Love it or hate it, conditioning is one of those things we just know is good for us. It improves our grip strength, builds strength in our muscles and makes everything else feel so much easier! I tend to do 5-10 minutes at the end of every practise and then the occasional session just conditioning (I have a love/hate relationship with these!).
There’re so many on and off the pole conditioning exercises out there, I put together some of my favourite to do on the pole, I’ve picked some beginner, intermediate and advanced ones so you can try all of them or pick the ones suited to your level. I aim for between 10-15 of each of these, on both sides.
Ballerina crunches(beginner) – Stand next to the pole, hook your inside knee around the pole about hip height. Tap your inside foot with your inside hand then lean down and tap the floor with your outside hand. The closer your outside foot is to the pole the harder it is.
Superman push ups (intermediate)– Stand with your back to the pole, lean forward and place both hands on the floor underneath your shoulders. Bring one leg up horizontally and push the top of the inside of your thigh against the pole. Bring your other leg up to meet it and squeeze your legs together, it helps to cross your ankles. Bend your elbows so your chest comes to the floor then push back up.
Lying leg raises (beginner) – Lay on your back on the floor with the pole next to your hip, keep both legs together and straight, raises your legs then push your bum up off the floor and rotate to the other side of the pole, bring your bum back to the floor then lower your legs. To make this easier you can start and finish with your legs higher up.
Pike climb (intermediate) – Sit on the floor facing the pole in a pike position, place your hands on the pole just above head height so your arms are bent. Release your legs from the pole and pull your body up, regrip with your legs. Walk your hands up so they are the opposite way round to before and pull up again. Come down the pole the same way trying the maintain control.
Shouldermount deadlifts (advanced) – Stand with your back to the pole, with your hands in a cup grip shouldermount position. Try to keep your legs straight and lift up into a shoulder V, come down as controlled as possible and repeat without touching the floor. This can also be done from off the floor.
Cartwheel rewind (intermediate) – Stand next to the pole with your hips slightly in front, have the pole in your armpit and your hands about head height with your inside hand lowest. Bring your inside leg up and make a large circle going away from the pole first, let your outside leg follow your inside. Stop the movement when your legs have done a 3/4 circle, hold this position then go back the way you came this time with the outside leg leading.
Half climb (beginner) – Face the pole and push one foot against is as if you’re going to climb. Place both hands on the pole about head height. Use the leg that’s on the pole as a step to push up and pull with your arms so you’re standing then bring your other knee up, lower back to the floor.
Teddy (beginner)– Stand next to the pole with your hips slightly in front, have the pole in your armpit and your hands about head height with your inside hand lowest. Try to keep both legs straight and bring them up so they’re horizontal to the floor in a straddle position, hold for as long as you can!
Teddy – Inverted V (intermediate)– Go into your teddy position as explained above. Hold this for a few second then keeping your legs straight, lift youe legs over your head and push your hips up into an inverted V. Come down as controlled as you can back into your teddy and repeat.
Knee raises – Straddle – Pike (intermediate) – Stand next to the pole with your hips slightly in front. Have the pole in your armpit and your hands about head height with your inside hand lowest. Bring your knees up to your chest x3, keep both legs straight and lift up into a straddle x3, keep both legs straight and lift up with them both together x3.
Squats on the pole (intermediate) – Go into a crucifix position on the pole but make sure the pole is between your feet and knees, not on your thighs. Lean forward to balance yourself and bend your knees so your body lowers into a squat then push back up. This is ideally done no handed however you can hold on to keep balanced.
Shouldermount deadlift from the floor (advanced) – Sit on the floor with your back to the pole with hands in a cup grip shouldermount position. Bring your legs off the floor so they are straight in a straddle and you’re just on your bum. Lift up into a shoulder V. Come down as controlled as you can.
Caterpillar + Caterpillar handstand (advanced) – Start in a inverted crucifix position but make sure the pole is gripped between your feet and knees, not on your thighs. Place one hand about head height and one hand chest height. Push your body up and bring your bum away from the pole so your knees bend. Keep grip on your feet and allow your body to slide back so you’re straight and repeat. From a handstand, bend your arms so your head comes toward the floor, keep your feet still and push your body back up so your bum comes away from the pole and your knees bend.
I hope you enjoy conditioning as much as I do! Once you are doing conditioning regularly, Pole Handstands and Headstands will feel so much easier! Want are you favourite conditioning exercises to do? xx