Pole dancing is making an impact. When we last We’ve tested the most popular pole dancing grip aids to let you know what will help you beat those sweaty hands and what will leave you slipping and sliding down the pole.
DMM chalk ball
I came across this wonderful white powder (really, it’s chalk!) while shopping for a new jacket. DMM chalk balls are made specifically for rock climbers, who perhaps have an even greater need for good hand grip than we do.
And the climbers have obviously got it right – this chalk offers superb grip. Whether you’re about to perform on stage in a hot venue or are working hard to nail a new move, this chalk should guarantee you sweat-free holds and give you the grip and assurance you need.
I pole danced for a good 30 minutes without feeling the need to reapply it, so you should be able to get all the way through a performance or training session without worrying about sweaty hands.
And it’s not just suitable for hands – the chalk works well on the thighs and other parts of the body too. A ball should last you a long time as a little goes a long way, though be careful not to use too much or you’ll build up a nasty residue on your pole.
It’s not all good news: the chalk can become very sticky when mixed with water, so check your pole is clean and dry before you use it. Make sure you store the ball properly too, or it will do its best to turn your pole room into an unwanted winter wonderland. (I found this out the hard way.)
This is the best grip product I’ve used, and at just £1.99 for a ball it costs less than half that of the other products we’ve tested here. The next time you’re looking for a grip aid, try one of these.
I’ve heard some great things about Gorilla Gold grip enhancer, and at £5.99 it’s reasonably priced too. Gorilla Gold is a small cloth impregnated with a sticky beeswax and was originally designed for tennis players with grip problems. (Apparently it works “like pine tar, but without the mess,” though we didn’t check that ourselves.)
They advise you to touch the cloth gently until you reach the desired ‘tack’ and return it to the pack for next time. Gorilla Gold suggests the cloth should last for 20-30 applications, depending on how much you use.
I really didn’t get on with Gorilla Gold. It made my hands feel extremely sticky (in a syrupy, or perhaps pine tarry, way), but it gave me very little extra grip. The first time I spun round the pole after applying it, I slipped to the ground so quickly I screamed!
The problem seems to be that the beeswax doesn’t dry at all after applying it (and I only used a tiny bit, squeezing the cloth lightly two or three times). Rather than offering additional grip, Gorilla Gold acts almost like a lubricant, helping you slide even faster down the pole. It’s probably great with the more porous grips on tennis rackets or golf clubs, but it just doesn’t work with an impregnable metal pole.
I tried again after cleaning most of it off my hands so I just had a tiny amount left on, and this time it did improve my grip a little. It feels a bit like a pole that’s been used for a while, so if you like a dirty pole then this may be a way of getting that texture quickly. (Though make sure you only use a tiny amount!)
And it does leave the pole dirty. A lot of the beeswax transferred from my hands while I was testing it, leaving a large amount of difficult-to-shift gunk on my pole that took me about five minutes to clean off.
Gorilla Gold is sticky, but not grippy. Not recommended for pole dancing.
Mighty Grip is probably the most popular grip product in the pole dance community, and is sufficiently popular amongst polers for the company to target it specifically at pole people. Mighty Grip has also done well to get some super names like Pantera to endorse their product.
Mighty Grip is a powdered thermoplastic that comes in a tiny 7g bottle, usually priced at £4.99. So you don’t get a lot for your money, but the manufacturer stresses that a little goes a long way – I think you should get 100 applications out of it, depending on how much you use of course. To use Mighty Grip, shake a few drops of the powder on your hands, create a fist while the powder melts and you’re good to go.
The extra grip I got was excellent, particularly after I started to work up a bit of a sweat. The powder is quick to apply and clean to use, and it’s easy to slip the compact bottle into your hand bag too!
I did find that I needed to reapply the product after about 15 minutes of vigorous poling – the grip, while it lasted, was as good as the DMM chalk, but it just didn’t stay as long.
Mighty Grip leaves a slight white ‘dust’ on your hands. It’s easy to clean off, but could look a little unsightly if you’re performing for photos or HD video. As with all grip products, it left a little residue on my pole, but less than most.
Mighty Grip is an excellent pole dancing grip aid, but it doesn’t last as long as (and costs quite a bit more than) the DMM chalk. So overall I’d choose the chalk, but I’m definitely going to keep one of these in my bag for when I go out.
Claimed to be the ultimate liquid pole dance gripping solution, Platinum Stage’s grip aid comes in a small bottle filled with clear liquid that you apply to your hands or legs and allow to dry. It’s relatively new to the market, having launched in the UK just a few weeks ago.
Platinum Grip comes in 35ml or 70ml bottles, and I estimate that a 35ml bottle will last for 50-80 applications, depending on how liberally you apply it of course. It retails at $9.99 (35ml) or $15.99 (70ml) in the US and at £9.99 (70ml) in the UK.
I was impressed the Platinum Grip. It gives a very reassuring extra dose of grip on the pole and, as it’s a clear liquid, there are no white marks on your hands after it’s dried.
However, as I started to sweat, I found that a greasy substance was deposited on the pole that was quite tough to clean off, even with acetone or alcohol. I also needed to reapply it after 15-20 minutes: roughly the same as Mighty Grip, but not as long-lasting as the DMM chalk.
Despite these minor downsides, this is by far the best liquid grip aid I’ve used. It’s a very close thing between this and Mighty Grip, the other product targeted specifically at pole dancers. Mighty Grip tends to leave less residue and would be my choice – just – but if having white hands bothers you more then this is a great alternative.
Liquid chalk has been used by pole dancers as a grip aid for years. It usually comes in fairly large (250ml) bottles for £5-7, which you just pour over your hands and leave to dry before using.
Your pole grip is improved significantly with liquid chalk at first, but when you start to sweat the product turns into a rather gooey mess on your hands. And while the grip offered is good, it’s not quite as sticky as other products we’ve covered here.
There is an art to using liquid chalk effectively. Liquid chalk is made from magnesium carbonate (chalk), rosin (solid resin) and alcohol (which dissolves the resin and evaporates when applied). When properly shaken, the gluey liquid makes your hands very dry but also very white. The white has a tendency to get onto everything, and white marks on your outfit, the pole and the floor are not usually a great look.
But if left to settle, the chalk and rosin will separate in the bottle, and you can then pour some of the clear (and largely chalk-free) liquid onto your hands. This liquid is nowhere near as dry as the mixed chalky version, but I found the grip was actually slightly better.
Separating the mixture doesn’t work with all liquid chalk, so it may be impossible to avoid the white marks. Some people swear by this product and still use it today, but other grip aids offer superior grip and much less mess.
Perhaps an unorthodox way to clean your pole, but vodka actually works really well, leaving the pole clean and shiny and with all of that poling gunk stripped off. You can pour a little on your hands to clean them too.
Of course it won’t improve grip beyond your natural dry hands level, but it’s a great alternative to (cleaning!)
As well as their powder, Mighty Grip sells specially-designed pole dancing gloves. Inspired by the gloves weight lifters use, these fingerless gloves have a padded front that offers useful protection to your hands during intensive pole sessions.
The Mighty Grip gloves come in two versions: tack, for spinning poles; and non-tack, for static poles.
The non-tack gloves are designed to give you a better grip while still allowing you to spin. I found them very enjoyable to use, though as I continued to train I found my hands starting to sweat and move about a little inside the gloves. It’s important to buy the right size to limit movement as much as possible. Mighty Grip also recommends using some of their powder before you put the gloves on, and doing so did make the grip a little better.
The tack gloves are something else. Their shiny patent front gave me huge amounts of grip, no matter how difficult the move was. And boy do you notice – my hands remained on the pole long after my body had left, and moves that I was finding technically challenging became much more attainable. Spins are of course out of the question, but these gloves are great for static poses or a spinning pole.
I had the same problem with the gloves moving a little when my hands started to sweat, so this time I used the DMM chalk before putting the gloves back on. The combination worked really well and I had a great – and very productive – pole practice afterwards!
Both gloves come in a variety of colours and sizes from XS to L, so you should be able to find a pair that suits both your hands and your style. :) They’re priced at £10.99, which is significantly more than the other grip aids, but then it’s a different sort of product (and hopefully one that should last for years, not months).
The non-tack gloves offer a similar level of stick to the best grip aids we’ve reviewed here. The tack gloves offer vastly more grip than any other aid we’ve looked at, though of course their extreme stickiness does limit how widely you can use them.
These gloves aren’t a replacement for other grip aids: they (obviously) only cover the hands and work best in combination with another grip aid, but they do offer padding to protect the hands and, in the case of the tack gloves, huge grip. Recommended.
Pole health warning: don’t use these products
I know we’ve just spent a whole post talking about how great they are, and grip products can be a life saver if you’re really struggling with a move, have an important performance or just fancy an impromptu pole jam with friends.
But I strongly recommend only using them for those special occasions and not for general pole training. It’s important to build your confidence, strength and trick repertoire the natural way, or you may end up unable to perform without them.
Over to you
Do you use these grip products? What do you think? Do you prefer something else instead? I’d love to know – tell me about it in the comments!.