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I’ve been plus-sized pretty much most of my life. While it was something I was shy (and even embarrassed about) when I was younger, by the end of my 20s into my 30s I was all about embracing what I had instead of covering up.
Even so, I was taken a little by surprise when one of my friends gave me a gift certificate for pole dancing classes for one of my birthdays. I was all about embracing myself and what I had, but pole dancing wasn’t something I was quite sure about.
I found myself wondering, “Can you pole dance if you’re plus-size”?
Yes, you absolutely can pole dance as a plus-size woman. The extra skin that us curvy girls carry around actually helps with gripping in certain positions, making some moves easier. Plus, there are tons of benefits as far as flexibility and strength and pole dancing boosts your confidence and makes you feel sexy.
Now, let’s take a closer look at all the reasons you can (and should) pole dance as a plus-size woman. We’ll also go over some benefits and I’ll give you some tips I’ve learned as a curvy woman who has taken pole dancing classes.
Can You Pole Dance if You’re Plus-Size?
It would only take a quick search on Instagram, Youtube, or Tiktok to see that yes, you absolutely can pole dance if you’re a curvy woman. Not only are these plus-size women moving around the pole, but they also look hot while they do it. That could be you too, with a little practice!
People of body shapes and sizes can pole dance with the right instruction. It’s important to remember that pole dancing is like anything else that you might try- especially when you’re bigger. While it can be intimidating to start and most things have a learning curve, you can do things like hula hoop, dance, and even do gymnastics when you’re fat.
Something that’s great about pole dancing is that it’s easy to build up different skills with time and practice. It doesn’t require a lot of fitness, but some of the moves do require strength! Fortunately, it’s easy to build up those muscles as you go and as you can see from this video, there are plenty of moves that curvaceous beginners can start with.
Something else you’ll notice in this video is a great attitude and a willingness to laugh. While there might be a few things that you can’t do your first time around, there’s no harm in trying. Plus, pole dancing helps build strength over time so you’ll be able to do those moves eventually if you work at it!
Are There Plus-Size Exotic Dancers?
There really isn’t a weight limit for exotic dancing and yes, there absolutely are plus-size exotic dancers. Preferences about body type really vary from person to person- we all like what we like. There are many clubs that employ plus-size exotic dancers and there are even a few clubs (like those in Houston or Los Angeles) that only hire curvaceous women to dance.
Not only are plus-size exotic dancers out there, but you can even find classes in some areas that cater especially to the bigger, bolder woman. Unlike classes that are one-size-fits-all, these classes are designed just for plus-size ladies and teach you how to use your muscle groups to your benefit. Like I mentioned earlier, there are certain grips that are just better for the bigger body, and knowing these grips actually gives you an advantage over some positions that smaller women try to do.
Is There a Weight Limit for Pole Dancing?
No, there isn’t a weight limit for pole dancing. Dancing poles are considered sports equipment just like paddle boards, bicycles, yoga balls, and other types of equipment. While there are weight limits for dancing poles, it varies based on how the manufacturer designed it.
The average dancing pole holds as much as 300-400 pounds, but there are many designed to hold higher weight capacities. I’ve even seen poles that support over 1,000+ pounds.
How Do I Learn Pole Dancing As a Plus-Size Woman?
As a plus-size woman, one of the greatest challenges you’ll have is learning how your body works best on the pole. For example, when it came to using my legs, I found that it was harder to use my knee for some of the positions where I had to hold my weight up, but when it came to using my thighs all that extra skin gaveme an advantage.
I’ve also noticed that while I built upper body strength over the course of the class, my leg muscles and core muscles were actually pretty strong when I started out. Fat people are generally strong and it gave me a lot of leverage for the leg positions. I also quickly learned we can be pretty flexible, too!
While taking a class was a little embarrassing at first, I was a little bolder by the time I had seen other plus-sized ladies rocking it in class. I really liked the hands-on instruction and seeing everything happen in real-time. There are plenty of videos on YouTube that you could use to learn from, too!
As I mentioned earlier, there are benefits and drawbacks to having a more curvy body for pole dancing. If you do use videos or attend a class, finding one that caters especially to the plus-sized body will be the most helpful as far as instruction. Plus, it’s easier to feel more confident when you’re looking at a bunch of beautiful, sexy women that look just like you!
Benefits of Pole Dancing When You’re Curvy
With all the movement that goes along with pole dancing, it’s no surprise that there are a lot of health benefits. Moving around the pole is just as effective as any other type of workout. Pole dancing is even on the watchlist to be recognized as a sport by the Global Association of International Sports Federations (which could mean that the GAISF sets rules and oversees large pole dancing competitions). Let’s take a look at some of the benefits.
Pole Dancing Builds Confidence and Makes You Feel Sexy
Let’s be real- you probably won’t feel confident and sexy at the beginning of your first class. After a class or two though, as you learn what your body is really capable of, odds are you’ll start feeling that confidence. (I’ve even thought about getting a pole to practice at home after all the fun of learning in class!)
Something that’s nice about pole dancing is that it is a great community with women who are supportive of one another. While there are always a few rotten people in each bunch, generally speaking, people of all body sizes are accepted and encouraged to participate. It’s all about empowerment!
Pole Dancing Improves Flexibility, Strength, and Stamina
Odds are you’re going to be a little sore after your first few pole dancing classes, especially if you aren’t used to using those muscles. Pole dancing is a full-body workout. As you bend and twist, you’re improving flexibility and range of motion. Don’t worry if you can’t do this as much at first- the more you work at it, the more flexible you will become!
Like I mentioned earlier, moves that required upper body strength were really the hardest for me to start with. However, I did find luck by using other parts of my body for leverage and I had quite a bit of core strength and leg muscles when I started. These are definitely something that built up over the course of the class and as I learned how to best use my body shape to give me leverage on the pole!
As far as stamina, I can say that I definitely was out of breath by the end of my first class. Even though the moves got easier with time, it was still a workout! Plus, the research shows that pole dancing at even an intermediate level is physically demanding enough to keep up with the recommended amount of cardiorespiratory fitness!
Pole Dancing is a Great Way to Make Friends
I won’t tell you that you’ll walk boldly into your first pole dancing class and start chatting up the women there. Chances are, they are beginners too and something like a pole dancing class can make people feel awkward or embarrassed.
After the initial embarrassment fades and everyone starts learning the moves that work best for their body, though, it’s easy to make friends with some confident, curvaceous women that are just like you. For me, I find it’s really reaffirming to see people with my body type doing things I’ve always wanted to do, but have perhaps been a little intimidated by.
How Should I Dress for a Plus-Size Pole Dancing Class?
While lingerie makes you feel confident and sexy, it probably isn’t appropriate for your first pole dancing class. Instead, go for workout gear that is supportive (and even sexy). Remember that with pole dancing, a lot of the moves require you to show skin because it helps you “stick” to the pole.
Showing skin isn’t something curvy girls are always comfortable with (even though you can definitely rock that crop top if you want to!), but it really is essential for a lot of pole dancing moves. However, that doesn’t mean you have to bare it all if you aren’t comfortable- just be sure the high-contact points like your arms, thighs, and legs are showing. You can even change once you’re already at class or wear your workout gear under your normal clothes.
Also, while there’s nothing wrong with wearing some heels that have good support, it’s also okay to pole dance in tennis shoes or even barefoot. You should do whatever makes you most comfortable. Comfort and functionality (not style) are really what matter most when you’re trying to learn.
Finally, you’ll want to address sweat before your class. Everyone sweats during these classes, but plus-sized people do sweat a little more. Sweat can make you slip off the pole, so you’ll probably want to use a product that helps you stick a little bit better.
There are products made especially for helping people stick to the pole and preventing different kinds of slips (which can happen from the skin being too dry or from sweating too much). Some people even use dish soap or shaving cream. It’s all about what works best for your skin type and why you’re having trouble sticking to the pole.
Curvy women can and should pole dance. Even though it can be a little intimidating, it’s really a great way to work out and it’s incredible for building confidence. That’s especially true once you really see how many plus-size women are out there looking sexy and confident as they do their routine on the dance pole.
Hopefully, this article has done its part in convincing you to get out there. There’s really no substitute for the confidence you feel once you learn what your body is capable of and how sexy you look while doing it.