The focus this week is practicing body awareness. This week has been good, my abs are starting to show through and flatten really nicely again, my upper body is definitely slimmer, and I have lost a few pounds of body fat so I am thrilled things are moving in the right direction. I will be pushing for the lower body to tone a bit better over the next 4 weeks.
On the flip side, I have been frustrated because I have had to take things slower than I prefer.
As most of you who follow me already know, I have an old injury that I live with, two herniated discs in my lower back (L4 and L5). Pole dancing has been a blessing for me. It can be very upper body heavy workout so, in a lot of ways, pole dancing at home for fitness takes the pressure off my bad discs while I exercise, allowing me to get in superior shape. I cannot run on a treadmill like most people and I can’t spend hours jumping up and down in a Zumba class, although I would like too! There are even many contortion type pole dancing moves that I will never be able to execute again (but that’s ok) it’s still fun!
This week, as I gained speed in getting back into the groove of my pole dancing workout at home with more regularity, my back started to talk to me… through the pain.
Pain is most likely something that everyone will encounter during intense physical activities and those signals should never be neglected. Pain is the body’s language to tell you that you are headed a direction your body isn’t quite ready for.
Even if you don’t have back problems like I do, many of us do have injuries to consider when working out at home. And for those of you who have never been injured during an exercise workout, then this article will give you some wonderful insights to avoid it altogether.
We have all heard the saying “no pain, no gain”. I mildly disagree. While there is pain involved from muscle soreness and there is an uncomfortable burning sensation when you have worked your muscles to the max; a sharp uncomfortable pain is when you should stop.
When you encounter that sharp pain, it’s a signal that your body isn’t strong enough, flexible enough, (or both) to execute the move you were trying to do. RESPECT THAT. While you are taking a short break from a painful move, you can do other things like strengthen your skin for more advanced pole dancing moves or work on your core strength.
For me, last week I was working on a pole dance combo in this video here >> I was able to execute it just fine, but I did start to feel pain after practicing it in the first few days. For me personally, my left hamstring and buttock muscles were very locked up tight. When your muscles are too tight and not stretchy like a rubber band, then executing some moves can be painful.
So as a result, I put more of a focus on my stretching this week and used a foam roller to work out some of those overly tight muscles. I have also shifted to stretching longer after my workouts that specifically tighten my glute and hamstring muscles.
When you are exercising watch for painful signals and listen to your body with respect. Doing this is what I call “practicing body awareness”. By doing this you can avoid a lot of common mistakes that cause injuries.
Here are some common mistakes pole dancers make and how you can avoid them:
- Don’t overstretch or push your body into moves that you are not flexible enough for. When you do stretch, stretch to the point of a little uncomfortable feeling, never push or force your body into the pain.
- Don’t Jump into your pole moves and yes I know this makes it a lot harder. The reason you don’t want to jump into your moves is that you risk slamming your body into the pole and injuring yourself. Avoiding this will help you avoid pole bruises as well. In addition, jumping isn’t graceful and if you really want to look your best while dancing, then pulling yourself up into your moves with control is the way to go. This is one of the reasons I emphasize proper form in my pole dancing lessons online.
The urge to jump into your pole dancing moves or attempt a pole move that your body is not quite ready for is very common because people really want to get into that move and do it. There is something emotionally gratifying when you accomplish a new move and there is something very discouraging about not being strong enough to try a new move as well.
It is human nature to take the easy route and use a jump to create more momentum but the bottom line is that the easy route can quickly set you back if you get injured.
You must realize this underlying emotional desire and with gentle respect, hold back temporarily, and allow your body time to get stronger and more flexible before continuing forward.
We are taught to push ourselves, to keep going, and stick to a regimen or we will never get the results we want. While this it true to a point, your pole dancing workout is a journey and a lifestyle that evolves and changes. Pain is one of the things that will shape that evolution.
See, now we are learning to be kind, respectful, and gentle to ourselves as we get stronger on our pole journey…… did you ever think pole dancing for fitness would teach you that?