Why Do I Struggle Climbing the Pole?

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I've been asked: "Why do I struggle climbing the pole?"

So you’ve been going to pole dance class for a while now or learning to use your own pole at home and you’ve not been able to climb the pole with ease yet, maybe having trouble where you keep slipping or just can’t seem to get more than one climb up in. Well, there’s hope! We have all been there, learning to “get” a move, even a fundamental like climbing or inverting.

Helpful Tips if You Struggle Climbing the Pole

Here are a few things to keep in mind when learning to climb:

  • Warm up your body and your pole first. You will slip and slide on a cold pole and cold muscles are more prone to get injured. Try one of these warm up ideas or do a combination of some easy spins, walk around the pole and pirouettes.
  • Do some easy and light pole stretches as well before doing any hard pole work.
  • Make sure your skin on your legs, hands and arms are free from lotions and oils. Wash your hands and use alcohol to wipe your skin
  • Use grip aid on your hands and points of contact for climbing – the top of the feet, the shins, the back of the calf and your inner knees.
  • Wear shorts, not pants or long shorts…the more skin exposed the better area you have to ‘grip’ the pole.
  • Clean your pole. Some polers like the sticky build-up on their pole, sometimes I do as well, other times it’s just not working and I take a lint-free towel (like a glass-cleaning rag) and spray alcohol or Windex on it and clean my pole until it squeaks.
  • If you have sweaty hands, try wearing tack gloves from Mighty Grip…I use them when I’m training because I get sweaty after a while. 
  •  Pole Armour made a new grip aid product that makes it easy to cling on to the pole, even with clothing on. 

Exercises to do and learn before doing a full climb

  • Pull ups. This is one of the most powerful exercises you can do in my opinion for pole dancing. Spend $25-40 bucks at a Walmart or sporting goods store (or online) and buy a pull-up bar that you can mount in a doorway. Start learning to pull your body weight up. At first I had to do assisted pull-ups (and chin-ups) with my little green metal folding chair…I would rest one foot on it in front of me and use the strength of my leg to help push me up. Do these every other day until you can do a full-unassisted pull-up.
  • Do half climbs (demonstrated in my video below). These will build your upper body strength as well as train you for the initial climbing position. This is one of the most helpful exercises to do if you still struggle climbing the pole. 
  • Do pole ups. These are similar to pull-ups but on a vertical bar instead and this movement helps you to build strength specifically for the pole. This also develops your grip strength but more importantly, the pole up helps to train you to keep your shoulders down and engaged as you climb so you don’t injure your shoulders or become ineffective in your climbs.
  • Strengthen your core as well. Your core assists you when you pull yourself up into a climb on the pole. 
  • Once you are up in a single climb and want to go higher, you will be glad you did these strength training moves to help with the power needed to move up the pole.

Video Help 

Struggle Climbing the Pole > Learn to Climb the Pole

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