Actually Useful and Realistic Gym Advice

We are so totally at ease in the pole and aerial studio. Gym however, often a very different story!

Lots of us who pole, or do aerial hoop, silks or other inverted disciplines and aerial circus, do really actually fully want to go to the gym.

Not just to cross-train, or up our cardio fitness, but often also to give some attention to areas we feel might be a bit weaker and could do with a workout to boost performance on the pole and in the air.

Let us fix your gym anxiety with a couple of super quick and simple pointers that will make you feel more comfortable on the gym floor, AND boost your pole and aerial performance at the same time!

Will I ever feel comfy in the weights area?


Firstly by knowing you’re not alone and pretty much everyone feels either:

1, totally overwhelmed with options and therefore just doing a random mix of exercises.


2, has no idea what to do and therefore doing nothing in the weights room or machines and opting for cardio only.

Hands up if you have wasted hours in the gym, doing weird exercises, or just feeling like a fish out of water because WTF do you do with all this heavy stuff that’s lying around?

While there are group fitness classes, such as Crossfit, or strength and conditioning circuits, most of us will face going to the gym solo or with a mate who’s just as out of their depth as we are. So we end up in the weights area, at the squat rack, the glute machine or the leg press and have absolutely no idea how and where to start so we retreat to the treadmills or the StairMaster before never going again lol!

What to focus on?

The approach that I suggest for strength gains that transform your pole and aerial ability is actually quite straightforward and does not have to be hugely complicated. In actual fact, just keep it simple but effective!

Focus on the five main compound lifts:

– Deadlift

– Squat

– Shoulder press

– Bench press

– Pull Ups

You can absolutely work variations of these to your heart’s content.

You can also do accessory exercises if you want to.

You can do them on machines or free weights, and in any order (although a little bit of a mix is good so you have a full body sesh rather than a bro sesh lol).

What numbers should I pay attention to?

Sets of 3-5, with a rep range of anything between 5 and 12, depending on how heavy you wanna lift, how you’re feeling, what’s available on the day, all cool.

Again, don’t stress about the minutiae.

The great thing is that the five main lifts hit all the big muscle groups, work your pushing and pulling strength, work your core without having to do sit ups or planks, and are time efficient.

5-10 minute warm up, half an hour to 40 mins of deadlifting, benching and a few pull ups, have a little stretch off for 5 minutes. Bish bash bosh, in and out in under an hour.

I think we often get gym anxiety because we feel we need to look like we know what we are doing. Or that everyone will see we are new and inexperienced at weight lifting.

No one looks at the number on your barbell and I would argue that before you get too sucked in on how heavy you’re lifting, think of how well you’re lifting and the overall progression curve in your ability to lift better for longer!

We also feel like we have to use every single machine to get an effective workout in, or spend at least 90 minutes pumping iron for it to be worth it. And yet. More isn’t always more.

Indeed, simpler is more. Effective is more. Focussing on the 5 compound lifts is more 🙂

You’re going to see much better yields in strength and power by stripping it back and doing fewer exercises consistently and with intention 🙂

When will I see results?

Gym gains are the same as pole and aerial gains, so the message stands:

Consistency over intensity.

Better to lift once a week doing a full body sesh than 4 times a week for 3 weeks and then burning out and giving up!

If you’re consistent you will start to feel a difference in your pole and aerial trainings from about 6 weeks of squatting, benching, deadlifting, shoulder pressing, and pull up fun. Promise!

Also remember, it’s always ok to ask for help!

Ready to get some feel good from class?