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  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • September 2018
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Try pole exercise!

A lot has changed in pole fitness since 2010. Now pole is an accepted form of exercise. You see examples of pole on TV shows, pole art in Broadway shows and the pole sport in competitions around the world. Pole exercise started as a small renegade activity and is now common. It’s really exciting!

But despite the rise in popularity of the sport, I still field the same questions and concerns every day from women who are interested in starting. Here are a few of the most common:

I’d love to try it, but I’m not strong enough. I need to go to the gym first.

No, you don’t. If you wanted to be at the gym to gain strength you already would be. You aren’t at the gym for a reason. Come play on a pole instead! Maybe that is what you’re looking for to have fun while working out. Most of our students cannot lift their body weight when they start. I know I personally couldn’t! A well-designed, sequential pole program will build your strength over time so you eventually can lift your body. When you’re a beginner, we expect you to come in with little strength and want you to stick to pole for 8-weeks because we know at the end of the course you will be noticeably stronger. Classes start with conditioning and muscle engagement exercises that are designed to get you off the ground in some form by week 8. So it’s OK to walk into your first pole class not being able to do a pull-up — stick with pole and someday you’ll be able to!

That looks amazing, but I’m too _____.

No. Whatever you fill in the blank with (fat, weak, old, out of shape, etc.), it is only a limitation if you let it be. Pole is an amazing apparatus because it doesn’t discriminate. It truly allows for customized workouts and supports you no matter what your level. If you ever want to see examples of this, go to a pole fitness competition. You will see ALL sizes on the stage being amazing. Weight and size aren’t indicators of ability on pole. And age, is truly just a number when pole competitions have “Masters” divisions specifically for women 40+ and 50+! So the only “fill in the blank” that is truly limiting you is your attitude. If you believe you can’t do it, you can’t. No amount of amazing instruction will matter if you truly think you are too ______. But if you are saying that because you’re actually nervous or a little scared, and part of you thinks that maybe with a little dedication, hard work and good instruction you could, then come for a spin. You will succeed.

I really want to, but I’m scared and/or afraid.

Cool! Come try, anyway. Haven’t most of the cool things you’ve done in your life been a little scary at first? I like to flip the fear into excitement. Think about it. What does fear feel like? Shortness of breath. A little sick to your stomach. Sweaty hands. And what does excitement feel like? THE EXACT SAME THINGS! So when I start to feel that “I might be scared” I turn it into “this is exciting” and my body is feeling the same. I’m just interpreting it differently. So think about that when you’re a little nervous before your first class. Maybe you’re actually excited for the journey you’re going on. Maybe you’re excited to try something new!

What if I’m not good?

Good. You shouldn’t be. Pole is challenging. It is totally new to you and it requires a whole new skill set. You should not be good your first class. You should just try hard and hopefully have some fun. “Good” will come in time. Some days you’ll feel like you are good and others you won’t, that’s normal. What matters is that every day you get a little stronger, a little more coordinated, a little more flexible and a little more confident in your own skin. That is what is good about pole.

If you’ve been thinking about trying pole, there has never been a better time! Join the wave of fun fitness!

Paula Brusky, PhD

Dr. Paula Brusky is the owner of Aerial Dance Pole Exercise, LLC in Appleton. With a PhD in injury prevention, a group fitness certification from the American Center on Exercise and numerous fitness, aerial and pole instruction certifications she is a leading aerial arts educator. For more information or to sign-up for your first Pole, Hammock, Hoop or Silks class, call 920-750-1441 or visit

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