A couple of weeks ago, I went for a free drop-in pole class at the new gym that my yoga studio is affiliated with. I’ve been curious about the pole classes there since they opened it, and since my yoga membership entitled me to a free trial class of my choice there, I took the opportunity to use it before my membership expired.
So apparently there are usually only about 7 or 8 girls in the intermediate class, and most of them are regulars who know each other. Because when I walked in to the room, everyone noticed and turned around.
Uh, hello everyone! …um, no pressure!
The instructor was very nice, and once she made sure I wasn’t a pole newbie, she welcomed me in to the class. One of the girls also kindly let me use her pole and shared another with her friend.
Over at the gym, they use portable static chrome poles which are plucked right out of floor in one piece and kept in the store room when the studio is used for other fitness classes. I was quite surprised at the end of class when everyone immediately took their poles down by themselves!
Despite the classes being called ‘pole dance’, it seemed more like pole fitness since everyone was barefoot and there wasn’t any dancing.
After about 15 minutes of warm up, the instructor chirpily announced, ‘okay, now let’s do some conditioning! 16 pole crunches on each side, then kick 10 times to the front and 10 to the side, and no cheating okayyy!’
I don’t think I’d ever even tried to do more than 5 pole crunches in a row before, let alone 16 on both sides. But when in Rome, do as the Romans do, right? Or possibly risk getting fed to lions..
So 16 pole crunches on both sides it was. (And just in case you were wondering, a pole crunch is where you hold the pole at chest level and raise your knees to touch your chest. Everybody together now: ‘Hhhrnngghh!!!’)
Damn, these gym girls are fit!
But chrome is a slippery metal compared to brass, and I kept embarrassingly sliding further and further down the pole. Luckily, the instructor didn’t mind spotting me some of her Dry Hands and I managed to finish my crunches without swearing too loudly.
torture exercises conditioning, we moved on to spins. It had been months since I’d touched a static pole so of course, I forgot how much momentum you need to use when the pole itself doesn’t move.
“I can tell you’re used to spin mode, cos of how lightly you step off from the floor… ‘ observed the instructor with a gentle smile, and proceeded to show me how to correctly walk, lean, and swing into a spin.
Then she showed the class a new move: a variation of the Hello Boys, but with both hands holding the pole in front of you. The way she did it, her entire weight was resting smack centre on her crotch. *ouch!*
I wasn’t the only one who cringed in pain on her behalf. Maybe it’s not just her abs that are made of steel? I dunno man, but respect.
When we tried it, it was slides-ville city with everyone slipping, squeaking and slamming *double ouch!!!* around. The shorts I was wearing were a rather silky synthetic fabric, and that didn’t help either.
She must have realized that no one was going to nail it if she didn’t modify the move cos she then suggested we try it resting one butt cheek on the pole instead, and then voila! Success!
After that she got us to try it transitioning from a Gemini, or left leg hang as I know it.
All I could think was, “Thank GOD I can do a Gemini!!”
I did get the hang of it, (no pun intended!) though it felt like a slightly weird combo climbing back up from a Gemini just to do a pole sit then the Hello Boys. But I guess that’s because the transition styles at Bobbi’s are quite fixed to flow into each other a certain way.
Before I knew it, it was time to stretch out and the class was done.
I stayed a little while to thank the instructor for her help and ask about where else she teaches. Who knows if some day I might want to take a static pole course with her. But God only knows I’ll have to work on those pole crunches first!