One of the greatest things about pole dancing is that you can really drive your own improvement. If you want to nail that move or that flow, you can practise and practise until you've got it jusstt right!
But sometimes you might get that one move perfect, technically - but it doesn't look as pretty and flowy as you'd hoped.
Here's the (not so secret) secret.
It's simply a fact that pole dancing and flexibility go hand-in-hand.
It will improve your pole skills, make all your moves prettier AND all the more gram-worthy!
It gives you the mobility and increased range of motion to wrap around the pole and yourself - it literally gives you the flexibility and freedom to execute your moves just how you want to!
So where to start? We've taken some notes from those that learnt and hone their flexibility as their sport: contortionists!
Don't worry, you don't need to be a contortionist to be good at pole but contortion stretches and exercises definitely help elevate your pole game by improving your ability to bend further than you would otherwise.
When it comes to toning and conditioning for pole, contortionist stretches specifically those that target the upper body and back can be absolute game-changers. Don't know where to start?
Here are five simple, super effective ways to add contortionist stretches and exercises into your regimes to level up your flexibility fast!
1. Wall Chest Openers
Wall openers are great for priming the upper body, especially the chest and upper back and it's so easy to do!
Find a wall and stand facing the wall, legs apart, with your toes about a foot's length away from the wall.
Place your hand palms flat against the wall in front of you and walk your hands up along the wall, slowly allowing your body to fall towards the wall.
As you get closer to the wall, let your elbows meet the wall and continue falling into the pose until you have your elbows around your eye level (the higher the better).
Then, left your chin to give the neck and upper chest a nice stretch, lift your hands from the wall and place them under your chin.
Backbends are a great beginner contortion exercise that are really great for working on form!
Start by laying on your back, with your feet flat on the floor, knees bent. You should be able to touch your feet with your hands laying straight at your sides.
Place your hand on either side of your head, palms on the ground, with your fingers pointing towards your feet.
Push your torso off the ground and continue lifting your body until you're able to life your head and make a nice stretched arch.
To ease out of the pose, tuck your chin into your chest and slowly lower yourself down.
3. Table reachers:
To stretch out your back, table reachers are a great addition to a stretch routine. Simply stand in front of a table (make sure it's not too tall for you!) and have something to hold onto like a yoga support block sitting on top of the table.
Bending forwards face down, grab onto the yoga block, and hold the pose to stretch out your back. Slide it further away from you if you're not feeling the stretch, or walk your feet back and away from the table.
No, not like the bows made of ribbon - Think of a bow and arrow. It's sort of like a backbend but the other way around! Start by lying on your stomach, with your hands stretched over your head. Then, raise your feet and hands off the ground, going into a superman pose on the ground.
Continue raising your hands and feet and then let your chest and legs follow them off the mat and in the air. We want to be getting a nice arch!
As you raise them, your legs should curve and naturally bring your feet towards your head. When you're able to, reach your hands back and grab onto your ankles.
5. Mermaid tails:
Mermaid tails are great to stretch out the whole body really effectively by allowing you to twist to either side depending on what arm and leg you're using.
Essentially, mermaid tails have you curving your legs up towards the back of your head and reaching back with your alternating arm (so left arm to right leg and vice versa) to grab the calf and pull that leg in.
Mermaid tails are really good at targeting the sides and shoulders as well as the back since they twist areas that usually get neglected between arm and leg stretches. You can do mermaid tails in a variety of ways, including starting on your stomach and popping a leg up or starting on your hands and knees and adding a balancing element to the exercise.