Evolution of Pole- Legitimate Instruction

Pole dancing has come a long way in the last six years. Not only has it slowly broken into mainstream fitness; competitions, showcases and tours are cropping up all over the world.

When I purchased my first (horribly cheap) pole and set about to learn how to pole dance, I became aware of how difficult it really was. Aside from youtube videos, pole dancing wasn’t really taught or regulated.

Nonetheless, I fell in love with it. I was good at it. I realized it was an amazing mental release- not to mention a great workout. So I set about looking to continue.

KTAt this time, the UK was about the only place participating actively in pole dancing. I had to order my first X-Pole and have it shipped so bloody far that it ran me a fun $780. But I wanted more than just a proper pole, I wanted to become certified.

So I looked… and looked… pole certifications did not exist in Canada or the US. KT Coates of Vertical Dance in the UK (who had been competing for a bit now) was the only one I could find. Thankfully, she offered online certifications.

So I set off on my new quest to become a pole instructor… it was hard as hell. This was no weekend course walk in the park. For my beginner certification I had to first read over the manual and submit my homework booklet for grading. Then, I needed to breakdown and film all of the muscles and bones in my body. This was grueling.

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Finally, after passing the first two obstacles I was ready for my practical!  First things first, I had to breakdown and teach the 11 beginner spins & holds in the course. After submitting and passing that the hard part came.

Create, instruct and film a full one hour pole class with a minimum of eight students. Class must include a warm up, mobility drills, pole drills, strength drills and cool down. I will spare you the gory details of organizing this at that time but I did it. Four months after I signed up, I received my beginner pole instructor certification.

Obviously down the road I went on to complete my intermediate and advanced certifications as well. The difference between the certifications being I only had to film myself teaching a one on one session – thank god.

Along the way I picked up some more credentials: Pre & Post Natal, Personal Training Specialist, TRX, Cycling and my personal achievement: Strength & Conditioning Specialist with NSCA

Strength Certification

So back to my original point. Years ago, pole dancing certifications didn’t exist. Now, truthfully they’re everywhere. They range from one day certifications to month long certifications depending on the level and quality.

Since pole dancing has come so far… I have to wonder why “instructors” have not. All over the place you see people teaching pole sessions out of their living room with no insurance or certifications.

I have always and will always stand by the point that simply because you know how to do something does not mean you are capable of teaching it. Many people fail to understand the biomechanics behind a basic invert. The muscles used. The amount of stress on the body. Teaching beginners to simply “flip upside down” randomly is cause for injury.

anatomy

At the very least, instructors should have a proper working knowledge of the muscular and skeletal system. Without this, it is difficult to understand proper technique in pole and very easy to injure yourself.

One thing I always tell my clients is that I am a Personal Trainer first. Meaning, I will not teach a move/hold until I am confident that you have developed necessary strength and understanding to do it. Otherwise, I am setting you up for failure.

Pole dancing is a sport. It is challenging and a high risk activity. Your wouldn’t hire a trainer to teach you how to deadlift unless you knew they were certified… so why have someone teach you to flip upside down when they are not qualified to do so?

In the personal training world if you are caught training without certification to do so you can be greatly fined. It is endangerment. Similar to driving without a license. So why is pole dancing different? Because we’ve allowed it.

As a consumer, you have every right to ask for proof of insurance and qualifications before trying a pole class… and I suggest you do it. People who travel to teach without insurance baffle me as the risk of injury in pole is very high.

CPFA

I am so proud of the pole industry for beginning to make a name for itself professionally. Regulations and qualifications are a necessity for an industry to grow. And I am even more proud to say that I am part of that (and specifically a registered member of the CPFA)

So before you randomly learn to invert from an “instructor”, ask questions. Make sure you are protected both legally (through insurance) and physically (through the instructors qualifications). By doing such a small thing, you are helping the pole world grow.

Happy Poling 🙂

Want to know how to learn pole properly? Safely? With proper progressions to make you a badass? Check out these sessions.