The black sheep in Pole – the warm-up

The warm-up, closely followed by the Cool Down, seems the most annoying part of a Pole class. As a Pole newbie, I always thought warm-ups were invented by my instructor to get us so tired that we are less work for the rest of the class. During free practice, my warm-up often consisted of five minutes random wrist circling and to be completely honest, I did not really have an idea what I was doing.

The warm-up enjoys not much popularity and yet, it is one of the most important parts of your Pole training. It serves, as the name suggests, to warm up the entire body, to increase your performance, and to reduce your risk of injury. During the warm-up, the body temperature rises to optimal 38.5 ┬░C, circulation is stimulated, the muscles are better supplied with blood, and synovial fluid is distributed in the joints.

Here are a few tips on how to properly warm up and be well prepared for your training.

1. the general warm-up

Firstly, we want to get our body generally warmed up and start sweating.Cardio exercises suit this purpose best. If, for example, you go to your Pole studio by bike or go for a quick run before your Pole session, you can already tick off your general warm-up. However, be careful not to have a long break between your general warm-up and your training session. At your Pole Studio, you could, for example, run on the spot, perform jumping jacks, or burpees. An intense dance workout to your favorite song can also be great fun. Amy Hazel has some more great ideas on how to get really warm.

Time: min. 5-10 minutes

2. the specific warm-up

The specific warm-up concretely prepares your muscles with a similar but reduced strain for the following training. You can do specific warm-up exercise with or without weights. An example of a specific warm-up exercise could be hanging crunches on the Pole. You warm up your muscles, without directly demanding a Pole invert. If you are practicing new strength tricks, such as Ayshas or Handsprings, you should incorporate exercises that focus on the corresponding muscles. You could perform, for example, push-ups, handstands, or planks.

Time: min. 10-15 min


3. Mobilize your muscles and joints

Many Pole exercises require a high flexibility. Therefore, make sure to include some mobility exercises into your warm-up. With this, I mean exercises that get your muscles warm, strengthen them, and at the same time give them a gentle stretch. An example would be leg kicks. Stand next to the Pole and kick your leg as high as possible, with your standing leg remaining straight and stable. This exercise gets your leg muscles warm, strengthens your frontal thigh muscles while stretching your hamstrings. If you plan particularly intense Pole tricks that require a great flexibility, you can also do some static stretching but do not exaggerate it and avoid tearing muscle fiber and at this weakens your muscle. I like to mobilize through Yoga exercises. Also, floorwork or gentle dance moves will help you to warm up and to mobilize your muscles and joints.

Total time: For a Pole hour (60 min), I suggest warming up at least 15 to 20 minutes. In winter or after a long break, you might need to warm up even longer (see point 3, final notes).

A few final notes:

  • never skip the warm-up – saving 15 minutes by skipping your warm-up can lead to a months-long injury break
  • Increase the intensity on the Pole – even on the Pole, you should start off with easier tricks, maybe some repetitions, and then continue with more intense tricks that you are just learning
  • Listen to your body – Our body is in a different situation every day. Sometimes we start the training still stiff from the day before, sometimes we had a long injury break, sometimes we have eaten badly or slept few, sometimes we feel fit and energized. Your body requires different warm-ups with different lengths from training to training. Listen to your body and give him the warm-up, he longs for to ensure that your training  feels accordingly good.

What are your favorite warm-up exercises? Are you secretly skipping your warm-up or do you stick to it? How do you motivate yourself throughout the warm-up?