Over the past two years, pole fitness has gained popularity among Lebanese women with several gyms opening up such classes. The trend actually gained momentum in the early 2000’s with the World Pole Dance Federation introducing it as a sport for men and women and also organizing annual Pole Dance World cups to promote safe practices of pole dancing and change people’s perception of it.
But pole fitness isn’t quite a new phenomenon; it dates back to 12 th century India with the sport of “ Mallakhamb ” consisting of Indian men performing acrobatics on a pole made of wood in the aim of defying gravity. This workout was considered practice for a game called Kusti, which is a wrestling sport. It is only in the 1980’s that pole fitness turned into pole dancing as it became part of striptease shows which first started in Canada and then spread to the United States. So as you can see, the negative “stripper” stigma associated with pole dancing today has nothing to do with its origin. In fact, nowadays, pole fitness is regaining its true meaning, a sport that requires concentration, speed and flexibility.
So how exactly do our bodies benefit from a pole fitness workout?
Burn calories burn. It is estimated that a person can burn around 250 calories in one session of pole fitness. That’s equal to one session at the gym.
Build and tone those muscles. Dancers learn to support their bodies with one arm only thus strengthening their upper body muscles such as their core and arms. If you’re looking to have a few packs on your stomach, this is the right workout for you. If you also want to build muscle in your lower body area, you should attend several sessions a week.
Increase your flexibility. The pole fitness workout involves bending, twirling, climbing and many other stretches that reduce tensions in your body. With time and consistency, you’ll be able to achieve a flexible physique.
Feel good. Pole fitness is proven to boost good endorphins. Similar to Zumba, pole dancing is a fun class that allows you to exercise and dance at the same time, however the workout in this case is more intense and challenging.
In Lebanon, only women are opting this sport because it is perceived as a feminine activity due to the stripper label bestowed upon it. However, it is not the case in the rest of the world. The Pole Dance World Championship is divided into four categories: Female Singles, Doubles and Male Singles, and candidates from all around the world such as Russia, UK, China, Brazil and Argentina, take part in the competition. Moreover, this year, debates have been initiated on whether to make pole fitness part of the Olympics. Wouldn’t that be interesting to watch?