At first, setting up a pole at home for practice might sound daunting. But during the first lockdown, with no reopening date in sight for dance studios, lots of us took on the challenge!
Take part in any of London Dance Academy’s online pole classes and you will see that every student has a different set up, each with its own unique challenges and restrictions. It’s proof that where there’s a will, there’s a way!
If you are thinking of buying a home pole for the uncertain period ahead – and beyond – the first thing you need to look at is the brand. X Pole and Lupit Pole are the industry standard, tried and tested options, if you are in the UK. X Pole are based on the outskirts of London, so delivery is generally very quick, whereas Lupit ships from Slovenia, so you might have to be more patient for your pole to arrive. We strongly recommend sticking to these two brands as we cannot vouch for the safety of anything else you might find on Google. Generally, you get what you pay for, so it’s worth saving up.
The next thing to decide on is the most suitable pole model for your home and space. Space wise, you should be able to walk all around the pole, with one hand on the pole and both arms outstretched, without hitting anything, or you run the risk of being quite restricted with your movements – especially with spinning pole, where you can’t plan your angles.
A lot of students get pressure mounted removable poles – that is, ones that run from floor to ceiling – but there are quite a few things to consider before putting one of these up, especially if you are in rented accommodation. It’s best to attach these poles to the part of your ceiling which contains a beam, as this is the strongest part.
You can check for beams by knocking on different parts of the ceiling – if it sounds hollow, it is probably not strong enough for a pressure mounted pole. If it sounds solid, you have most likely found the beam or a sturdy enough spot to support the pole. A more reliable way to find the beams is by using a studfinder, a handy wall and ceiling scanning device that can be purchased for around £10 – £15 online. If you have a “false ceiling”, or cannot locate any beams in your ceiling, it is probably best to investigate other options. Likewise, it is not recommended to get a pressure mounted pole if you have a ceiling height of over 3370mm. For most other ceiling heights under this, X Pole or Lupit Pole should have the right sized extension for you. These are sometimes sold separately from the main kits if it’s an unusual height, but don’t worry as specific extensions and parts don’t cost very much generally.
The other most common option is a stage pole – X Pole’s new Lite version is very popular in particular. Stage poles do not attach at the ceiling so they can go pretty much anywhere with flat flooring, even outdoors! The stage plates and frame are heavy enough to secure the pole in place without the top attachment. They are a good investment if you are ever planning on performing in the future, as you can set them up in most spaces. There are some disadvantages to stage poles however – there is some wobbling where they are not secured at the ceiling. This is usually not too noticeable lower down the pole, but if you are doing power moves very high up – they come with 3.2m high extensions as standard – this can be disconcerting.
At the other end of the scale, if you have a low ceiling you can expect to lose a bit of useable pole space with a stage pole. This is because the podium itself takes up a couple of inches at the bottom, and you need a gap at the top between the pole and the ceiling. Finally, the plates and frame parts are very, very heavy, so if you live in an apartment at the top of several stairs with no lift, you will need to employ your strongest friends to get all the parts up! However, the X Stage does come with a rolling carrier case so you can transport it on flat ground a bit more easily.
Although the stage pole and pressure mounted poles both come with their own pros and cons, they are both suitable for rented property if set up properly! Most versions from both Lupit and X Pole can switch between static and spinning modes, just like in the London Dance Academy Studios.
The two last things to decide on are material and width. Our Studio 1 and 2 poles at London Dance Academy are 42mm size in stainless steel, whereas the Studio 3 poles are 45mm size in chrome.
If you have smaller hands, you will find you will probably prefer 42mm for grip or hands only moves. However, only Lupit, not X Pole offers this width. Most pole brands will offer the 45mm size, and this is usually the width of the poles at competitions – something to keep in mind if you would like to compete in the future! If you are used to our 42mm poles, you might find that leg grip moves such as layback will feel easier, but you will need to get used to the wider hands grip before attempting true grip handsprings or similar. You may find yourself reaching for more grip aids on a wider pole. If you really struggle with this size, many poles are available in 40mm too. There is also a 50mm option, but most people hate this size as it is too wide for the average hand grip to feel really secure.
In terms of materials, chrome and stainless steel are the most common choices. They are fairly similar to perform on, however you might find that chrome takes slightly longer to warm up and become “grippy”, and more slippery in humid conditions. If you have sensitive skin, particularly to nickel and other metals, stainless steel is a safer choice for you.
In Australia, brass poles are very common and they are available to purchase in the UK too. They are generally more grippy in hot climates, but they are less durable and come at a higher price. You will also see silicon poles – usually used for Chinese style pole or poling in clothes – and powder coated poles, which come in pretty colours but can actually be too grippy for most people and can cause burns with moves like drops.
Don’t worry if you don’t have the perfect set up for a home pole. As long as you are safe in terms of installation, it is really still worth having one when in isolation, quarantine or lockdown because you can keep your conditioning up – that counts for skin grip tolerance as well as strength! Even if you have restricted height or space around you, there are always new moves that can be learnt.
Whatever you decide we are there for you to offer support & help.
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