Here I am again: barely clothed, red faced, working up a sweat and contorting my body into unthinkable positions.

[Chloe Waddell | Junkee]

I leave with bruises, burns, aching muscles and sometimes the odd sprained wrist. Yep – pole dancing is a demanding sport.

Since I was four years old I went to weekly ballet classes, and as I got older I undertook more styles like funk, jazz, contemporary and pointe. One day I decided I wanted to push my limits even further so I signed up to pole dancing classes.

"No one starts pole being amazing. You develop strength, courage and skill over time just like any other sport."

— Chloe Waddell

A Damn Skillful Sport

Pole dancing has become a dynamic fitness craze for any age, gender or preference, both competitively and recreationally. Pole performing is even being considered as an Olympic sport, concreting its place in the sporting world.

Bethany Finlay is a competitive pole dancer, and currently holds a lot of prestigious titles. She says, “I pole full time, I run a studio and compete, as well as travel to run workshops at other studios”. Her decision to start poling was so her and her sister could do something fun together, and this decision has led her to become one of Australia’s best. Bethany also highlighted that all forms of people pole for countless reasons. Some people to lose weight, some to socialise, and others just to be part of an evolving sport. This includes boys, girls, non-binary, young and old; it’s the nature of pole fitness.

Pole Goals

No one starts pole being amazing. You develop strength, courage and skill over time just like any other sport. But having the determination to nail a ‘backward crucifix’ distracts from the fact that you’re actually getting a whole-body work out. When you finally achieve a ‘sleeping beauty’, ‘violator’, ‘death drop’ or other elusive trick you’ve been working on for a month, you’ll get to see all your hard work pay off, snap a great Insta pic, and start work on the next one. This trick-by-trick learning process is the foundation of a pole routine, and exemplifies the dedication needed to become a pro.

Jak Vogele, one of my pole coaches, is a seven-foot male who has won a number of pole competitions. In a recent class while teaching us a new trick, Jak said, “If it feels like your back is about to snap in half, then you’re doing it right”. This is the sporting side of pole. It hurts like a bitch.