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5 Products to Help You Grip the Pole – And Why You Shouldn’t Use Them

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.

Update: We’ve written a

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.

2. Chalk

liquid-chalk
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!

3. Surgrip

surgripSurgrip 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
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.

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!.

40 Responses to “5 Products to Help You Grip the Pole – And Why You Shouldn’t Use Them”

  1. How can I get a better thigh grip without using any of these products?

  2. Hey Lara,
    Give your thighs a good clean with a towel to wipe any excess moisture off your legs.

    Also (this tends to be more helpful for men!) make sure that you don’t have any hair in that area as hair can cause slippage!

    Finally I sometimes wipe down my legs with a small amount of acetone (nail polish remover) as this helps dry out my skin and take any excess oil off my legs. But only use this if you are not allergic to the product.

    Let me know if I can offer any more suggestions!

  3. well my problem is a little different when im trying to spin around the pole sometimes i stick its not a smooth ride what can i do to fix that ?

  4. Great question Jaimie, and I think it needs a good explanation! Will write a new blog on the subject and post it up ASAP for your info! Edit: This is here.

  5. Hey great article…I had to figure most of this out on my own :) I’ve used the gloves before but I think they give too much grip :/ The BEST thing I’ve found is a product for tennis players. Its by a brand called Prince and its called “fingergrip plus” It gives the slight added grip I need for inverts but its not so harsh that I cant do spins with it. Its awesome. Plus it lasts long, and washes off easy with water. Its only like 6 USD, and they have it at most sports shops.

    http://www.princetennis.com/tennis/files/product.aspx?cid=299&ProductId=1322

  6. We use Tite-Grip at my studio, and it does really well for those who does have abnormally sweaty palms. I’m actually going to the doctor tomorrow to ask about a prescription anti-perspirant for my palms — and boy am I glad I am, after I fell off the pole during a black widow/flying body spiral combo tonight because my hands just slipped off it.

    I’ve found the Gorilla Gold isn’t so great for me, as it repels moisture and the moisture is nder the Gorrila Gold on my palms — it sticks to the pole, which hurts like crazy during inverts, but my palms still slip off.

  7. Jen Gianfrancesco 31 May, 2008 at 2:27

    I just bought a new pole and seem to have the same problem at home as well as when I’m at my pole dancing classes. My hands and body stick to the pole so it makes it almost impossible to spin around the pole, I get stuck and it feels like my skin is ripping off my hands. Everything I’ve found is for the opposite issue where you can’t get a grip.

  8. Jen – It’s a less common problem, but not unheard of. Lucy actually wrote a little about too much grip in this article. You may be overgripping because you haven’t quite got the feel for quite how firmly you should be holding the pole yet – if you’ve got the strength, it’s certainly natural to want to hold on tightly!

    Try some moves you can do easily and make a conscious effort to grip the pole less firmly. You may even want to loosen your hold progressively until you start to slip a little. (Obviously don’t start with a move where you’ll land on your head if you let go!) This should allow you to learn where the limits of adhesion are and help you hold yourself closer to them. You may also want to check out Lucy’s tips for consistent grip in the same post.

    Hope that helps you and sorry for not responding to this sooner.

    Erin and Alexa – thanks!

  9. Great article…some really good tips in here that I’m going to try…
    I’m having massive issues with my thigh grip – every time I’m upside-down in a batman, as soon as I release my hands I slide straight to the floor. I’ve tried everything..even my instructor is at a loss…any advice??

  10. Good to hear from you. I’m assuming when you say batman you mean the serpent take a look here). If this is the move your attempting to do, then it could be a number of things. Depending on the size of your legs will depend on the grip hold you need to take. If your legs are particularly slim then generally I get my students to grip with their knees. If you are more curvy in the leg department, then you get an advantage as your thighs come into play! What I would suggest is that as you do the move, and you are upside down, look up towards your legs and check out your knees and feet position. The knees should be on opposite sides of the poles, but equally spaced and at the same level. the feet should be wrapped in opposition around the pole to ensure maximum grip. Remember as you attempt the move to engage with your legs, and think about bringing your knees together and squeezing. This should help the grip.

    Also, make sure you have no moisturiser on your legs, and sometimes having a shaving session just before pole can help the legs grip better!

    Let me know how your getting on!
    xxx

  11. This is some helpful info.. thanx.

    My question is about certain moves on the pole, is it supposed to hurt like that? Or am i doing it wrong? For example, the sitting position, that really pinches my thighs.

    Also, i bruise very easily. The first day of practice on my Lil Minx pole i had bruises on the tops of my feet, my hips, between my thighs, and right under my breast.

    I’d really love to become an advanced pole dancer but dont want to beat myself up to the top. Im patient and know it will take time, but is there something i can do?

  12. There is something made specifically for pole dancing. You can find it on ebay and other websites.

    Dry Hands Pole Dancing Mighty Grip for Stripper Poles

  13. How often should a person do pole dancing classes?
    I think that I over train some of the time…

  14. Candle wax- Plain white candle rub it over the pole – it is awsome :)

  15. hi i have the opposite problem and i seem to have a naturally good grip but even though i loosen my grip for spinning on the pole i get blisters on my hands and then the skin comes off leaving my hand fairly sore! i was wondering i i can do anything to stop this from happening???

  16. i’m in USA and i can’t seem to locate a distributor for Surgrip. any ideas?

  17. I was wondering were i can buy wax to rub on the pole to help with grip?

  18. @ Sammi

    I have the same problem – though I assumed that it’s just cause I am totally new at pole dancing. My inner thighs are so sore from trying that I can hardly touch them… and yet I’ve not even managed to stay on the pole! My skin is also pinching – I am not so young anymore and I seem to have too much skin in certain places… it’s so damn sore that I just can’t get myself to let go with my hands. I’ll keep trying… but believe me, girl: YOU”RE NOT ALONE!

  19. Tiamari –since i left that comment i have actually been dancing a fair while. just so you know you will build up a pain tolerance to your pole and i also have found some helpers if u find you’re getting sore easily. firstly to your hands if you are finding your getting blisters etc then bind the areas causing the problems with micropore tape. i find it best to get a good one then it wont peel back wen spinning. by doing this it can also help to have less grip onto your pole. you can also use tape on your legs in the same way but its probably best to soak off the tape in the bath! try not to wear the tape all the time as your skin wont build up tolerance to your pole but i will warn you calluses will appear on the regular rubbing points! especially hands. once these have appeared they will go paler in colour but it also means u can then stop wearing your tape. it took me about 10 weeks of sore hands to become tolerant though so good luck!

  20. Guess I’ll just have to be brave :) my poor thighs… but my hands are ok though, probably tough from years and years of washing dishes haha

    Thanks for the comment though – I just hope I don’t get calluses on my inner thighs!!!!

  21. oh no calluses will only appear on hands normally but your legs will build up a pain tolerance! trust me the first time i let go and held on with my thighs i could have cried but you do get used to it and then you just stop noticing the pain after a while but definitely keep at it the pain will pay off!

  22. Kayleigh, you are an inspiration! Thank you!

  23. no problems! if u want you can find me on facebook under kayleigh rawles my location is bristol incase u find a lot of results! if ya need any more help just let me know! xx

  24. I think I’m one of those people you say can’t pole dance without their grip aids! I can’t go for a few minutes without my hands being as slippery as a fish so I started using climbers chalk but even then I have to keep reapplying.

    I guess the secret is to go cold turkey and work on my hand strength for a better grip. Heard you can get those squeezy hand exerciser things.

  25. Does anyone know if you eventually build up enough strength such that being slippery doesn’t matter anymore? Or once you have sweaty palms, you will never be able to pole dance at 100%. Cos I don’t see my instructors wiping down their poles all the time. Thank you.

  26. @ Jubilee – it is possible to build up strength and keep your hands dry, especially when your doing moves you are familiar and confident with. I find even as an experienced instructor I still get sweaty hands when learning new moves – but once I’ve got it sorted then I don’t have a problem with grip as my hand, body and core strength do the rest. Building strength is a great way of getting rid of sweaty hands, and feeling technically confident in the moves is super important too. I’ve done a few gigs where I’ve been really nervous and sometimes that makes me sweaty, but normally once I’m on the pole and in my comfort zone I get back to feeling good and confident with my hands and grip :-)

  27. Hello,

    I’m relatively new to pole dancing (2 months at S Factor) and have enjoyed it so much that I bought and installed a Lil Mynx pole in my house. In class I have no problem gripping the pole, in fact I seem to stick more than slide, but I grabbed my Lil Mynx and slid straight to the floor. Could it be because the pole is new? I’m using rubbing alcohol to clean it, just as they do in class. I’m not sure why the one at home is so slippery. Any thoughts?

  28. Hello all! Interesting to read all about the need for grip aids…it’s a common topic for discussion. I’d recommend trying Itac2 sports grip; they have a grip product designed specifically for pole dancers, and it’s available in 4 levels, so you’re sure to find the one that’s right for your style, etc. Go to poledancegrip.com and request a free sample – they’ll mail it out to you!

  29. My problem with grip is that my hands are too dry, I constantly have to put a little water on them in between moves to dampen them. Does anyone know if there’s any product to help with this? I am also trying to find gauntlet style grip gloves to see if this will help giving a little extra ‘stick’ while not covering my whole palm? Any ideas?

  30. Lina- i don’t know how to correct your dry hands problem as the use of any lotions are not recommended prior to pole dancing…Perhaps if you regularly moisturise your hands and ensure you don’t do it right before you use your pole??? As for gloves X-Pole sell some check out their website and have a look at the accessories. If you find the gloves cover your hands to much i found fishnet fingerless gloves helpful as they cover enough skin to help you slide easily but also have the grip between the pieces of fabric when you need it

  31. I found that unfortunately and very boringly the only way to improve grip and beat sweatiness is to hold on tighter. I have very sweaty hands and nothing was working so I went with washing my hands in soap and water and just holding on for dear life as soon as I felt my grip slide. Takes much more work but it’s much more rewarding in the long run-to your wallet, if nothing else!

  32. Lina-There is a product that helps if your skin is too dry. It’s called Dew Point Pole. It comes in 3 levels and there is a sample pack that lets you try all 3 for less than $10.

  33. Thanks Paula – I will I will give it a shot! :D

  34. @ Lina – Dry hands is something I find some of my clients suffer with, and Kayleigh offers some good advice with gloves (which we also sell :) I’m in the middle of writing a review about Dew Point Pole products and Itac2 so I’ll let you know how you get on. Let us know if you find any interesting solutions as it’s always great to hear new ones so we can add them to the review list :-)

  35. Powergrip balm ?3.00 eBay brilliant stuff x

  36. I suffer from sweaty palms even when I’m not exercising. I find that mighy grip does a good job of keeping me afloat.

  37. I think that chalk etc are great for when you first get started but agree that you really need to build up your grip and learn to dance without them.

  38. Is there anyplace in canada where you can find good pole fitness gloves?

  39. I’m gonna try the alcohol method, coz to me this makes more sense in that it gets rid of all dirt and residue. My problem I’m having at the mo is that when I get into position and then I slide directly down the pole holding the position. Its due to nerves I know coz when I am waiting my turn I’m getting more and more nervous. Its an absolute nightmare coz its stopping me from getting D and extended butterfly and the thing is I know I can do them both!

    I’ll let people know how I get on :)

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