The hilarious hazards of taking up pole dancing as a sport

Lou Blair’s workout of choice isn’t your regular spin class. Here she shares the pros and cons of swinging on a pole.

Image from World of Pole in Blacktown, Sydney

Pole dancing is an incredible sport – more and more people now appreciate it for the art-form it really is. It’s difficult, skilful and requires a lot of strength and determination. Most people who have ever tried taking pole dancing classes feel like they’re in the best shape of your life – and have fun doing it too.

Dance studios are a community of strong, confident women (and men!), who empower each other to push their bodies to the limits and appreciate all shapes and sizes. The tricks that you learn can be seriously impressive, which can lead to a number of unusual injuries that the average person doesn’t come across.

I asked a bunch of dancers to share some some of the crazy – but common – injuries that can happen when you’re hanging upside down:

Bruises. So. Many. Bruises

“When I first started pole, I tried to cover my bruises by wearing long sleeve shirts or long pants, or applying tonnes of tiger balm to get rid of them. After all these years, it is just the norm.”

For those learning how to pole dance, bruises become a fact of life. They seem to appear EVERYWHERE, and they can be brutal.

Point in case: “I currently have a bruised inside of my belly button from a workshop. Yep… INSIDE my belly button. Don’t even know how that is possible.”

Eventually your skin toughens up and you no longer bruise in that particular area, but every time you learn a new trick the painful process begins again. Most people would be surprised by just how unsexy learning how to pole dance can be – there’s always at least one girl who will drop to the ground swearing, hold herself in pain and try to fight the tears away after trying a new move.

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Permanent battle scars

Burst veins on the top your foot, that lead to permanent bruising.

Forearms where your dominant arm is noticeably bigger than the other.

Calluses on the palms of your hand that rival the most hard core weight lifters.


Some moves lead to marks that just seem to never go away. And boy, do they prove to be difficult to explain to others!

“I’ve had patients ask me what the arm bruises are from when they were visible under my uniform. Trying to explain to a 90-year-old they are from pole dancing is always hilariously awkward.”

Carpet burns on your knees

…but not for the reasons you think. A lot of routines involve floor work in between tricks – anything from pretty and graceful backwards rolls, to super sexy body rolls along the floor. Unfortunately this can leave your knees a bit raw and bruised – office workers usually need to invest in a cute midi during summer to avoid the banter (or rumours).

And it doesn’t always appear on just the knees! “I’ve had a few lovely red burns on my groin,” said one pole dancing enthustiast.

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Other hazards

Awkward costume fails

Rolling your ankle in your seven-inch platform heels.

Cuts on your bikini line from sequin costumes.

Wedgies (back and front).

And, of course, wardrobe malfunctions. The tiny costumes are there to make dancers look sensual and sexy, but the practical reason that pole dancers wear minimal clothing is so they can grip onto the pole. A lot of moves involve close contact with your private parts near or on the pole… this leads to endless opportunities for costume fails. Embarrassing, and usually painful. (They don’t call a move the “fanny burn” for nothing.)

And for the male pole dancers..

“I’ve squished my… a few times trying some moves. Now I know what moves I have to stay away from.”

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fitness | body+soul