How to improve your flexibility for pole and aerial classes

One of the most-asked questions before a customer starts pole and aerial classes is “Do I need to be flexible?”. You’ve probably seen the videos on YouTube and Instagram of people doing the most expert of routines and think there’s no chance that you could do that!

Whether you’re a performer or competitor or just take pole and aerial classes for the social and fun aspects, flexibility will ultimately allow you to try new moves and transitions. However, don’t expect to go from 0 to 100 in just one class or course!

That’s why we’ve created this guide on how to improve your flexibility for pole and aerial classes so you can have all the handy info in one spot. We’ll answer all the important questions from why flexibility is important for pole and aerial classes as well as tips on how to improve your flexibility for your pole and aerial practice!

Do I have to be flexible to start pole and aerial?

The honest answer is no, but it does help! You’ll be able to do most of the moves but if you want to achieve some of the more complex moves and transitions, you need to be flexible. Unfortunately, it’s not something that is a quick fix so it’s all about working towards it. Even if you are flexible, you can’t let up either because all it takes is a few weeks off and you lose more and more range of motion.

Of course, we’re not all built like Barbie dolls and can do the splits instantly! It takes time and determination on your part if you want to improve. It’s just a matter of fact that some people have more flexibility than others. For pole and aerial, most of it comes from your hip flexors so if you’ve never conditioned them before, you might need some extra stretching to get them warmed up and limber.

Why is flexibility so important for pole and aerial classes?

Flexibility in itself helps to keep your body in tip-top health. The more you stretch out, the less injuries you get. Staying flexible helps your muscles stay long and lean but also helps your joints too, keeping them youthful! Of course, it’s important to push yourself but not too hard because that’s when injuries happen.

Being flexible will allow you to move onto more advanced movements in class as many moves require a split in the air when moving around the pole, hoop or fabrics. You’d be surprised at how good a workout it can be too because you’re basically using every muscle below the neck to manoeuvre yourself!

How to improve your flexibility for pole and aerial classes

Whilst every body is different, there are some tricks that we can all do to get more flexible or maintain it. Whether you’re a newbie or you’ve been attending classes for years, flexibility is something 99% of us have to work on regularly!

Take part in a flex class

We think this is the best (and usually safest) way to improve your flexibility, especially if you have little to no dance, gymnastic or fitness background. Our flex classes have been specifically designed for our students taking part in pole and aerial classes because we know which moves require different types of flexibility.

Your instructors have been in your shoes before and are sure to have tips on each stretch you do in class. They’ll be able to guide you through them as well as help to improve your posture and check that your body is positioned correctly.

Stretch in your own time

When you’ve been to a handful of flex classes, you can use that knowledge to spend time stretching at home on your own. Of course, we still recommend you go to your flex classes but it can help you progress even quicker when you can stretch at home too.

Make sure you’re warm enough because stretching when cold is a big no-no. Tag your stretches onto the end of a workout or just do a few jumping jacks! If you want to advance quickly, you’ll need to stretch both day and night.

Invest in some equipment

Once you’ve got into a regular routine with pole and aerial classes, the next step is to have some extra equipment to aid your fitness journey. Dumbbells, ankle weights, resistance bands, mini bands, yoga blocks, massage balls, and foam rollers are all items that are great to have in your mini gym area at home.

We recommend sticking with classes for at least three to six months before building your own home gym because otherwise, you’ll have wasted a lot of money. Many of these items are fairly inexpensive but build up your stash slowly. When working on your flexibility, ankle weights, resistance bands and yoga blocks are probably the most important items. However, getting yourself a massage ball and a foam roller are perfect for using straight after class!

Learn how to rest and recover

If there’s one thing we love to teach our students, it’s that you need to look after your body. Especially if you’re new to pole fitness or aerial classes, your body won’t be ready to go to a class every day of the week. However, by resting and recovering, we don’t just mean lying on the sofa (although we do approve this!).

Active rest and recovery means looking after yourself outside of class. From walking or yoga on rest days to staying hydrated and maintaining a healthy diet, your daily habits become crucial to help you improve on the equipment. It might seem common sense but you only have one body so make sure you look after it!

The night after a class or the following day are the most important for recovery. Treat yourself to a hot bath with some epsom salts, reduce any bruises with an ice pack, and look after your skin with lots of moisturiser. Let’s face it, when we look good, we feel good, so look after yourself on the outside as well as the inside.

Consistency is key

You won’t get flexible by attending one flex class and us never seeing you again. Consistency is the key to getting (and staying) flexible. As we said earlier, you need to be stretching daily at home eventually to maintain your flexibility whilst also attending your regular classes and flex classes.

Warming up your muscles before you do any exercise is important but especially in a pole or aerial class. We always add a warm-up portion in our classes but you’re welcome to warm up before getting to class. Even walking around the studio or up and down the stairs counts! Don’t forget to cool down after class too. This is the best time to try those static stretches, such as yoga poses and splits. Your body will be at its warmest after a full workout class!

Understand your limits

You know your body best so whilst we want you to stretch yourself (sometimes, quite literally), we don’t want you to pull a muscle or get any other injury during a class! It’s natural to compare yourself to others online or at the studio but remember, everyone goes on their own journey with pole and aerial classes.

That’s why we set up the Momentum Method for complete beginners because everyone in class will be in the same boat. We’d never suggest you start with an advanced class so this course has been designed for newbies to all start their pole fitness classes together. Over the 12 weeks, you’ll discover just how strong and supple your body actually is, performing movies you never thought possible at the very start! It’s where most of our students start off before progressing into intermediate and advanced classes.

If this post has you intrigued about pole fitness classes or aerial classes, please get in touch today to start your own journey. We have a range of classes across Cheltenham and Gloucester and we’d love to have you as part of the Momentum family!