Why am I sliding off the pole?
You think it’s the pole that’s not ‘grippy’ enough all of a sudden? Think again. There’s a whole bunch of reasons this could be happening as it happens….
A little known fact is that the lovely and very thorough folk at X-Pole coat all their NEW X-Poles in a factory slathering of magical goo – to protect your precious pole whilst in processing and transit.
So if you shiny new pole at home feels slippery and different to the poles in class – worry not!
It’s simply a matter of wearing it off so – GERRUP YER POLE!
The usual culprit however is: Mingin pole syndrome.
Your pole may have ‘residue’s’ on it. This could be sweaty deposits from your hands, body lotions, dead skin (iew!), grip aid build up, or even hair product!
CLEAN YOUR POLE: For a general clean, use an fragrance free, un-lotioned baby wipe (the cheaper the better usually!), followed by a drying cloth – we like the microfibre cloths for this. Do this regularly throughout your training session.
If you still don’t think that’s done it, or it somehow feels ‘greasy’, dab some neat CHEAP GIN (don’t waste the expensive stuff!) onto a cloth, wipe it onto the pole, and then follow with a drying cloth. Try to only do this if it NEEDS to be done.
EXPERIMENT: Also, if you get the chance, visit your local pole school and talk to an instructor about the different types of pole finishes available. It may be that you get on better with a different metal. At Candy & Chrome, we try to get a few different materials and widths in for you to try, but generally what’s available are chrome, titanium gold, brass and stainless steel. Widths have an effect on your grip too – if you have little hands for example, gripping a standard 50mm width pole might be uncomfortable and you might get a much stronger, more confident grip on the 45mm.
Because we live in the UK, and the weather is temperamental and generally always … rubbish, our poles can suffer from exposure to the atmosphere and this can really affect your polling!
We seem to get a case of ‘too damn cold’ in the winter months, and then ‘too damn hot’ in the summer months!
When the weather is cold, and your pole gets cold, it can collect condensation, or it can just be a slippery surface to work with when it’s too cool.
WARM UP YOUR POLE: If it’s really cold, it may not be possible to warm up the pole enough to make it nice and sticky to work with, so always keep your preferred grip aid to hand. But it’s generally a good idea to get the room nice and warm. Grab hold of your pole and with a tight hand grip, run around it like a lunatic, still gripping and twisting as you go. Perform basic spins a few times in a row, use this as an opportunity to train your left/weaker side whilst you’re at it! Don’t make climbs and leg grips the first thing you attempt on a cold pole in cold conditions!
Although none of this will be useful unless you have warmed your body up and kept it warm too!
REGULATE TEMPERATURES: Occasionally (rarely in the UK), you might suffer from slippery pole from being too damn hot! When you are overheated, of course you tend to sweat more all over and this can be a nightmare for pole. Take regular, short breaks, open the windows, switch on a fan and try to REDUCE your temperature to something more comfortable, but without cooling down of course as this may encourage injuries and soreness. And of course, keep a grip aid to hand.
Maybe you’re just a bit of a sweaty Betty? That’s ok – happens to the best of us! Some people can suffer from terrible nerves about trying a new move or just being near the pole can cause the palms to go clammy. Which is a total bummer.
WASH YOUR HANDS: Sounds so basic but it’s true. Clean and dry your hands as often as you can before and during your session.
USE SPECIALIST ANTI-PERSPRIRANT: There is a product we can use which ISN’T actually a grip aid, but acts as an anti-perspirant which you apply around half an hour BEFORE polling called ‘Tight Grip’. You can then double up with your favourite grip aid afterwards if you’re extra sweaty.
Again, check out different pole widths before you buy a pole for your home to make sure you get the best equipment for YOUR pole use.
TRY GLOVES: You could always try using gloves if the situation is really bad. Mighty Grip do a range of pole dance gloves and they serve different purposes – for a strong, tacky grip – try pvc gloves, but these are not great for spinning as they rip quite easily with the friction, in which case try leather ones. You can find these on ebay, or ask your pole instructor if she sells them, she may even have a pair for you to try.
TRY CHALKS: Basic climbing chalk can be a useful tool for sweaty hands too. This doesn’t have to be a specialist pole brand (although they are generally better as they have been developed for pole dance).
Chalk is used by climbers to help them stick to rock faces, but it’s also great for helping you stick to your pole. Climbing shops sell chalk in blocks, as balls and as a liquid.
Liquid chalk is the best for pole dancing as you won’t have any problems with dust. Just rub a little on your hands (or thighs) and allow it to dry before jumping back on your pole! Be careful not to use too much liquid chalk, or you’ll end up with unsightly white patches on your skin.
ALCOHOL PRODUCTS: A quick wipe with alcohol or acetone (nail polish remover) will really dry your hands. Just make sure you don’t get too much on your skin – put a dash of liquid on a towel and then use that to rub your hands.
Alcohol is really good for cleaning your pole too, followed by a dry towel. Vertical Leisure recommend that you don’t use acetone to clean your X-Poles, so only use that on your hands.
You can buy acetone from any Boots or Superdrug store, and you should be able to find cheap gin in any good booze shop!
Having trouble holding your leg grips even though you can pull it off in class? The good news is … it’s probably NOT your pole. The bad news is … it’s probably YOU!
DON’T USE MOISTURISER: On your skin WHEN you pole. On the day of pole class, or the day of your pole practise session, avoid this like the plague. Any oils or lotions on your skin are going to rub off on the pole and make it a nightmare to grip the pole with. However …
DO MOISTURISE: Yeah … I know this sounds like conflicting advice, but DO moisturise AFTER your sessions to keep your skin supple.
Dry chalky skin doesn’t grip the pole well at all. If you have come to class and are really dry though, you CAN use some pole specific moisturisers to aid your grip, like Dew Point. Personally I don’t like the way it feels on my skin – it feels a bit like I bumped into a sweaty person and it’s rubbed off all over my skin (iiieeewwww) BUT it does kill the dryness, makes my legs tacky enough to grip with, without being all slimy on the pole.
The other thing I have found effective (credit to Robyn Rooke from 360 Pole Studio in Bristol for this one), then only moisturiser that CAN be used on the day of pole (and sparingly) is …
WARM UP PROPERLY: Another important tip is to warm up properly. It’s no good having a nice warm room and a nice warm pole if you are freezing. It’s also generally believed that warming up the body before exercise helps prevent injury and muscle soreness.
LEAVE YOUR HAIR ALONE: Try not to be constantly fiddling with your hair when you pole, hair product is easily transferred onto your hands, which then ends up on the pole. When you mean business, tie it back, and when you want to sex things up – swish it, flick it , roll it around and let it fall seductively!
Experiment with grip aids
Luckily, I am a dinosaur and have had a lot of years to experiment with various pole grip products that are on the market.
Although I try to avoid them generally, when you’re struggling, they do the job really well and there is so much choice now that there seems to be a product for every occasion!
I have listed the ones I’ve tried and what I think about them in another post called ‘Grip Aids‘.