Almost everyone suffers from sweaty hands at some point. Luckily there are a number of liquids and powders you can use on your hands and legs to get you through those difficult pole moves.
I’m not aware of any products specifically for pole dancers (do let me know if there are!), but there’s a wide range of aids for other sports – anything from rock climbing to golf – that work just as well on a pole.
Why you shouldn’t use them
These products can really help, but it’s important you don’t use them all the time. A few students in my classes began to rely on these products, and in some cases found they couldn’t even perform simple moves without them. Your pole work will improve much more if you build up strength in your hands and body naturally.
My top 5 products
That said, they’re ideal if you’re trying to learn a tricky move or you need to be on top form for a performance in a hot room. Here are five products I’d recommend trying:
1. Acetone and alcohol
A quick wipe with alcohol or acetone (nail polish remover) will really dry your hands. Just make sure you don’t get too much on your skin – put a dash of liquid on a towel and then use that to rub your hands.
Acetone and alcohol are really good for cleaning your pole too when a dry towel just isn’t enough. Do check with the manufacturer that it won’t damage your pole first – I’ve been using acetone on my poles for years without any problems, but Vertical Leisure recommend that you don’t use it on their X-Poles.
Chalk is used by climbers to help them stick to rock faces, but it’s also great for helping you stick to your pole. Climbing shops sell chalk in blocks, as balls and as a liquid.
Liquid chalk is the best for pole dancing as you won’t have any problems with dust. Just rub a little on your hands (or thighs) and allow it to dry before jumping back on your pole!
Be careful not to use too much liquid chalk, or you’ll end up with unsightly white patches on your skin.
There is a way round this: allow the liquid chalk to settle and you should be able to skim off the clear liquid that rises to the top – just as sticky, but with none of the colour!
Surgrip is a liquid designed to keep your hands dry even under stress and in heat. Just spread a few drops on your hands, let it dry for a few seconds and get back to your pole work! I haven’t used this personally, but a lot of other pole dancers rate it highly.
4. Gorilla Gold
Gorilla Gold is a sticky towel impregnated with bees wax. Squeeze the cloth to get your desired tackiness, or just rub it on your hands, thighs and arms. Use it lightly for a little extra grip, squeeze harder for more stickiness.
Gorilla Gold repels moisture and won’t leave any marks on your clothing. It’s designed to dissolve quickly from your hands so it shouldn’t leave any residue on your skin. On the other hand, you’ll probably need to use the towel several times during a long pole session.
Some people find that the residue it leaves on the pole can become quite abrasive on their skin, so do make sure you clean your pole regularly. The towel comes in a resealable bag and should last you 3-6 weeks.
5. Mighty Grip
Mighty Grip looks like chalk dust but is actually a thermoplastic. Rub a little on your hands to block sweat. You don’t need to use much, and one application should last a lot longer than chalk (though of course the bottle’s quite small too).
Bonus: Leather gloves
Not actually my tip, but one from Jenyne, who recommended using lambskin leather gloves with their fingers cut off to give you added grip. Do make sure the gloves fit you properly to avoid them slipping, particularly if you’re planning aggressive moves like the Shoulder Mount
Spin when you’re winning
Apart from acetone and alcohol, all of these products add a thin, sticky layer to your hands. This is great for static moves, but spinning will be difficult or impossible until the product wears off.
Also make sure you clean your pole regularly to remove any residue that builds up.
Buy them here
Depending on what you’re after, your local sports store or supermarket will probably be able to help you. If you’d rather shop online, here are a few stockists we came across on the web to get you started.
- Alcohol: Maplin [UK] · Altex [US] · First-Aid Product [US]
- Acetone: Boots [UK] · Drugstore.com [US] · Rite Aid [US]
- Chalk: Yoga-Mad [UK] · Nevisport [UK] · Rock + Run [UK] · Amazon.com [US] · Metolius [US]
- Eco Ball (an alternative to chalk): Peglers [UK] · Amazon.com [US] · Metolius [US]
- Gorilla Gold: ISP Lingerie [UK] · Sports Unlimited [US] · The Golf Warehouse [US]
- Surgrip: ISP Lingerie [UK] · FirstAid4Sport [UK]
- Mighty Grip: Mega Grip [UK] · MyPole Shop [UK] · Mighty Grip [US] · Aussie Grip [AU] · Mighty Grip [CA]
Experiences with products like these are often quite personal – what’s great for one person just doesn’t help someone else. Please let me know how you got on, or if there’s anything else I’ve missed!.