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 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
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.
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