What is Pole Fitness?

What is pole fitness? Many gyms and fitness centers around the world are jumping on the pole fitness bandwagon. While many people think this is mere pole dancing, it takes a lot of stabilization and core strength to actually perform these exercises.

It’s fun. It’s exciting. It’s a little different than your normal workout.

But, it has helped many people get fit and lose weight. If normal workouts are not something you like or enjoy, you may want to try a pole class.

Here is a video to give you a better idea of what it is like.

The History of Pole Fitness

Many people associate this trend with modern times, but pole dancing dates back over 800 years – at least. The first record of this type of fitness dates back to ancient India in the 12th century. Pagans started doing these exotic dances for, you guessed it, fertility purposes.

These are the first records found, but not the only. At this time, metal poles were not used. Instead, wooden poles were used and ribbons were twisted around the pole as the dancer danced. It was a colorful sight, and one that a whole city or village would attend. While a little different from today’s style, it’s still the same dancing concept.

The next records of pole dancing are seen hundreds of years later in the 19th century. In China, pole dancing was more of a sport. In fact, it was classified as gymnastics. China’s poles were often covered in rubber to help the athlete maintain control while performing his or her routine. The Chinese sport included mostly men.

When did modern pole dancing arrive? Most researchers agree that pole dancing – erotic dancing – became popular in the Western world during the 1920s. With the surge of bars and entertainment, many entertainers would travel the country to display their dancing skills. What once occurred only in tents would now be seen center stage in most of the world’s bars at the time.

The erotic dancing that is often associated with strip clubs became popular in the 1980s.

Pole Fitness in Today’s World

Pole fitness, as we know it today, was started in the 1990s. This is when fitness clubs and instructors started incorporating these routines into their fitness regimens. Also a sport, many competitions are held each year, including the World Pole Sport Championship.

There are three types of pole dancing:

  • Erotic: Most commonly seen in strip clubs.
  • Fitness: Muscle building and fitness. This is the main type we’ll be talking about
  • Sport: Advanced fitness and pole routines that only elite athletes will be able to enjoy.

The first dance studio that allowed pole fitness opened in 1994 in Canada. The first United States based studio opened in 2000. Now, this form of fitness can be seen all over the world from Canada and the United States to Australia and Europe.

Fitness Benefits

Have you ever seen a dancer’s body? Dancers are typically very fit and ripped. They may not be lifting weights, but dancing engages all of your muscles in a full body workout. Much like a gymnast, weights are not used. Instead, a person’s body weight is all that’s needed to add layers of muscle and shed fat. Making this an excellent calisthenics routine!

A few of the many benefits to pole dancing are:

Weight Loss

Gym goers often burn just 250 calories in a single workout session. While this may rise or fall based on intensity or routine, 250 calories burned will help you lose weight. When added into a cardio or additional calisthenics routine, you’ll burn even more calories

Many people have lost weight thanks to this fitness method.

Muscle Building

Isolation workouts use just one muscle group. When you think about it, this seems rather inefficient when you’re trying to build muscle. Dancing requires a lot of strength and control to perform.

A few of the muscles used are:

  • Arms: Triceps, biceps and chest muscles are used to hold onto the pole and maintain control. This requires immense upper body strength.
  • Core: Abdominal and oblique muscles will be engaged to help you maintain balance on a pole.
  • Legs: From your butt to your calves, all of your leg muscles will be engaged to help you perform exercises on the pole. Your quadriceps will be the muscles used to squeeze your legs around the pole.

Virtually all of your muscles will engage to ensure that you can perform these fitness routines adequately. Depending on the routine, you may be working some muscles more than others. Don’t worry! There are classes and exercises for every level of fitness to ensure that you can perform exercises regardless of your current fitness level.


There’s a lot of flexibility needed to perform pole fitness. Stretches are required to perform many of the movements and exercises.

For example, many routines will require you to perform a split while using your upper body to maintain balance on the pole. This is a very hard exercise to do, and it requires great shoulder, groin and hip flexibility to perform.


It goes without saying – pole dancing breeds confidence. Not only do women feel more confident and sexy, but they will forge a body void of fat and rippled with muscle in the process. Same goes for men (minus the sexy part usually!).

It’s important to note that pole fitness does not focus on the erotic aspects of traditional pole dancing. All of the exercises and routines are meant for strength and coordination training, and not for the sexual appeal that most people associate with any pole-related workout.

Pole fitness is more than just a trend – it really works. Hundreds of thousands of people across the world attend classes that help them lose weight, build muscle and increase their flexibility. It’s a method of exercise that isn’t redundant or boring. If you find yourself more inclined to go out for a night of dancing rather than going to the gym to pump iron, it may be time to schedule a pole fitness class near you.

If you are looking to buy a pole for your home and even some instructional videos, we found a great company that has a lot of cool things for sale. Click the banner below to view their website!

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