Hobbies and Societies: Pole Fitness

Pole Fitness has ultimately been one of the best ways I have built self-confidence during university. I owe it all to the remarkable students and teachers at @offthegroundpole and @uospolefitness

My flatmate Becky and I decided to try it out in our first year and at the start we were apprehensive as neither of us had taken on an activity like this before. Instantly we were pulled into a world of confidence and strength – it was clear to see everyone involved had such a passion for pole fitness and dancing. It is safe to say we have been hanging off poles ever since and do not plan on stopping anytime soon.

Just a warning to everyone who speaks to me, if you ask about my hobbies or societies – strap in and prepare yourself for an entire speech about how much I adore pole fitness. Honestly, it could be suffocating. For anyone who is not familiar with pole fitness, it is a sports activity as an extension of pole dancing that is focused on improving strength, flexibility, acrobatics, and coordination. In our first classes were introduced to techniques such as fan kicks, step arounds and various holds. The instructors were fantastic at working from a steady pace, letting us progress and try new tricks at our speed. One thing I love about pole fitness is that you can tailor your learning to your strengths. For example, I am naturally more flexible as I danced for over ten years previously, so I found it easier to try more of the bendy tricks. Then in comparison, Becky is an avid gym goer and has better upper body strength than myself – so often I would find her climbing high up the pole and waving down at me below.

What I mostly attempt to express is the freedom and body confidence it had allowed me to practice when I am on the pole, surrounded by a wonderful group of encouraging people. Sarah, Gemma, Emily, and the other student instructors have helped me facilitate my determination to learn a trick I thought was too difficult. It took me months, with a whole number of bruises, to climb the pole and then finally one day it all clicked. I was immensely proud of myself, the progress I and the other students had made – this is the kind of atmosphere I love when going into a new society or sport. Pole Fitness and pole dancing specifically, can be partial to some negative stereotypes. Some can label it as too promiscuous and unworthy as a sport or profession. This could not be further from the truth, in my opinion, it is focused entirely on personal choice and body confidence. All students are offered a variety of classes from exotic dancing to yoga flow sessions, it is completely your choice to how much you want to get involved. The instructors and Pole community work to dispel harmful rhetoric on pole and sex work industry, to instead embrace of all walks of life to create a community to train, dance, experiment and have fun together.

I will be joining the Pole Fitness Committee as a class officer this year; I am extremely excited to be more involved. I want to try to encourage as many people to join our society, it is my personal mission for the third year. I cannot wait to get back to the pole studio, the society and Off the Ground Pole will be able to answer any queries about classes and their COVID secure facilities. Please check it out!

Pole fitness society

I have not been on a pole for over five months – so I thought I would include photos of a time I could successfully wrangle a pole move. If you take anything away from this, it means you get to hang upside like Spiderman and whip yourself around on a spinning pole. Need I convince you anymore?

– Hannah (English and History)

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