Is pole dancing difficult?

It’s easy to draw a stickman yet difficult to paint a realistic portrait. It’s easy to run to the shop and yet difficult to run a marathon. You get my point. As with most other things in life, the basics of pole dancing are fairly simple yet the more advanced parts of pole dancing are, of course, difficult.

Pole dancing is difficult in the same sense that all forms of exercise are. During a lesson you will work out your whole body – and you’ll feel it the next day!

To start pole dancing, however, you don’t need any previous dance experience, and you don’t need to be strong or flexible. You can get straight on the pole during your first class and have fun floating and spinning around in no time.

Pole dancing is a great and fun way to get yourself moving, and to tone and look after your body. There are many different styles each with their own range of difficulties. Here are examples of the two styles I teach at my studio, Pole Flow and Exotic Pole.


Pole Flow classes require more upper body strength than Exotic Pole classes as you try to hold yourself up on the pole for extended periods of time.


Exotic Pole routines include a lot of floor work or dancing around the pole with our feet on the ground where the pole is there purely for support. During Exotic Pole classes we use less upper body strength but more active flexibility ie. lifting the legs high, bending the back.

A difficulty of Pole Flow is trying to look graceful as you move, whereas in Exotic Pole classes the difficulty is in trying to look sexy. Acting sexy comes naturally to some, but not to others.

The above example videos are routines that I have taught in my beginner classes. These routines are very achievable for my beginner students while still offering them a challenge. As you progress to more advanced levels, you will find the difficulty increase. The increase in difficulty relates to strength, flexibility and endurance.

A lot of strength is required to lift your legs up and over your head, especially when fighting against the momentum of a spinning pole. Another aspect that makes advanced pole dancing difficult is that of friction. Friction is how we keep ourselves up on the pole without using our hands. Bare skin against a metal pole or clothes against silicon poles creates this friction and without it we would fall to the ground – this is why we can’t wear clothes on chrome poles! Friction can be painful as it can cause burning and bruising of the skin.

Let’s take a look at some individual pole dancing moves at different levels and see what makes them difficult.

This beginners move is called a Front Hook. The difficulties of this move include:

  • Creating momentum to spin around the pole
  • Being able to pull the hips forward and to keep the knees wide to hold the triangle shape
  • Being able to hold yourself up on the pole requires upper body strength and grip strength.


This move is called an Outside Leg Hang, it is an intermediate move. The difficulties of the move include:

  • Having enough upper body strength and grip strength to hold your position on the pole as you lift your legs up
  • Having strength in the core and hip flexors to lift the legs up and over
  • Pushing against the pole with your arm, hip and knee to keep the contact points with the pole, these contact points cause fiction between the pole and skin and this can be painful
  • and finally, arms, hands, core and hip flexors all working to return safely to the ground.

For some, the option for challenge and difficulty in pole dancing is the reason they start, while others prefer to keep the level low and enjoy the basics.

I hope this article helped to give you an insight into the difficulties of pole dancing, but if you really want to know what it’s like, visit your local Pole Dance Studio and try it for yourself!

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