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Four (real) Reasons You’re Not Progressing

In every athletic and strength-based endeavour, it is possible to hit a plateau. The plateau is a decrease in the progress of your results from your regular training. Plateaus can happen at any point (in our case, in any level), multiple times, and for a multitude of reasons. Plateaus happen to everyone, but not everyone knows how to address them or put in a system to work through them. Here are four real reasons you’re not progressing and some tips on how to move through the block.

1. Foundations and Technique

Building solid foundations and taking the time to perfect technique from the beginning will make your practice better and keep you progressing consistently. If you’re feeling stuck, step back, see if there is anything you can do to improve technique and foundational movements. It’s very easy to get through certain things without proper technique. It does catch up with you eventually, though.

Training specific movements is one of the keys to bettering fluidity in pole, whether you are working on tricks or dance. It may feel repetitive, but something is never “perfect”, it only gets better. This means there is always room for improvement, and a great way to keep your practice moving forward is to practice and better the basics.

2. You avoid your weaknesses

A lot of people tend to avoid weaknesses and stick to what we are good at. This will also eventually catch up with you. If you’re bad at a cradle spin for example, and you don’t understand the technique of properly using your arms to perform a push-pull motion, you’ll be held back from some of the more advanced moves, that let’s be honest, everyone wants (Ayeshas anyone?). So, you will have to work on this weakness. If you are weak at a particular type of grip, work on that. Do some extra training for your arms if you find your upper body is weak. If your core is weak, spend more time on the ground and do your conditioning. Anything that feels difficult and impossible should not be avoided. You’ll get it if you work towards it.

Women in black two piece does handstand against a pole with stag legs

3. Your goals are not refined enough

Refining your goals and setting them properly will ensure you keep progressing. If you are only using your levels to track your progress, you are going to plateau. You are so focused on the level that you don’t see the fundamentals you need to build, and you may potentially skip over them. It is possible to only use strength, or flexibility to obtain moves to a certain point. In some cases, you can use improper engagement and perform the trick – but this leads to injury eventually. Set some measurable goals for your strength and flexibility. How many push-ups can you do? How long can you hold a hollow body position? Can you do a proper handstand? If you run out of endurance in class, do something more cardio-based like dancing, a circuit class, or dare I say it, go for a run.

4. Overtraining/Under Recovering

If you exceed your bodies ability to recover from strenuous work, performance can decrease. It can also happen from monotonous training where your body adapts to what you are doing and plateaus. Cross-training and adding some additional classes that get your body moving differently can really help. If your energy is low, you’re sore all the time, getting injured a lot, you need to rethink your regime. Do you need more downtime for your muscles to recover between intense or long training sessions/days? Are you sleeping and eating enough to keep up with the energy demands?

There are so many more details we could go into, especially for each individual. We all lead different lives, have different strengths and weaknesses, and have different goals. The important thing is to be aware when you’re struggling and keep taking care of yourself. Find what works for you outside of your classes to help you in your classes. Progressing is important – do it safely and in a well planned way so you and your body stay happy.

 

Train smarter to do harder things.

Monika

Benefits of Aradia Cardio Focused Classes

Continuing with our posts on the benefits of our various classes, today we will focus on two more of my favourites, Pole Circuit and POUND®! The classes are cardio based, but no running is required. These two classes are guaranteed to get your heart rate up and keep you entertained.

The number one thing I hear when students are going to perform or compete is “I’m having a tough time getting through this three-minute performance; I have to work on my cardio.” Pole Circuit and POUND® are built to help you increase your cardio.

Pole Circuit is a total body workout that uses interval training to get your heart rate going. Using exercises on and off the pole, we combine intense work with periods of rest to improve your endurance, burn fat, and build strength. Although it is a tough workout, every student feels accomplished after taking this class. If you take Pole Circuit often, you will see how much your endurance increases. Increasing cardio will give you an edge when training or even taking other classes. Pole circuit is a one of a kind class, and we highly recommend taking it if you haven’t tried it before.

Three POUNDfit trainers standing with ripstix crossed behind their backs

POUND® is not your typical cardio class; it is way more fun! POUND® is a full-cardio jam session with great music and choreography. You will burn between 400 and 800+ calories per hour without even noticing it. It is a go go go 45-minute class that makes you feel good while increasing your cardio quickly. An extra benefit is also how you get better and better at picking up choreography, and this will translate to those types of classes as well.  It is also a great way to get any frustrations out while you are drumming to the music and trust me, everyone needs that once in a while. Come join me for a class, you will love POUND®!

Demetra

Why I’m a Big Believer in Yoga for Pole Dancers

To be completely honest, I didn’t think I was the “yoga type”. I went along my days, with what I thought was purpose, commitment and conviction. Until I met my friend Jessica in 2003, I didn’t think yoga would be a good use of my time or add value.  As roommates, she talked about how yoga was a way of life as she had just completed her yoga certification. I listened but went about my days without change. The day came that she was going to teach yoga at a studio and she asked if I would help her with her classes. I obliged begrudgingly until we started. Every night for the next few months, I would “take” her class at home to test it out. The first few times were an effort but surprisingly, after that, came a new found appreciation. I was eager to do yoga at night – what was happening? It felt good and I couldn’t put my finger on it.

I continued to do yoga for a number of years and then I found my love for pole in 2008.  I focused all my attention on this magical sport that I had made my own. As I achieved more and more in pole, I began to realize that my body was not performing at its optimal level. I began holding my breathe, stressing my body and muscles and my flexibility was at a standstill.  I began to read about cross training for pole dancers and the benefits. It was then that it came full circle. Yoga worked every part of the body that I used in pole but in different ways.

The main benefits for anyone practicing yoga are learning how to breathe, increased flexibility and strength as well as balance and coordination. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve held my breathe doing a difficult pole move…  everyone does it and sometimes I still do but practicing yoga helps me focus on my breathe. Holding your breathe instead of breathing through the entrance into a pole move hinders your ability to even do it. Many times you have heard your instructor remind you to breathe. You would think that is an easy fix to do on your own but it takes practice.  Something done repetitively, is something that becomes second nature and yoga focuses on breathing each and every class.

On to flexibility; yoga has a way of moving you into poses that are beneficial not only for your flexibility but also your strength.  A very simple example of this is Sun Salutations. It’s not a coincidence that we do a variation in my classes to warm up.  I have a secret: I do five of them almost every morning when I wake up. It just starts my day off right! Yoga is a safe way to increase flexibility and the more flexibility you have in pole, the better your technique will be. I had an unfortunately injury in 2015 that has stunted my flexibility but yoga has helped me immensely. Even without these types of challenges, many people just chalked it up to not being flexible and that no amount of practice would help. I’m proof that working on it can and does help and yoga is one of the best ways to do it.

One of the biggest challenges in any sport is coordination. Coordination is a key skill in pole and any time you can practice slow, methodical movement, it helps greatly. Coordination is a skill that is learned through practice. It isn’t built into the DNA for some people and not others. The actual definition of coordination is ‘the ability to use different parts of the body smoothly and efficiently’. This skill cannot be more important than in pole. I notice it when I see a video of myself working on combinations. How many unnecessary movements am I doing?  Can I reduce these points of contact to smooth out the transitions?  Are my legs moving efficiently vis a vis my hands? Yoga is about thoughtful, efficient movement. It’s about flow and transitions. It is exactly what we strive to achieve in pole.

Balance is key, inside and out. We’ve all seen some yoga poses and thought to ourselves “I would tip over”.  I still tip over but by practicing, I get better every time :).  Even more important in my mind is the mental balance and connection you achieve in yoga. When life is chaotic, concentrating in class, slowing down your movement or even achieving greater goals is hard to do. When my head is not in it, I have a hard time performing. I love the relaxation, release and calm yoga gives me.  I have yet to leave a yoga class not feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.

If you haven’t tried it before, or if you tried it a long time ago, try it again. I am a big believer in yoga, especially for us. It’s no coincidence that we offer it at Aradia as do many other pole studios in Canada and around the world. It compliments everything we do as pole dancers and it will help you get to the next level.

Demetra

Yoga for Pole Dancers

Yoga for Pole Dancers

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