Climbing the pole is an essential part of an intermediate level pole dance routine. Learning to climb increases your upper body strength, much like climbing a rope or a rock would. Your grip becomes stronger as well as all of the muscles in your shoulders, arms and back.
Climbing is something that you should master before you start to learn to invert since you ultimately want to be able to invert from an aerial position on the pole.
Practice climbing until your movements look effortless, fluid and you are using control instead of looking like it is taking every last ounce of energy you have to get up there...which is what it might look like at first, but keep practicing! That 'easy-look' that skilled dancers have didn't come overnight...they started where you are too.
You will feel the 'pole burn' on your skin possibly on the tops of your feet and inside of your thighs; you may also get bruises in these places as well as your shins and calves.
Also, you will find that you will favor one hand/foot placement over the other. To ensure that you develop strength on both sides of your body, start your climbs with both your right and left feet alternately.
There are several things you should know before starting to learn to hoist your body weight up on the pole.
1. Start by learning spins.This strengthens your grip and lets your muscles get stronger and used to holding your weight as it is in motion.
2. Never hang from the pole. This is not correct form neither does it look pretty. You are using the wrong muscles when hanging, not strengthening the correct muscles and you can strain your wrists and shoulders.
3. Learn to engage your scapula (back muscles/shoulder blade muscles) when pulling yourself up.
4. Use plastic shoes at first, at least. It is frustrating to start learning to climb barefoot. I suggest using trainers or plastic heels or boots as vinyl will help you to stick to the pole as you hoist yourself up.
5. Use bare legs until you have built your strength and are able to climb easily. Leg warmers, yoga pants or any other type of cloth will only cause you to slide at first. When your arms and back are strong enough to pull you up then you can use leg warmers.
6. Make sure you have clean skin or at least all of the oils that might be on your legs is washed off. I use a little Mighty Grip powder and pat it on the top of my feet, shins and on the inside of my thighs when I am going to do a lot of climbing.
7. Watch the video clips at the bottom of the page to see how climbing is done as well as get instruction and tips.
This move is advanced and you should have a very strong basic invert as well as start learning the flagpole:
Here is a fun kick you can do when climbing: