Pole fitness for beginners: Everything you need to know

Looking for a new fun and challenging exercise? Say hello to pole fitness.

Woman doing pole fitness

by Bryony Firth-bernard |

If you’re not a fan of the gym, but want to exercise to help tone and strengthen your body while also giving you a confidence boost in the process, then pole fitness could just be for you.

“Pole fitness is a form of exercise which incorporates the entire body, it's a new and exciting way to achieve your fitness goals and is a great way to get in shape, tone up and have an incredible amount of fun,” says Jo Thomas, pole instructor and studio owner at Pole Position Fitness.

Not to get confused with ‘pole dancing’, pole fitness is a full body workout that requires the pole as a piece of fitness equipment which you use for different holds, whereas pole dancing incorporates dancing routines around the pole.

Is pole fitness good for weight loss?

It is indeed. Pole fitness is a full body workout that works lots of muscles throughout the body, while also being great for your core.

“Pole fitness demands your body to be continuously moving from one position to another whether that be swinging, climbing, or lifting,” says Jo.

“The muscle power and continuous movement will result in burning calories and therefore reduce the amount of fat within your body. Because pole fitness is such a fun activity, many people find that it is a more enjoyable way of losing weight.”

Is pole fitness hard?

“The honest answer is both yes and no!” admits Jo. “Pole Fitness is not as difficult as people think, it’s hard in as much as anything new is; everytime you try a new move you’ll probably find it difficult but once you’ve got that move nailed, usually it’s a piece of cake! Your instructor should initially be teaching you moves that you can do with your current fitness level. As your fitness level and skill improves, you’ll learn harder moves to match.”

Can anyone do pole fitness?

No matter your age or size, pole fitness is for everyone and not just the young and athletic.

“There is no limit or pre-requisite for pole fitness. You can take it easier or you can go far and do some amazing tricks inspired by circus performers, but it's for everyone of all sizes and abilities. We’ve a wonderful member who was born with one arm. She’s a real inspiration and shows that pole fitness welcomes everyone.”

How much are pole fitness classes?

Prices for classes will vary from area to area, but can range from anywhere between £12.50 per hour, or you can pay more for a block of classes.

Jo’s top tip for pole fitness beginners

“Whether you are excited, anxious or nervous we always say the first step is getting to class number one, after that we will do the rest. Our best advice is not to moisturise, because it makes you super slippy on the pole and come to class with an open mind and a positive can-do attitude!”

Here's what these women think of pole fitness...

Kate, 60

Kate doing pole fitness
©Jo Thomas

"I started pole fitness with a friend as a bit of a joke, but I’ve been doing it for three years now and I absolutely love it!

"Arriving at the first class we were both quite nervous, but everyone was in the same boat as it was a six week beginner course, so no one had done it before. After the six week course I joined the beginner session. There’s a wide range of ages and abilities in these classes, but everyone is so supportive and encourages each other irrespective of ability or age. Pole fitness is the best exercise for all round flexibility and strength and there’s always a new challenge, so you never get bored.

"Now, I’m much fitter and stronger and it’s made me feel more comfortable in my body. I would 100% recommend pole to anyone, it’s a great form of exercise and keeps you fit and flexible. Even if you only do one class a week the benefits are enormous and you make a host of new friends of all ages to add to it."

Peggy Sue, 55

Peggy Sue doing pole fitness
©Image Cella

“I’ve been doing pole fitness for five years now after a friend invited me along to a class. Walking into the first class I felt extremely nervous and self-conscious, but no-one judged me, everyone was welcoming and very supportive.

“Of course pole fitness can be hard work, but I feel a huge achievement when I manage to get a new move. My strength ability has greatly improved and my body feels more toned. Age shouldn’t hold anyone back from giving pole fitness a try, you’ll soon feel more confident with your body and with your ability to try something that’s more diverse!”

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