Five exercises you MUST be doing if you Pole Dance


Hello! I am Jenna McNamar

I have over 10 years of experience instructing Pole dance and other forms of strength training and movement.

I am the Owner of Rockstar Pole Fitness in Westminster CO

I am also a Physical Therapist Assistant.

As much as we want pole to be a well-rounded workout, unfortunately it is not. To protect yourself from injury it is so important to cross-train, and to cross-train often.

Pole dancing is ADDICTIVE, and I know some of us are guilty of over-training a bit. As you become more proficient in pole tricks and are pulling and lifting yourself up, bigger muscle groups tend to “take over.” Your lats, pecs and upper traps may start to overwork and become overdeveloped as smaller muscles groups rotator cuff, rhomboids, lower traps became under-developed. This creates some muscle imbalances which can result in strains, rib injuries and tightness.

Don’t fret! We want to you to be well-rounded pole dancers and injury free. These 5 exercises are geared to strengthen the under-developed muscles and imbalances that may result from pole dancing. These will help you gain the strength and mobility you need to help you balance out.

1. Rows, Rows, and MORE Rows.

Rhomboid muscles have a tendency to become over stretched as gravity creates downward pull on our head, neck and shoulders. It is important to have good posture when pole dancing. Forward shoulders and/or rounded upper back when inverting/ climbing can lead to all sorts of injuries and compensation of other muscles. An important key to addressing “bad posture” is to strengthen your rhomboids, which in turn will help to release your pec muscles.

Exercise – Using band, (or row machine) palms facing up with good posture, pull back band focusing on really squeezing your elbows back.

Jenna Doing Rows

2. Plank position scapula (shoulder blades) protraction and retraction

My favorite bone in the body Scapula (PTA nerd ha!) I like to think of the muscles surrounding the scapula as the stabilizers of the shoulders. When we are protracting our shoulders (shoulder blades pull away from each other) we are strengthening our serratus anterior muscles. Strengthening these often overlooked muscles, help prevent “winging” of the shoulder blades which result in less stable shoulder girdle, help prevent rib injuries, and helps with posture! Yay!

Exercise – Either in a full plank position or on our knees with a flat back, hands in line with shoulders and elbows straight and locked squeeze shoulders blades apart hold for 2 seconds and retract (focusing on the protraction) focus on only the shoulder moving.

Jenna Doing Plank

3. Shoulder external rotation exercises

Rotator cuff baby! Rotator cuff injuries are one of the more common injuries in pole dancers. The rotator cuff and their accompanying tendons that are attached are at risk of tearing when they are weak, with overhead activities, repetitive movements, and muscle imbalances. Throw in these exercises a few times a week to strengthen and protect them.

Exercise – with a band and a pillow between your elbow and body, keep shoulders down and back as you bring your forearm away from your body (keep elbow close).

Jenna Doing Shoulder external rotation exercises

4. Prone Y’s

Another muscle that is harder to target but so important to strengthen is our lower traps. When pulling ourselves on the pole we tend to compensate with lats and upper traps. When your upper and lower trap are imbalanced, your shoulder blade lifts off the spine, wreaking havoc on the shoulder, and causing space that can create rotator cuff impingement.

Exercises – Lying on your stomach (on exercise ball or something elevated from floor) Arms out straight in Y position thumbs up, focusing on just moving arms and squeezing on top.

Jenna Doing Prone Y's

5. Wall Angels

This is my favorite exercise! When I do these regularly I notice I walk taller and I can see my posture improve quickly. This is a great strengthening and stretch at the same time .

Exercises – Seated with back against wall arms at 90 degrees try to have all parts of arms stay in contact with the wall, and ribcage closed through movement. Slowly slide arms up wall, the goal is to get them straight. Just like every exercise we go over keep your abs tight! That will help ensure that your spine stays against the wall.

Jenna Doing Wall Angels

Also don’t forget to stretch those pecs! Please don’t wait until you are injured to do these exercises. Start now so can have a long, healthy pole journey.

At Rockstar Pole Fitness we have classes designed specifically to strengthen these muscles and balance out your body. Check us out!

Please let me know what your favorite cross-training exercises are! I would love to hear any questions or comments as well!

Xo Jenna

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