[Disclaimer: I am not a qualified PT or health professional, so listen to your body and if in doubt, consult a professional. Pay attention to the health advice in your country to see what options are available to you. If you have COVID-19, suspect you have it, or are otherwise ill, please give your body time to recover before taking up exercise again]
I know, I know. We all want to read something that’s not about COVID-19. Hell, I’ve barely had the energy to write because the news is setting off my anxiety and depression in a big way, and I’ve had to find non-Internet things I can do so I’m not surrounded with pandemic news.
However, now that pole studios have closed down and the UK is on lockdown, the question on many pole dancers’ minds is how do we keep up with our pole training at home?
So, first things first – and yes, I know I posted a disclaimer above –
Follow the health advice for your country.
Here in the UK, we’ve just been put in lockdown. While the Prime Minister hasn’t directly called it a lockdown, we’ve been told to stay in our homes unless going out is unavoidable or unnecessary, and the police have been given additional powers to fine people who are outside without a good reason.
Last week, the government shut down all gyms, leading to pole studios having to close their doors. Given that most pole instructors and studio owners are self-employed, they’re left with no guaranteed income – while still having to pay rents and overheads.
The UK isn’t the only country on lockdown, and those of us following lockdown procedures will most likely have a different routine to people who are self-isolating or quarantined.
I also need to note that the information in this blog post is accurate as of 2403/2020. This is the date this post was last updated. Governments are getting new information and taking new precautions every day, and unfortunately, I can’t guarantee to have the capacity to update this every day with information from every single country.
This post will cover a variety of solutions to help you with your pole training, so you can find a solution that works for you based on your situation.
If you suspect you have COVID-19, have tested positive for it, or are otherwise ill, please give your body time to recover. COVID-19 in particular causes shortness of breath in the majority of patients, so you shouldn’t be exercising through it and putting your body through additional stress.
With that being said, let’s get into the post!
Pole Training At Home
Whether you’re on lockdown, self-isolating, or quarantined (and, of course, you’re able to!) there are plenty of options for home-based workouts depending on what equipment you have access to.
Remote Pole Lessons and Tutorials:
If you already have a pole at home, then lucky you! A lot of studios and instructors are moving to online lessons via Skype, Zoom, Facetime, and various other platforms to help you all get your pole fix in.
Carolina (Blogger on Pole) is running remote 1-2-1 lessons with lessons in lapdance, floorwork, conditioning, and twerk. If you have a pole, then she’s also offering help with pole routine and choreo. She’s one of the loveliest people I’ve had the pleasure to talk to and she’s an awesome dancer, so get booked in with her for some pole fun!
If you need to get your pole filth on, Kitty Velour is doing tutorials through Patreon. Unfortunately she’s had to cancel her sold-out show in Manchester due to coronavirus, but you can still keep up with her work and learn her high-energy showgirl style through Patreon.
Siren Asylum in Manchester, UK has also set up a Patreon. They don’t just offer pole videos, but burlesque, dance, yoga, meditation, running, hula hoop, and more – so there’s plenty to keep you going!
Studio Veena are offering free online lessons until the end of March. Their online lessons are widely considered some of the best you can get, and this gives you the opportunity to try out their classes while you’re without a studio.
Head over to YouTube and check out tutorials from PoleFreaks and Elizabeth Blanchard. While you can access them for free, please consider sending some pennies their way if you find their tutorials helpful.
Neo, the Pole PT, has a range of 8-week pre-set courses to help you with various aspects of your pole training. Unfortunately she’s fully booked on personal programs, but these courses will definitely keep you going through lockdown! Her book, which she launched last year, is also a brilliant resource and a must-read for any poler.
C L Raven of The Pole Vault in South Wales, UK, are uploading daily conditioning and flexibility tutorials to YouTube. I work with these two awesome women on When In Chrome, and they just set up their mobile pole studio as COVID-19 was starting to become a big issue in the UK. Go show them some love!
The Pole Dancing Therapist is launching her online portal on 21st March 2020. You’ll be able to access pole drills, conditioning exercises, theoretical learning, and lessons from guest instructors remotely.
It’s also worth asking your instructors to see if they’re planning on running remote lessons, so you can continue supporting them even if your studio shuts down.
Obviously there are a lot more pole instructors out there moving online for the time being, and plenty more studios will probably move to platforms like Patreon to maintain some level of cashflow during this rough time.
Other Home Workouts:
I never got my pole room sorted last year, and now I’m definitely regretting not kicking my butt into action!
Many of us don’t have a pole at home, so our pole training at home will be limited to supplementary conditioning and flexibility work, floorwork, non-pole dance, and perhaps even a cheeky bit of chair dance.
If, like me, you need some visual direction to help you through a workout, here are some great follow-along workouts from YouTube to try. These videos don’t require you own any equipment either (except maybe a yoga mat – but if you don’t have one of those, you can always use a towel, rug, or do the workout on carpet).
If you’re the type of superhuman that designs their own conditioning AND can motivate themselves to work out despite the temptation of video games, snacks, and Netflix, all power to you!
These guides from around the internet was super helpful for me when I started working out at home, and cover both the theory and practical aspects of home workouts.
Strength Training 101 from Nerd Fitness. Link TW/CW: weight loss. This website is a fantastic resource, but please be aware there’s a big focus on weight loss and lots of talk about body fat. Otherwise, it’s a great resource on getting started with strength training, and there’s links to video tutorials on proper form.
Strength Training for Beginners from Girls Gone Strong. A great resource that doesn’t talk about weight loss and covers the fundamental movements of strength training.
Thinking of Setting Up a Home Gym? from Girls Gone Strong. If you’ve got some cash to invest in fitness equipment but can’t afford to get a pole, this article is useful for helping you figure out what you need, and what workouts you can do with what space you have.
r/bodyweightfitness on Reddit. The recommended routine is awesome for mobility work, and there’s tons of options for progression. Users post their routines, advice, and tips all the time. It has an in-depth wiki explaining bodyweight fitness, form, and progression.
r/flexibility on Reddit. This is another subreddit with a fantastic recommended routine, options for progression, active user base, and in-depth wiki to help you understand flexibility training.
It’s not just pole studios that are moving online – plenty of personal trainers and other fitness professionals are too.
Check the leaders of local Zumba and Yoga classes to see if they’re moving online – I know there’s a few in my area that are transitioning over, so I don’t doubt someone near you will be as well.
If you have sessions with a personal trainer, it’s worth asking if you can do workouts with them over a video call so you can keep up with your training. This might mean you have to modify your workouts because you won’t have them there to spot you, but it’s a good alternative if you can’t get out of the house.
If You Can Leave The House
Quite a few countries are in lockdown now, with many restricting what you can do and where you can go outside of your home.
In the UK we’re at the stage where there’s no restrictions on movement, but there’s a lot of suggestions as to how to socially distance ourselves. Gyms and studios haven’t been forced to shut down, but a lot of people (myself included) have scaled back what classes we do in order to mitigate our risk of catching and spreading COVID-19.
If you can still leave the house, and your local gym, pole studio, or other fitness facility is still open – ask them what they have in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The vast majority of places will probably have told you by now anyway, but it’s worth checking that they’ve got a policy in place for cleaning down equipment, hand washing, and cleaning the facilities. They should also be making sure their members are following these procedures.
If your pole studio, gym, etc. have closed down, but you can still get outside, you might be tempted to head to your local park to use the pole on the kids’ playground. Personally, I would warn against that, particularly if you are high-risk. The virus can live on metal surfaces for days, and playgrounds come into contact with a lot of people and are not regularly sanitised.
If you can still get outside without your movement being restricted, simply going for a walk, jog, run, or bike ride can help you keep your fitness level up and work on your cardio. In this case, you should take care to distance yourself from other people who are outside, maintaining the suggested 6 feet (2m) distance between yourself and other people.
Swimming is also a good fitness option if your local pool is still open, as the chlorine in swimming pools will kill the coronavirus. However, you still need to take proper precautions in the showers and changing rooms.
Supporting The Pole Industry During COVID-19
Those of us working in the pole industry tend to be self-employed, or run small businesses, so unlike employees of large corporations who can claim statutory sick pay (UK) or other benefits, we have to rely on their own coffers to help us survive.
Personally, I’m now in a situation where I don’t have any clients as they, understandably, tighten up their purse strings so they can take care of their staff. The last thing anyone’s thinking of is their content marketing strategy, and as a freelance writer, my income comes from writing articles.
Pole studios are temporarily closing, whether that’s because they’ve been forced to by their government or they’re doing so voluntarily. This is leaving our instructors without their regular source of income, and even if they’re still open, they’re probably having fewer students walk through their doors.
Everywhere, people are spending less as the economic situation across the world destabilised. As students we’re finding ourselves in situations where we’re being laid off work, getting fewer hours, or we’re putting aside what money we can in case we go fully into lockdown.
The good news is, whether you have funds available or not, there are things you can do to support your favourite studios, instructors, artists, performers, brands, and information sources.
Financially Supporting Pole Professionals
Please note that I do understand that our financial situations are not all the same.
Even if we’re in the fortunate position that we’re bringing in our full salaries for the time being, we might be limiting what non-essentials we buy in order to build a savings pot if things go south. Here in the UK, statutory sick pay is only £94.25 a week per person (unless your employer chooses to pay you more), which if you live alone is barely enough to cover rent – and if you live with others, might only just cover your household outgoings.
That’s why, when I’m listing the following ways you can help pole professionals, I want you to bear in mind that I’m not saying you should be doing this, or are morally obliged to.
This is simply a list of suggestions for ways you can support pole professionals if you have the cash to spare. You might have that, or you might not. It’s a rough time for all of us, and no-one should be shaming you into spending money you don’t have to gain a sense of moral worth.
Depending on what you can afford, if anything, here are a few ways you can help support pole professionals through the pandemic:
- Book remote 1-2-1 classes with your instructors, or if your studio is running remote classes, book onto those as normal.
- Consider tipping instructors that run free classes or upload free tutorials to help us train at home. If you want to send them a tip but don’t know where to send it, ask!
- Buy merch, books, or digital products from pole professionals.
- If you follow strippers or other sex workers on Instagram and like their content, consider dropping them a tip too. Quite a few strippers I follow are putting out their PayPal/CashApp addresses, but again if you can’t see an address to send tips to and you want to, ask them!
- Buy gift cards from your studio, pole wear brand of choice, online retailer, or other service providers. You can redeem them at a later date, or give them to a friend 🙂
- Keep paying your direct debit for class passes, even if you can’t get to the studio. I know Feelin’ Peachy in the Wirral, UK is doing a free Facebook group with tutorials and accountability support for paying members. Other studios are allowing members to roll over class credits to when they re-open. If you’re not sure what’s happening with your membership, don’t be afraid to ask!
- Sign up for your studio’s Patreon, support groups, or other subscriptions.
- Subscribe to the OnlyFans/Patreon accounts of strippers, sex workers, and other professionals.
- Support Rebecca Crow‘s legal battle against Instagram’s discriminatory practices.
- Check out Pole with Purpose. PWP is an online competition, allowing competitors to compete from their homes and receive feedback from judges. Hosted by Roz ‘the Diva’ Mays and put together by Positive Spin Pole Dance Fitness in Seattle, this competition provides work for pole professionals who are struggling to find work, with any additional funds going to the Seattle Artist Relief Fund.
Other Ways To Support Pole Professionals
Not all of us have the money available right now, and that’s understandable!
There are a bunch of other ways you can support pole professionals through the pandemic without spending a penny, and these will also help people to bounce back when we can start going back to normality.
- Engage with their content! Like, comment, subscribe, and share with your friends. Social media in particular promotes content with high levels of engagements, so you can help them out just with a comment saying that you liked their latest video (or post 😉 )
- Leave a review on TrustPilot, Google Reviews, TripAdvisor, their website, or anywhere else they display reviews. If they display testimonials on their website, write them one!
- Offer tech support for pole instructors moving to online classes, and help them to set up and run Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp calls, or any other platform of their choice.
- If you have a service to provide yourself, and you can afford to, offer skill swaps with other pole professionals. Maybe you’re a personal trainer and can offer remote sessions in exchange for a fresh new website, or a writer who can offer articles and social media captions in exchange for a coach to kick their ass into exercising while they’re socially distancing (hello!).
- Recommend people to your friends. Have a friend who loves filth but has never heard of Kitty Velour? Recommend her! Spread the word about professionals that you love.
- Raise awareness of what pole professionals are doing throughout the pandemic. Write posts about your instructor’s online classes, or share their work to your Insta stories.
What Sass and Clacks Can Do To Help
As some of you might know, outside of running this blog I’m a freelance writer.
I tend to specialise in long-form content like blogs, articles, and website pages, but I’m also more than capable in writing emails, social media posts, and pretty much anything else. I’ve been content writing professionally for over four years in a variety of industries, and I’ve been writing in the pole industry for over a year now.
I understand that content marketing isn’t on everyone’s minds right now, but I want to do something to offer my support to the pole community.
So, until the end of April, I want to offer the following to you all on a pay what you can basis:
If your website is in need of a refresher but you’re not sure where to start, I can go through your website, check out your content, and recommend areas that need improvement. I’ll put together a document for you that details all of my recommendations.
Proofreading and Editing
I can go through the text on your website, social media captions, emails, or blog posts, and proofread and/or edit them to your brand voice. You choose whether you want a friendly eye over your work, or someone to go through with (virtual) red marker pen.
If you already have a blog on your website, now’s a great time to put out some new content to help students who are in lockdown, self-isolation, quarantined, or social distancing. Let me know what you want your blog post to be about and I’ll write it for you! I can even make it SEO-friendly, so it’ll hit all the keywords you want to rank for.
As a note, while I’m saying this is a “pay as you can” service, if you can’t afford to pay anything, you don’t have to! Of course, if you can afford to throw some money my way if I’ve done a good job, I’ll always appreciate a tip, but I’m not expecting you’ll have the money to spare. All I ask in return is for a testimonial for my professional website 🙂
If this sounds like it might be useful to you, drop me an email at emma [at] dragonscribestudios.co.uk and I’d be happy to help!
How You Can Help Sass and Clacks
As a self-employed writer, I’m entirely dependant on clients having work for me.
Due to the coronavirus, I don’t have any income right now, as all of my clients are struggling for funds themselves.
I don’t normally ask for tips through here, because I want to keep Sass and Clacks free to access. Unfortunately though, running a website isn’t free. Thankfully I pre-paid my hosting last year so that’s not a regular expenditure, but my domain name will need renewing soon. Plus, without clients, I spend the majority of my working time researching and writing articles to be a positive influence in the pole community, help improve your pole journeys, and support everyone’s mental health.
I’ve never wanted to put Sass and Clacks behind a paywall, and I want to keep this blog free for everyone. I’m not expecting any of my readers to financially support me without me offering something in return. Your families and survival comes first. I just hope that I can, and continue to be, a source of support through these trying times.
If there are any posts that you particularly love, please consider sharing them with your friends, whether that’s through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or any other platform of your choice.
As always, thank you all for your continued support, and I’m wishing you all health and happiness throughout these scary times.
Love and socially distanced hugs (or a knowing nod, if you don’t like hugs),