No Pole? Here’s How to Pole Dance Without One

So you want to start pole dancing but don’t have a pole. For a variety of reasons you might not have access to a pole but want to do something to get ready. I speak to a lot of ladies who tell me they want to have other fitness goals accomplished before they start pole dancing and that is totally fine! I am here to give you some tips on getting ready for pole dance without a pole.


Strength is a huge factor in pole dancing and one of the best benefits from the exercise. I have to constantly remind people that you need to already have upper body strength in order to start pole dancing but some people still insist that they want to build their strength first. You can start with pushups to build upper body strength. I tell my students to start with 3-5 pushups a couple times a week to help with upper body strength. Hate them or not push-ups are really one of the best exercises for your upper body.

Core strength is something you will definitely use and develop through pole dancing. Simple exercises such as crunches, bicycle crunches, and planks will help increase your core strength. I know a lot of women that also take fitness classes such as yoga, pilates, and barre to work on core strength. Your core is quite possibly one of the most important parts of your body because it is right in the middle and holds everything together. Whether you are pole dancing or not, I recommend developing a strong core just for life.

People focus so much on upper body and core strength in pole dancing, they tend to forget about your legs! Your legs matter too. You want your legs to look good in heels don’t you? Good exercises for your legs are squats and lunges. Personally my favorite exercise for legs is twerking but that’s just me.

Stretching and Flexibility

No your split doesn’t have to be perfect for pole dance. You don’t even have to be close to a split to be quite honest. You will want to make sure you are stretching on a regular basis. In fact, when I have students that are new to exercise or haven’t exercised in a really long time, we spend more time stretching than we do dancing. Your body needs to be warm and stretched out in order to get any kinds of results.

To stretch out your hips, practice splits on both legs and the middle stretch. Once you get into a position that feels slightly uncomfortable, hold it for five seconds, then gradually increase the time by five seconds. Holding stretches for longer periods of time helps you get more flexible. In addition to stretching out your hips, you will also want to make sure you stretch out your quads (muscle in the front of your leg) and hamstrings (muscle in the back of the leg).


Cardio, or as my brother calls it, “par-dio” is a very important factor in pole dance. Cardio helps with your endurance, stamina, and overall system. Cardio is my least favorite thing to do fitness wise. I constantly wait until the absolute last minute to get my cardio done and this is a terrible habit. When you are first starting out, your cardio workout doesn’t have to be too intense. You can take a brisk walk around your neighborhood or take a Zumba class. I recently did a boxing cardio workout and it wasn’t too terrible, I will do anything to keep me off the treadmill. A lot of pole dancing is slow sensual movements but you will need the endurance cardio gives you to get through a routine.


Here is a part of pole dance that you need to prepare for that isn’t physical at all, which is the mental part. You might be a little on the shy side and not yet have the confidence to try pole dance. There are a few things you can do on your own to give yourself a confidence boost.

1.     Practice your smize in the mirror. You know the smize that Tyra Banks made famous. Practice it. Even if you laugh at yourself (as I sometimes do). You will start to get comfortable at making a different kind of face in the mirror.

2.     Walk around naked. If you already do this, great! But there is no greater feeling than just enjoying your skin and your body in the nude. For extra credit, walk around naked in your favorite heels.

3.     Dance like no one is watching. Turn on some of your favorite music and just dance it out. Even just for a couple songs. It will help you feel free and super relaxed. I would do this a couple times a week.

4.     Smile at a stranger. I know this can be a scary one so the stranger can even be another woman if smiling at a strange man freaks you out. Something about smiling at someone you don’t know can be super powerful and comforting. 

5.     Give someone a compliment. You might even get one back which is a bonus!