Plus Size Pole Dancing

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Who says there isn’t plus size pole dancing! One common complaint I have heard from more women who have apprehensions about trying out pole dance is: I’M NOT SKINNY ENOUGH!

Bull-crap is my response. I have been to pole dance classes, studios, workshops and performances for several years now and have seen ALL shapes, sizes, heights, strength-levels and backgrounds.

Curvy, heavier women CAN pole dance too – I have seen it. I have seen women become strong in their own skins, powerful in the confidence they exude and the shape of their thighs or belly or breast not be any kind of a hindrance to becoming awesome at pole tricks, spins and dances.

I think any kind of body issue can be overcome. No one is freaking perfect - in fact, who the hell determines what is "perfect"? Disabled people can even do pole dance. Deb Roach doesn’t let the fact that she has one arm stop her from even competing. Why would the number on a weight scale or the voluptuous curves of your body stop you from being sexy? Or being powerful? Or challenging your level of strength?

Me at a heavier weight. I learned to embrace my body no matter what weight I am at.

Body Image and Plus Size Pole Dancing

I have body image issues. I’m not going to lie. I am doing what I can to deal with them. I started dieting when I was a freshman in high school. One of my girlfriends had made a comment about my belly and suddenly I became very aware of the extra fat there.

I still struggle with that as I enter my 40’s. But that doesn’t stop me from wearing short shorts and a sports bra and climbing on my pole. Neither does it stop me from sexy floorwork or handstands.

I think the best thing to do when you think you aren’t thin enough is to get naked in front of a mirror and start to admire yourself. All of you. And then choose to do the things you want to – like pole dance – for yourself.

Plus Size Pole Dance Challenges

I think the challenge faced by a man or woman who is overweight – or maybe just really tall and ‘heavy’ is building strength for pole dance. But this is a challenge for EVERYONE who is starting off new in a sport that requires upper body strength to do some moves.

I see it as if you have more weight that you are training with, the stronger you are becoming. If you have 200+ pounds to invert or pull up as opposed to 120 lbs to haul upside down, then who is technically stronger?

Building up your strength increases:

  • Ability to do more weight-bearing moves
  • Body awareness
  • Confidence
  • Support for your joints/muscles/tendons/ligaments so there is less or no injury

Another challenge would be joints – shoulders – wrists. Building strength slowly – taking your time letting your shoulders and wrists take more and more weight on them, whether in hand standing, pulling yourself up in a pole-up or learning to invert and hold poses such as the Butterfly or learning handsprings – all of these moves should be learned in incremental steps as you build the strength and flexibility to perform them without causing any injury to yourself.

The best way to do this is to follow your instructor or to get into a good online course that starts with beginner conditioning moves and builds upon that.

Find lots of videos of plus size pole dancing like the one above on YouTube!

Benefits of Pole Dancing for Curvy Girls

There are lots of juicy benefits that come with plus size pole dancing such as:

  • Increase of confidence (as mentioned above)
  • Weight loss - if this is one of your goals
  • Developing your ‘courage’ muscles to keep trying new moves
  • Feeling sexy, sensual aware of your femininity – or masculinity
  • A lot stronger bod!
  • Toning as your muscles grow and develop
  • A supportive community of pole dancers – at least in my experience
  • A new awareness of your body, your health, what you are eating, what is affecting your pole training
  • Being a real badass. That’s enough for me!

Dealing with Self-Consciousness

One of the ways that helped me the most to lose my self-consciousness when I was the chubbier one in a room full of tiny or slim, fit girls was to:

  • Focus on the goal of what I was attempting at the moment – spin, trick, motion, new hand grip
  • Dancing in a dimly-lit room/studio
  • NOT watching myself in the mirror - it helped me to focus more on what I was feeling and to let go in my dance
  • Knowing that I will not get everything on the first try. Some moves have literally taken me months to make just a baby-amount of progress in. It’s okay!
  • Positive self-talk such as “I CAN do this.”
  • Accepting the help and compliments of my fellow polers
  • Letting my instructor know that something was difficult for me and if he/she had any modifications of the move or ways I could condition/build strength before moving on
  • Focus on the breath going through my body especially in a hard workout or extended pole session where we kept trying our moves over and over and over…yeah, had lots of those bruising sessions!
  • Wearing very comfy pole wear. I wore the softest, cotton-iest shorts, bra-tops and loose sexy tanks so I could feel good enough to move around and sweat in without anything pulling or too restricting

Self-consciousness can affect anyone - someone who feels they are too bony and skinny, someone who is towering in height over everyone else, the person who is short and always needs help reaching things. No matter what our perceived limitations or hindrances of our bodies, break though those barriers! Remember, you can do this. 

Follow Plus Size Pole Dancers

There are several blogs, websites and studios that focus on the fact that women and men who are heavier/overweight/curvaceous/big and tall – however you want to put it – pole trick it out just like any other body shape/size/height can. Here is an excellent article from Peach Lee Ray of "A Guide for Instructors: What Every Plus Size Student Wants You to Know that give pole dance instructors insight to some of the challenges heavier people have in learning pole as well as the views and perspectives that plus-sized students want you know about. 

All it takes is a healthy determination,  a willingness to face your fears, consistency and proper instruction just like it does for anyone else.

Share your thoughts below about plus size pole dancing in the comments section. We can all benefit from others’ experiences and perspectives :) 

Plus Size Pole Dancing > Can I Learn to Pole Dance?

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