Teach Yourself to Pole Dance!

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Many well-known pros are proof that you can teach yourself to pole dance! Professional pole dancers such as Sara Jade, Nicole the Pole and many others started out just using what they could find online – free YouTube videos, online courses - and then learned how to pole dance on their own.

I will say it isn’t the easiest way but everyone learns differently. Here are my thoughts, ideas, strategies and tips you can use to teach yourself to pole dance.

Is teaching yourself to pole dance the way for you to learn? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Is learning independently for me?
  • Do I like learning on my own?
  • Do I like privacy when I want to try something new?
  • Am I highly disciplined?
  • Do I know how to motivate myself?
  • Do I like doing other activities alone?
  • Do i learn well from watching something demonstrated?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, learning on your own might be the best path for you.

Practical considerations for learning on your own:

  • Do you live in an area where there are no studios close by?
  • Are classes too expensive for you to take?
  • Do you have your own pole and space to practice in?
  • Do you have internet (for online classes/video access) or a DVD player (if you are planning on learning from a DVD course)?
  • Do you have a crash mat? (I used large couch pillows placed around my pole base until I could afford one)
  • Do you have anyone to help you as a spotter while you learn on your own? If not, consider a good crash mat investment.

How to get started on your own

First, you need a couple of things:

  • A stable, sturdy, quality pole
  • A desire to learn and willingness to put in some hard work!

All of the other things you can get as you absolutely need them:

  • Pole dance shorts and tops
  • Stripper heels (if you want to learn how to dance in heels)
  • Pole grip aids
  • A crash mat or spotter help
  • Pole cleaner – actually you will find you might need this right away!
  • Your own pole space - If you are fortunate to have a spare room or large space dedicated to your pole dancing, that is awesome! I haven’t always had one but made it a priority when I bought a new house to have that extra spare room with smooth floors.
  • A mirror to see your form in some moves
  • Speaker to play your music on
  • A way to video record your practice and progress
  • Internet connection or DVD player for lessons

What lessons should I start with?

There are several ways you can start learning.

Use free videos. You can find these on YouTube, clips on Instagram and Facebook. YouTube is filled with lots of “how-to” videos. Some are just demonstrations of a move or exercise and that is fine; you can learn more from those that teach step-by-step with detailed instruction. Also, collect several videos on the same topic – such as “how to climb the pole” or “how to use a spinning pole” and you will find that every instructor/video has something that you can learn from it.

Buy a one-time purchase online course. Dana of Pole Fitness Dancing has created such a course that takes you from beginner to intermediate level in pole dancing. There are conditioning exercises, how to use the pole, how to set it up, spins, climbs, inverts and routines.

Subscription Online lessons. There are several really good subscription-based online pole dancing courses you can learn from. Studio Veena, 123Poling and Pole and Aerial just to name a few. These are priced usually on a monthly or yearly basis. They cost less than live instruction and have just as much content if not more that you can get in a workshop or class.

DVDs. There are several DVDs that you can learn from. Some of the ones that helped me in the beginning of learning pole dance was From Mind to Body’s DVD Pole Dancing for You and Sheila Kelley’s S-Factor series. I found that these both taught in a simple and easy-to-follow format. I was able to get my first invert learning from Pole Dancing for You.

Books. There are books you can learn from as well when you teach yourself to pole dance. Sheila Kelley’s book “The S Factor: Strip Workouts for Every Woman” helped me to learn a few things on pole – this book is mostly floorwork and stripper moves but it has a lot of great moves that you can use with your pole routines. I also like Natasha William’s “Pole Tricks Handbook” that illustrates, outlines and breaks down tons of pole dance moves to learn.

Best strategies to teach yourself to pole dance 

Get "The Veena Method". It’s a free guide and I keep going back to this because she does it RIGHT. You start with the basics – and slowly let your body build itself up. It is so tempting to want to learn to invert and do the crazy, cool tricks right away, but this can be a recipe for pulled muscles, strains, sprains and other not-so-fun things that will hinder your progress – and hurt. I am so thankful that the first studio I ever went to start learning made us complete six weeks of classes learning all of the fundamentals including conditioning our bodies every session before we could even start to learn inverts – from the floor first! Smart teachers.

Set up a learning schedule. Don’t be overzealous when you teach yourself to pole dance – learn the fundamentals first or follow the lessons in your program. Most should begin with fundamentals, strengthening and conditioning your body to get ready for the rigors of learning harder pole moves.

Be patient with yourself. This is a journey!

Set goals for yourself. If you have a dream of learning a certain trick, write it down in your pole dance diary. If you have a goal of doing a 3-minute routine, set that for yourself and work up to it. Setting intention, setting up goals and breaking down ways you can reach them is a recipe for success.

Find an online pole buddy. If you decide to teach yourself to pole dance, find someone that you can possibly Skype with or share your progress with. Having someone to show your progress to is exciting – it is so fun when you finally nail a trick or make some progress towards a goal to share it and get feedback and congratulations from your new friends that understand where you are at.

Join an online group. Join an online community when you teach yourself to pole dance so you can post your videos, photos, progress and ask questions and ask for help with things you are learning. There are online forums/groups such as Studio Veena and many Facebook groups that you can join and share questions, comments, photos and videos on.

Learn moves from the floor first. This is a good tip I have always used. 123Poling uses this in their video lessons. Try positioning your body into the move on the pole from the floor first so that you can get an idea of where your body is coming in contact with the pole and how much strength or flexibility is needed to be in that move.

Take rest days. Take active rest days when you teach yourself to pole dance where you can stretch, do light cardio or yoga. Take care of your body on these rest days – hot Epsom salt baths, massage, icing sore areas and foam rolling are all therapeutic ways to give your sore and tired bod some comfort.

Eat good fuel. I am not an advocate of one particular way of eating – I eat a keto diet because that is what works for me, what I feel best on and how I have been able to lose body fat. A lean, clean diet is better for others, vegan or vegetarian diets as well. The main principles are to eat whole, raw foods and keep processed, sugary crap out of yourself. You will find that this helps your energy levels and this is important for those days when you really want to give your all to pole.

Don’t forget how cross-training can help you. I find walking/jogging/cycling on off training days gives my mind a break and gives my body something different to do. I also do HIIT workouts, short, high-intensity bouts of exercises like burpees, jumping jacks, ect. Here is a free eBook with ideas for cross training for pole dancing. 

Strengthen yourself. Weight training or some type of strength, resistance workout will help you with your strength when you teach yourself to pole dance. I use the 5x5 method and it has worked for me. There are tons of free workouts you can find online that use free weights or machines that you can find in the gym. I find that free, heavy Olympic weights work best for me. Kettlebells are also said to be one of the best strength training workouts as they work the entire body.

Stop if any injuries start to develop – this could be a pain in your back, hip, shoulder, wrist, whatever. Stop, assess it, rest it, if it goes away great, if not, see a physician. One of the most valuable things one of my instructors taught me was to listen to my body. Don’t push through pain and injury. A little discomfort, yeah, but not pinching, burning, chronic pains.

Keep track of your progress – keep a video log somehow, post on Instagram or a social media account, or like I do I keep a Dropbox file and name them “polepractice” and the date or if I am working on a particular move/exercise I name it “shouldermount” and the date so I can reference them. You can also keep track with a notebook or pole dance diary or journal as you teach yourself to pole dance. Here is the template that I created as a free downloadable and printable page.

For more great tips, strategies and practices, here is a link to my top pole dancing tips

Some Free Stuff to Help You Get Started!

The Veena Method, free downloadable guide. 

Studio Veena app - free app that has a few free lessons on there.

Dance Pole Comparison Guide. Gives you an overview of where you can get poles, available options and pricing.

Cross Training for Pole Dancing. A free, downloadable eBook that covers various ways to cross train for pole dance. 

Pole Dance Journal. This is a downloadable, printable page that you can make copies of and keep in a binder as you teach yourself to pole dance or use it as a guide to set up your own page. 

100 Affirmations for Your Pole Dance Journey. A special, little eBook I wrote with positive, uplifting and encouraging affirmations that will help you along the way. 

And a few more freebies here on this page "Freebies" including a link to the online Pole Dance Dictionary, a video catalog of tricks, spins, drops and more. 

I hope this helps you teach yourself to pole dance! If you have any questions, comments, suggestions or want to see any other information, please let me know by clicking on the “Contact Me” link at the bottom of this page.

Teach Yourself to Pole Dance > Can I Learn to Pole Dance?

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