We’ve all been there, we’ve all hit a pole dance plateau at some point or another, and it even happens to the world’s best at their art. We are taught that to become better at something, we must repeat the same actions over and over whilst never giving up until we reach the desired destination. However, whilst this is true, it can sometimes become a bit draining, and as a result of this, training can suffer due to the feeling of being overworked and uninspired. The key to getting over this is to recognize the signs and continue pushing through, i.e. if training feels like it is becoming a chore, it is a sure indication that something needs to shift. When I have experienced this kind of plateau in my training I have found that the tips listed below really help me find my training flow again. Try them out and let me know what you think.
Go back to Basics
Instead of focusing on all of the crazy tricks that you are overloading yourself with, go back to basics as this can give you a reminder of where you have come from and how much you have improved. For instance, now that you can effortlessly invert and climb, take a step back and remember the first time you got to the top of the pole and how happy that made you? Bear in mind that you probably climbed with sickled feet and inverted with bent legs, but you still did it. I know I did. Give yourself some credit for that.
Keep a Record of Your Wins
Linking to the previous tip, if you do feel like you have hit a wall and that your training is going nowhere, I can assure you that if you keep a written or visual record of the new tricks that you learn from each training session, you will surprise yourself with how much you actually do progress on a weekly basis. Or however often you train. Celebrate all of the little victories, even if it is something small like climbing up a little higher on the pole.
Take a few days rest from all training
If your body is in pain, not just general muscle soreness, but actual pain, this is your body telling you to slow down and give it a break. I know that taking a break is extremely difficult to do for some people, but the benefits far outweigh the negatives. On the rare occasion that I take a break from all training, including weight lifting, contemporary dance and yoga, I always feel like a new woman and when I do get back to training my body shows me how grateful it was for the rest through increased strength and flexibility. Try it.
Try a different type of training
I know this may sound counterintuitive, but if you’re really struggling with a strength move or a move that requires insane flexibility this might just be what you need to go that little bit further. Let me give you an example. I really wanted to be able to do my iron x, but I just didn’t have the strength. However, I thought about the dominant muscles that require the strength for this move, which is mainly the latissimus dorsi (back) and so I started weight training on my back. A couple of months later when I tried it again I felt strong enough to hold the position. Likewise, if you want to achieve your rainbow marchenko, then you are going to have to be able to do a full needle scale on the ground first. Thus, yoga and weight lifting are great complimentary exercises for pole dancers.
Overall, I think it is so important to remember why we started. Many people pole dance just for fun, or for strength, or physical expression (I do it for all 3), but then end up taking it way too seriously. So just remember to mix up the sessions, both practice time and class time and don’t become too obsessive about your speed of progression. Breathe, enjoy and give yourself credit for showing up.