As I have spoken about before, I am a little bit accident prone and my most recent injury was a severe pulling of my left hamstring.
After about a month of it occurring, I realised that it wasn’t getting better and after going to the doctors, I was referred to a physiotherapist. After a few months of physiotherapy I have been discharged and told that there has been a significant improvement with the condition of my hamstring, which is obviously great news!
However, during my recovery my physiotherapist told me to lay off the gym whilst I recovered and that I should restrict my use on the pole. Argh!
Does he not know what that is my worst nightmare? Especially as I had at the time really been upping my game with my exercise programs and pole training. I knew that he was right and that I should listen to him as he is the expert in this area, but I really struggled not to carry on as normal.
I couldn’t give up pole (not only due to the fact that I instruct twice a week but also because I get pole withdrawal) so I had no choice but to set the gym to one side. I managed to pole nearly as much as I normal would with my injury, although moves such as a static V or Scorpio were very uncomfortable, but one thing which was off limits was the gym not only because I needed to rest but also because of the shear pain that I had even when walking.
Now over 3 months since the incident, am I’m just about able to go to the gym the same frequency as I used to, but I have made great changes in my regime. When once before I would spend about an hour in the gym zig-zagging across the room, doing any machine which I felt like doing at the time and shying away from anything which looked like hard work, I now know that I was not making the most out of my workouts and came to realise that if I am going to get myself to the gym, I might as well do a workout which is productive!
I find that my additional exercises benefit my pole dancing immensely. If I were a footballer I would be expected to regularly attend the gym and work on my cardio, and to me pole dancing is no different. By working at the gym to increase my strength, work on my flexibility and helping to condition my core, I find pole easier and that my body can handle the demands of pole dancing better. When once before I found myself really having to push to be able to do a routine without passing out from exhaustion, or that my stamina was not strong enough to last a whole lesson. Through working on these issues at the gym I don’t have to worry about these little things any more. There is only so much that you can achieve from a twice weekly pole lesson, but by working on your body in between being on the pole you are really giving yourself the best opportunity to make the most of your time on the pole. You don’t have to become a full on gym bunny, but for every instance you work on your body, your pole skills will benefit even if its so small that you don’t realise it.
I have made some subtle changes to my gym program which have not only helped me get back to my pre injury state but also helped me show myself just what I can achieve when I push myself that little bit harder.
I had a personal fitness clinic session at the gym. I know a lot about pole and I know how I want my body to feel and look, but what I do not know a lot about is how achieve my goals. After explaining exactly what I wanted to achieve and what I wanted to improve on (I asked mainly to increase body tone and strength whilst remaining flexible and lean) my personal trainer was able to show me specific exercises to achieve my goals. Not only did it mean that I got to learn lots of new exercises to keep things interesting at the gym. It also allowed me to learn the proper techniques to ensure that I keep myself safe and do not do my body damage. It now means I have a 14 exercise workout program to be working on alongside my pole dancing to help me achieve my body goals!
I have started to push myself more. I’ll be honest, I don’t like to get all sweaty and out of breath when at the gym. I hate the feel of being hot and sweaty and I used to think that at least if I was doing something at the gym I was doing myself good. However, if you don’t push yourself that little bit when exercising your not going to progress!
Now when I am doing my rep’s and think ‘oh that’s enough for one day, I can’t do any more’ or when I am on the cross trainer and think ‘I might as well come off and go home now, no one will know!’ I force myself to finish what I have started and to push past the aching in my muscles or the tiredness in my legs. I always find myself surprised to see that I can carry on, and I can finish what I started and that that little voice in my head telling me that I can’t do any more is stopping me from progressing. Just try and see how far you can carry on when you get that urge to give up, even just one more rep or one more minute, you’ll be surprised what your body actually can do when you put your mind to it.
Get in, get out. For me now going to the gym is now about quality of time and not quantity. You do not have to spend 2 hours at the gym to see results, especially if you spend most of that time on your phone, getting a new bottle of water or talking to your mates. I now spend less than an hour in the gym, which leaves more time for pole and relaxing, and just get on with my workout instead of stalling. I once heard a quote which was along the lines of: Theres 24 hours in a day, 16 hours of that you are awake, if you go to the gym for an hour its only one 16th of your day. For me, when you put it like that, saying that you don’t have time just isn’t enough, especially when most of us would spend at least an hour watching the TV in the evening.
As you can see, I haven’t made big changes but I am already seeing the results. My arms are looking more toned and I don’t dread going to the gym as much as I used to. I urge all pole dancers to try and incorporate an alternative exercise into their pole training, such as a gym session or even an aerobics class, as your body will really thank you for it in the long run! Do you do any additional training alongside your pole dancing? I’d be interested in knowing how other people use their time off the pole to help them with their pole!