Jennifer Lopez and Shakira had us all floored with their awesome Super Bowl halftime show on Sunday.
The outfits, the abs and the hip-shaking performances were just a few of the talking points, but our favourite moment had to be J.Lo’s gravity-defying, pole-dancing stint.
The 50-year-old singer shimmied up and down a slowly spinning pole before impressively lifting her body into various poses while belting out her hits.
The move was likely a nod to her Hustlers film character, Ramona, who was introduced by performing at a strip club in nowt but a glittery unitard.
Featuring pole dancing on such a mainstream platform could also be an indication of its recent surge in popularity.
Because having shrugged off its stereotypes, people are slowly coming to realise pole dancing is a brilliant way to keep fit.
It’s a complete body workout
Pole dancing offers a unique way to combine of dance, athleticism, movement and acrobatics.
“Pole is a great all over body workout,” explains Alison Hudd the owner of Polepeople, London's leading pole studio. “There's a huge range of exercises and moves which work your whole body together, not as isolated movements.”
“Not only are you using your own body weight to build strength as you spin, climb and invert on the pole, but pole lifts, climbs, spins and static moves are fantastic for resistance training,” she adds.
And as you link moves together into routines, you’ll get a fantastic cardio work out too.
It makes you strong
For those keen to adopt a strong not skinny, pole dancing could be the sport for you. “Pole Dancing strengthens the muscles in your whole body,” Hudd explains. “People first notice their Upper Body Strength improving dramatically, but as you progress and do more advanced inverts and tricks, you’ll be more aware of the impact pole has on your entire body, particularly your core.”
It’s great for flexibility
Hudd says using your body to the extremes of its range is great for developing flexibility. “Pole Moves often need you to use your muscles at their full range of motion, which increases their flexibility,” she explains.
“Linking moves together also develops coordination and grace,” she adds.
It’s an accomplishment
As you progress and learn new moves, Hudd says pole dancers get a very real and tangible sense of achievement. “People start to do things they never thought they'd be able to which gives them a real boost,” she explains.
“They also feel proud of the progress they’ve made, and there's always a new challenge.”
It’s great for your wellbeing
As well as the physical benefits, the sport is also helping to improve the mental wellbeing of it’s advocates.
When you’re stressed your body builds up adrenaline but an intense pole dancing session will help encourage your body to start producing endorphins, the hormone associated with feelings of euphoria, which in turn will help you feel less stressed.
It’s a confidence booster
According to Hudd there’s something uniquely empowering about pole dancing. “Whether its the strength and power you get from pole practice, the owning of your sensuality if you like sensuous pole choreography, or the buzz you get from achieving new moves, people are always telling us how pole has increased their confidence,” she says.
It’s good for your heart health
Like any form of moderate-to-intense aerobic exercise, pole dancing has ample benefits for your heart health, promoting blood flow thanks to the fact that all muscles are being engaged.
Hudd describes pole dancing as a climbing frame for grown ups. And there are fitness benefits to that: “People say they’re having so much fun they don’t notice how hard they are working!” she explains.
“Enjoyment is shown to be one of the biggest factors for enabling people to get fit. If you leave your fitness class buzzing and feeling amazing, then its easy to make it through the cold and the rain to your next class!”
Everyone can do it
Never stepped foot in a gym? This could be the fitness choice for you. “Pole appeals to all fitness types, ages, sexes,” Hudd says.
“If you're a dancer or already into fitness, you’ll love the range of moves and incredible strength and mobility it gives you. If you hate the gym, you'll love the different vibe and fun element of pole classes.”
Another benefit of pole for fitness is that eveyone can progress at their own rate.
“Once you have the basics, there are a whole range of different styles and classes you can try,” Hudd adds. “Maybe you like the tricks and fitness moves or maybe you like the more sensual dance styles of pole.”
You don’t need much kit
Forget forking out for a whole new workout wardrobe, Hudd says all you need is a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. “Although you can start off wearing leggings, bare legs help you grip the pole when you start climbing and inverting.”
And leave out the after-shower moisturiser if you don’t want to slide off the pole completely.