Pole dancing for men
Are you a dude who’s tired of your usual gym workouts? Or perhaps you are unfit and looking for a fun workout that will torch the calories while building muscles, improving posture , increasing flexibility and improving your mental well being. Pole dancing ticks all these boxes and more.
Okay but isn’t pole dancing only for strippers?
It’s true pole dancing conjures up images like this one:
But pole dancing doesn’t always have to be sexual and the domain of a strip club. The fitness industry has taken on pole dancing as a legitimate sport, making it fair game to everyone including men. In fact male pole dancing is really gaining mainstream popularity. There are even National and World Championships that include male categories.
Why should men do pole dancing?
Pole dancing isn’t just for women. Pole dancing is an excellent full body workout for men too, combining resistance training (using your own body weight as the resistance) with cardio. You’ll work your core, arms, shoulders and back. Plus your hips and hamstrings will get a damn good stretch too.
Tips for men taking up pole dancing
Don’t skip over learning the proper techniques
As men generally have more upper body strength, you will probably be able to climb, shoulder mount and handspring much quicker than a female beginner. But don’t be tempted to race ahead and skip over the beginner lessons. If you do, when it comes time to do the more complicated moves, you will struggle with technique. You’ll also risk damaging your shoulders or back if you don’t learn the proper technique.
There are many styles of pole dancing such as:
- pole sport
- sexual/ sensual (think dancers in stilettos – which is of course totally fine for men in that is what you are into!).
- acrobatics/ tricks; and
- fluid dancing.
You might want to call a studio you are interested in to check the type of pole dancing classes they offer and also check that they have co-ed or male classes. Be aware that even though pole dancing is becoming much more mainstream for men, some studios are still strictly ladies only.
Chances are you will be joining a co-ed pole dancing class. Don’t give the women in the class unwanted attention or make them feel uncomfortable.
Remove any jewellery, watches etc before the class
Jewellery might scratch the pole or get in the way when you are moving around. You’ll also be asked to tie back your hair if it is long.
Pole dancing for men FAQs
Where do I find a pole dancing class to join?
To find a pole dancing class in your area, you can use Google, (just type in “pole dancing classes in [your town]”, Yelp, or you can take a look at the Worldwide Studio Directory, collated by pole dancers on Reddit. If you are in the UK, definitely check out polepages which provides a comprehensive list of pole studios. Note that some studios will require you to book into a course which spans a number of weeks. If that is the case, I recommend asking if you can do a trial class before you commit. When you are looking for studios, again be aware that some studios will be female only. If you can’t find a studio that allows men, you could always see if an instructor will do one on one classes (this will obviously be more expensive though).
What do men wear for pole dancing?
I’d recommend just wearing whatever you feel most comfortable in to start with. Tight shorts or running shorts like these ones will be just fine. You’ll find long pants will limit your movements and ability to grip the pole, so I’d avoid these right from the start. To hold your bits in place, I’d recommend getting some very tight underwear or a dance belt (these are used by male dancers). A dance belt basically lifts the “guys” up and pushes them forward so that they don’t hang between your legs. It also acts a bit like a bra in that it smooths out any lumps and bumps.
For the top, I’d recommend a sleeveless shirt although some studios will let you go shirtless.
Once you move up to the more advanced classes and do more time on the pole, you will need to have more skin showing because clothes limit your grip. You don’t just grip the pole with your hands and knees, you are also using the skin on your neck, arms, shoulders, armpits, stomach, back, butt, thighs, calves, shins and feet to get a decent grip. I’d recommend getting some high leg pants like these ones.
More and more pole clothing shops are offering a men’s line such as Wink Fitness Wear which has a line of pole dancing clothing specifically for men. You can also check out the men’s pole dance line at Fairy Pole Mother.
I’d also not recommend wearing any shoes when you are just starting out with poling.
What can I expect at my first pole dancing class?
Don’t expect to be doing complex moves on the pole by the end of the first class. You’ll need to learn the fundamentals of pole dance technique and strength training first. You’ll start off with the easiest moves that everyone can do, and as you train more you’ll gain the strength to then move on to the harder to achieve moves. It feels amazing to start off as a beginner and feel yourself progress to the harder moves. Just be aware that it will probably hurt for a while after each class (although a good studio will have you stretching before and after the class begins/ends). And expect some pole burn and bruises (affectionally known as “pole kisses” in the pole community) once you progress to climbing and inverting.
Isn’t pole dancing just for gay men?
Gay, bi, straight – it really doesn’t matter! As long as you are interested in improving your physical fitness while learning the proper techniques, pole dancing will be a great fit for you.
A lot of men are hesitant to try pole because they think they’ll be learning stripper moves or have to move and dance like a girl, but there are so many types of pole. If you are looking for a purely masculine form of pole dancing, find a studio that focuses on pole fitness. With pole fitness you’ll sculpt your body, get a great all over body workout and learn some cool tricks.
The males at my studio are varied – some are fitness enthusiasts who already have a background in dance and gymnastics. Some men are just tired of the usual gym workouts and want to do something a bit different.
Is pole dancing harder for men or women?
In some respects pole dancing is harder for men. Some moves require a lot of flexibility, meaning they are easier for women to do. However men tend to have greater upper body strength meaning they will have the advantage when it comes to doing tricks that require strength. For example the pole handstand (where you hold your entire body horizontally in the air by gripping the pole) can take 2-3 months for a male to master. For women, it can take 6 months to 2 years to learn.
As men tend to have a higher body mass that women, they also get a better workout when doing pole as the extra muscle means there is more resistance to lift.
Do men need to shave their legs to do pole dancing?
Shaving legs may help guys with grip but I wouldn’t bother if you are just a beginner. Many basic spins (such as fireman, attitude, carousel, chair, front and back hook, Hollywood , Juliet, thread through, tuck spin and reverse grab) require no leg grip.
Won’t I injure my bits doing pole dancing?
In addition to wearing a dance belt, you’ll invariably learn tricks to keep from injuring your bits. For example, tilting the hips to avoid smashing in the pole. Also, be sure to speak up in class and ask for modifications if a move or position is uncomfortable.
You definitely don’t need to be ripped or have a certain body type to start pole dancing. You can absolutely jump straight in – your fitness will develop while you’re busy having fun. The first few classes will probably be hard, but persevere and you’ll soon find yourself building strength and stamina and doing more advanced tricks. Just go at your own pace. There also shouldn’t be any pressure to advance quicker than you feel comfortable. A good studio will ensure you have the basics right before moving on to the trickier moves.
As a total beginner, one hour a week will probably be enough. As your strength and endurance improves you will start to feel that one hour a week is not enough, and you’ll probably want to up your training to 2 classes a week (or invest in a pole for home).
What’s better, taking classes or home poling?
Both have their own pros and cons. Studios provide structured and safe environments, with certified instructors that can guide you on the correct way to perform moves and ensure your technique is correct before you move on to more advanced moves. However it can be daunting entering a studio for the first time, especially as most of them are female dominated (although the pole dancing community has a reputation for being friendly and encouraging). It can also be an issue finding time to go the studio frequently enough that you progress.
Home training is more convenient than attending the studio. However there is no one to guide you at home and make sure you are learning the proper technique. In my opinion it is also a lot more fun and motivating to do pole in a studio surrounded by others. I’d advise doing some lessons in a studio before trying to attempt pole at home. Not only is it dangerous to attempt some of the moves without learning the proper technique, the cost of setting up a pole at home can be expensive. You’ll want to make sure you are really into it before going down that route.
Is there anything I can do to speed up my pole dancing progress?
Some of the more difficult moves can take months to master. But if you already do cross fit, parkour or rock climbing, you’ll probably progress much faster than you otherwise would because your core strength will be that much better.
Looking for some male pole dancing inspiration?
Check out these great male pole-dancers: