Bruising is a common problem, particularly for people you who have just started pole dancing. Unfortunately it’s almost inevitable – unlike most sports, pole dancing relies substantially on soft parts of the body that aren’t designed for heavy use, and that don’t have a nice layer of toughened skin and tissue to shield them.
Luckily bruising decreases as you get better at pole dancing, and the tips here should reduce the problem for you even more.
Why don’t professional pole dancers bruise?
Well, in fact they still do (and carry large supplies of cover-up makeup to prove it). It’s less of an issue though, as advanced polers have learned how to get into poses efficiently and without jarring their bodies against the pole.
Just as importantly, their bodies become more resilient to the stresses of pole work in crucial contact areas (similar to conditioning in martial arts). Their skin becomes a bit harder and the muscle underneath toughens and thickens to protect them from impacts.
How to avoid bruises when pole dancing
- Study each new move closely before you jump on the pole to try it out. What positions should your arms and legs be in? Where are the pressure points? How will you grip the pole?
- If you’re learning a spin, try walking it through slowly first. If it’s an inverted spin, practice on the ground by putting your legs around the pole and upper back on the ground.
- Take it slowly. Repeating the same move again and again is much more likely to bruise the areas you’re stressing. Alternate between moves so your body has a chance to recover.
- Try to overgrip the pole when you’re learning a new move. If you don’t hold tightly you may start to slide, and stopping again tends to bruise – and hurt – a lot more. So if in doubt, squeeze harder!
Too late! Treating your pole bruises
A lot of dancers find arnica ointment effective. Arnica is a natural product that comes in cream or tablet form, and helps the body heal by decreasing swelling and pain. Apply the cream every night after showering by rubbing it gently into the bruised areas.
If your bruising is more severe, place an ice pack on the affected area to reduce pain and swelling. Leave it on for 10-20 minutes several times a day.
If it’s not painful for you, gently massage the affected area to encourage blood flow. Avoid hot showers or baths, heat packs and alcohol at first as these can increase the swelling.
Finally – Is bruising actually a problem?
As long as you’re not talking about the look, then the short answer is no. Bruising occurs when capillaries under your skin are damaged, allowing blood to seep into the surrounding tissue. Severe bruising can happen and can be serious, but most bruises (and almost all pole-inflicted bruises) are pretty superficial and clear up quickly. Just try not to aggravate the damaged area so your body has time to repair itself.
As always, consult your doctor before beginning any new fitness routine, and whenever you have any medical questions.