Soleil or gymnastics than "Girls Girls Girls," Frank assured us. Most moves combine cardio, yoga, pilates and strength training through a combination of dance moves and whole body resistance training on the pole. After just a few minutes of class, both Deacon and Hailey were out of breath and exhausted-- but having a blast.
In an intro class, you'll go through a dance based warm-up and combine moves like squats and lunges before trying basic spins like the Fireman. The next day, our arms, rear and core were as sore as they are after an hour-long session with our personal trainer, and we'd gotten a fun cardio experience as well.
Pole dancing proved to be quite the workout for Deacon – imagine climbing up and down to the top of 15 foot poles, spinning and lifting up your entire body weight! Deacon tried his hardest, but even the toughest of German Shepherds would have a hard time mastering some of the moves Xpose owner Rachal Frank was showing Hailey and Deacon.
Not sure you're quite ready to master the pole? Don't worry - we felt awkward too (at first). It's tough to let loose in front of women you don't know, but Frank assures us that after a few weeks, class attendees will start to feel more comfortable with basic moves and even exhibit more confidence in their daily life - particularly on the dance floor! If you're still skeptical, Xpose, like many other studios, also offers a variety of other athletic activities including Zumba, Hip Hop, Floor/Chair in addition to its signature Pole Fitness classes. Planning a girls night out or a bachelorette party? Most studios offer private parties and workshops, a great way to break into the sport with a group of friends.
Each studio sets up their class structure differently - some offer drop-in lessons for students of different levels, while some require that you sign up for a series where moves build upon one another from week to week. Most offer discounted or free intro classes for newcomers as well.
|Deacon poses with XPose teachers|
Whatever you'd like! It's recommended to start out in clothing similar to yoga wear. More form-fitting clothing will allow the instructors to see if you are holding your body in the correct position against the pole. Many Pole Fitness attendees opt for small, tight shorts (similar to the kind you'd wear in a Bikram Yoga class) because as one becomes more advanced at spins and climbs, they'll benefit from having exposed skin to "stick" to the pole. Excess fabric can cause one to slide and can become dangerous. Heels are also optional, particularly at beginning levels. The plastic that many heels are made of can help students stick when learning one of the more basic advanced moves - climbing up the pole - and also help keep the leg muscles in a contracted position, creating a better workout. Most studios suggest you buy special Pole Fitness shoes as they have a thicker heel and platform (for safety and comfort) as well as an ankle strap to hold the shoe on as you go from move to move.
Who attends? Most of these studios are 18 and older, women only classes. All classes are taught in smaller, private rooms where there are no visitors allowed (you generally can't even see in the door), so do not worry about having to be watched. But for those of you that like performing for an audience and want to show off your moves, many studios have in house competitions and demonstrations, or end of the class performances.
If Annapolis is too far to venture for your workout, there are dozens of Pole Fitness studios in the DC/Metro area. Deacon highly recommends:
Xpose Fitness; Annapolis, Arundel Mills, Towson, Owings Mills
Every Saturday at each location the 12:00 class is FREE to first timers! Fall in love? Mention Deacon at Xpose Fitness Annapolis ONLY and get 15% off your purchase!
Pole Pressure; DC, Georgetown and Leesburg
Introductory classes are free at all locations. Please check the schedule for details.
Diva Fit; Ashburn, Chantilly, Herndon and Falls Church
Introductory classes are $20, but the fee is waived if you sign up for a class package after your session.
Jordin's Paradise; Mount Vernon Square
Walk-in classes are $39 each.
Chic Physique; Bethesda
Introductory classes for new clients are $20.
Thank you to guest columnist Hailey Robbins for the photos, video and article.