by Sachin Jhangiani
The first thing you notice about pole fitness is how deceptively difficult it is. Those movements, which look so graceful and effortless, require extraordinary amounts of core strength, upper-body strength, and a willingness to have your skin pinched an ungodly amount by the pole.
Last week I had the pleasure of attending one of the club’s beginner sessions. The sessions begin with a warm-up to some dance music, led by Alex, the instructor. Alex has been teaching pole for eight years and in addition to teaching at LSE and other universities, she runs her own studio. The warm-up involves a lot of stretching, specifically for your lower body. As I desperately tried to stretch my legs as far apart as possible, I saw some of the other students effortlessly slide into a full split. That was when I knew this was not going to be easy.
By the end of the warm-up I was definitely more tired than I thought would be (possibly an indictment on my own fitness levels). But, finally, we were getting to the part I’d been most eager to try – actually getting on the pole. I’d stalked the Pole Fitness Instagram page before my session, and I couldn’t wait to try some of the stuff they’d uploaded: hanging upside down from the pole, defying gravity with my arms flared. As it turns out, hanging sideways from the pole is hard enough, but with a little help from Alex and a couple of the other students, I was able to defy gravity!
While the session was going on, our Sport Editor, Matt Sudlow, who had come to provide invaluable moral support, had the chance to speak with some of the members of the society. On being asked why they’d chosen to join Pole Fitness out of all the sports societies that LSE has, several of them talked about the health benefits of the sport – it builds flexibility and core strength, and is a really good workout. One of them even said that their confidence had increased and I can see why – if you can hang upside down from a pole, surely things like summatives and problem sets seem a little less daunting. Almost every person mentioned how welcoming and strong the community was within the society. The socials are extremely enjoyable, they said. When asked if there was any stigma associated with doing pole, one member responded, “count the members”.
Pole Fitness represents the best of what a sports society can be at LSE – welcoming, inclusive, and supportive irrespective of your level. I would highly recommend giving it a try if you’re looking for a good workout, or just to meet some nice people! Check out their Instagram page, @lsepolefitness, for the class timetable.