How to Avoid Bruises when Pole Dancing

So pole dancing is meant to make you look and feel great. But when you get home after class you find you’re covered in bruises. Surely that’s not how it’s supposed to be?

Bruising is a common problem, particularly for people you who have just started pole dancing. Unfortunately it’s almost inevitable too – unlike most sports, pole dancing relies substantially on soft parts of the body that aren’t designed for heavy use, and that don’t have a nice layer of toughened skin and tissue to shield them. You can’t wear much protective clothing either, as /2007/04/20/shorts-shoes-and-whips-what-to-wear-on-a-dance-pole/” title=”Shorts, Shoes and Whips – What (Not) to Wear on a Pole”>it’s your skin that keeps you stuck to the pole.

Luckily bruising does decrease as you get better at pole dancing, and the tips here should reduce the problem for you even more.

Why don’t professional pole dancers bruise?

Well, in fact they still do (and carry large supplies of cover up to prove it!). It’s less of an issue though, as advanced polers have learned how to get into poses efficiently and without jarring their bodies against the pole.

Just as importantly, their bodies become more resilient to the stresses of pole work in crucial contact areas (similar to conditioning in martial arts). Their skin becomes a bit harder and the muscle underneath toughens and thickens to protect them from impacts. But it’s not all plain sailing – when I learn a new move, I often end up with a nice collection of bruises to show for my efforts!

How to avoid bruises when pole dancing

Here are my top tips for avoiding – or at least minimising – bruising on a pole.

  • Study each new move closely before you jump on the pole to try it out. What positions should your arms and legs be in? Where are the pressure points? How will you grip the pole?
  • If you’re learning a spin, try walking it through slowly first. If it’s an invert, see whether you can practise it on the ground. (Put your legs around the pole and rest your upper back on the floor.)
  • Take it slowly. Repeating the same move again and again is much more likely to bruise the areas you’re stressing. Alternate between moves so your body has a chance to recover.
  • Try to overgrip the pole when you’re learning a new move. If you don’t hold on tightly enough you may start to slide, and stopping again tends to bruise – and hurt – a lot more. So if in doubt, squeeze harder!

Too late! Treating your pole bruises

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I find that is really effective, and I know a lot of other pole dancers recommend it too. Arnica is a natural product that comes in cream or tablet form, and helps the body heal by decreasing swelling and pain. Apply the cream every night after showering by rubbing it gently into the bruised areas.

If your bruising is more severe, place an ice pack on the affected area to reduce pain and swelling. Leave it on for 10-20 minutes several times a day.

If it’s not painful for you, gently massage the affected area to encourage blood flow. Avoid hot showers or baths, heat packs and alcohol at first as these can increase the swelling. There are some more useful tips here and here.

Finally – Is bruising actually a problem?

As long as you’re not talking about the look, then the short answer is no. Bruising occurs when capillaries under your skin are damaged, allowing blood to seep into the surrounding tissue. Severe bruising can happen and can be serious, but most bruises (and almost all pole-inflicted bruises) are pretty superficial and clear up quickly. Just try not to aggravate the damaged area so your body has time to repair itself.

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The instructions and advice presented in this article is designed for people who are in good health and do not constitute medical advice.

Consult your doctor before undertaking any new physical routine. Never force or strain. Start any new programme slowly, discontinue and seek medical advice if you experience any discomfort, distress or other symptoms.

In undertaking any activity based on the instructions or advice in this article you assume the risk of injury resulting from performing the movements or utilizing any suggested equipment.

The Company disclaims any liability in connection with any instructions and advice in this blog post. This does not include or limit in any way the Company’s liability for death or personal injury caused by the Company’s negligence; or for any matter for which it would be illegal for the Company to exclude, or attempt to exclude, its liability.

19 Responses to “How to Avoid Bruises when Pole Dancing”

  1. I came across the article linked above on martial arts conditioning while editing this post. I find the close parallels between the techniques highlighted there and Lucy’s advice for preventing bruising fascinating.

    The article discusses carefully planning which parts of the body to condition, alternating between areas, and doing a little bit of training often – almost exactly mirroring what Lucy mentions above.

    To an extent I guess it’s obvious stuff, but the similarity of the advice – despite stemming from two very different sports and originating at two very different times – is quite uncanny.

  2. Interesting…also, less impact on the bar i’m assuming, might help.

  3. Hi all!

    Great book. I just want to say what a fantastic thing you are doing! Good luck!


  4. Hello. Thankyou! great site!


  5. Hi Anthony,

    Thanks for dropping by! I’m certainly going to have to try some of your VideoJug moves linked on your site – looks like so much fun!

    Have you done any pole yourself, or any choreography with pole dancing? Before she left university, Lucy organised a show in which about 50 people took part, performing both on and off the poles, which was quite a unique performance (certainly unique for York, anyway…). I personally feel there’s a lot of scope and potential in that area.

    If you want, feel free to get in touch via the contact form (forgive me for not putting an email here…).


  6. Hello Andrew!

    I have to say that I have never incorporated a pole into any of my choreography…I can definetly see scope for it…but I think that this is just for me to appreciate as an artform, as oppossed to me doing it myself! (although i’ll never discount doing any of it myself – I can learn from everywhere) – Ha ha yep, there’s a few slides their indeed Andrew…hope your sideslide is going well my friend!


  7. Hi Guys this site is fantastic. So much useful information. Can’t wait till my video arrives.



  8. Thanks Michael! We do our best :)

    Unfortunately we haven’t been able to post much recently as both Lucy and I have been very busy, but we’ve got lots of exciting things lined up for the near future.

    Hope you enjoy your DVD!

  9. I have a big problem with bruises. I bruise really easy anyway, so u couldn’t believe the big purple goose eggs on my shins. I did some research and I think creams, vitamins, and just plain getting better really helps:

  10. I’ve just joined a poledancing class and came home battered and aching from my 90 minute “taster” class yesterday. Thanks for the great advice and tips I’ve read so far – it’s going to make my life a lot easier, especially as a bigger girl I’m at a bit of a disadvantage to the other petit girls in my class. (I’m 6 ft and size 16)

    Thanks again!

  11. I don’t know who came with the stupid idea that professionals do not suffer bruises; we do!!!

  12. Hi,

    I recently bruised my ribs – not pole related – and I’m dying to get back to my pole classes. The doctor say’s they could take 4-6weeks to get better & I’m at 3/4weeks now but they’re still a bit painful. I’ve been using arnica to help. I just want to know if I push myself will I make them worse? Have any of you hurt your ribs & continued on through the pain? Or is it best to totally rest until they’re 100% better? Really frustrating! Is there anything I can do?!


  13. @ Cherie – Sorry to hear you bruised your ribs. But I’m afraid I agree with the doctor and that you should rest as much as possible before returning to pole. Pole can be really aggressive on the body (as you know) and the ribs are an extremely sensitive area to damage. One of my good friends hurt her rib on the pole, and it was vital that she rested before she trained again. Check with your doctor, you might be able to do light jogging or exercise that doesn’t directly affect the ribs, but check with your specialist before you go back to exercise as you don’t want to make it worse :-( Get some more Arnica and recovery tablets from the health store and take them every day to speed your healing up. Rubbing Arnica cream in is also great, but your doing that already :-) Hope you heal up soon.

  14. :( that’s what I thought!

    Thanks for the speedy response! I’ll just have to be patient…


  15. I am 6ft tall and size 16. Will I bruise more than if I was smaller? I am installing a pole this week as I can’t face going to classes with smaller women. I am hoping this will give me some confidence.

  16. Sarah – I’m exactly the same dimensions as yourself! You won’t bruise more, but you do have the advantage of being able to reach higher up the pole and I found that my weight gave me extra swing. Be warned, it really makes your muscles burn and your fingers feel like they are on fire: I would recommend attending a class or two so you learn a couple of techniques and how to warm up and down properly. I was amazed how nice the other girls were. I got some serious respect for my added momentum too!

    Yes, we’re really tall, but that’s a great asset. Pick your favourite bit and flaunt it! :) tell you what, if you do a class, I’ll sign up to another for added punishment! I’m picking up replies if you want to chat. :D

  17. Hi Amber. Okay,I have emailed a few places that offer classes. I live in quite a remote area of the UK so I need to travel a bit!! The only bit of me I like are my legs because they are v v long! I have spent years and a fortune covering my body with tattoos because I believe if they going to judge me on my size they may as well look at pretty pictures. Its lovely to have someone that understands,thank you

  18. Heh, then there are plenty of moves that show off your legs! I only managed one tattoo in attempt to deal with needle phobia. It didn’t work!

  19. Thanks for a great post.

    I feel more at ease now and I can’t wait to get back to class next week. I am covered in bruises after last nights class, but the show must go on ;)

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