eek One – Pole
Ok, so I was super excited and nervous to attend my first pole class, but as soon as I stepped into the studio, that all melted away, everyone made me feel incredibly welcome (I was the only guy attending the class and felt a bit intimidated, everyone else looked very confident and like they’d been doing pole for a while).
We started off with some stretching to warm up and I am not the most co-ordinated or spatially aware person you’ll meet (I walk into door frames in my own house on the regular and anyone who has seen me dance will tell you I move like a baby giraffe!), but by following my instructor, the absolutely brilliant Hannah Rose Kaynes, I was soon feeling comfortable and suitably warmed up.
We were split into two groups, absolute newbies and people who had already attended two to three classes. There were six of us in my newbie group and we all paired off to share a pole.
Hannah started by showing us a Step Around, with the proper form and hand positioning. The first time I stepped around the pole I laughed out loud at myself, it felt incredibly weird, but also a hell of a lot of fun! Everyone was very encouraging and friendly, giving me pointers on what I was doing and congratulating me on getting it after just a few tries.
After training both sides for about 15 minutes, Hannah moved us on to an Attitude spin. Now, I had been critiqued for taking my feet off the floor earlier when learning the step around but told it would serve me well later, well with the Attitude spin I now understood! The positioning of the leg that doesn’t contact with the pole in this move felt very weird to me (read cramps), but after a few tries off the pole with everyone else in the group and then a couple more on the pole on both sides, it felt pretty natural.
We moved on to the Fan Kick as the last thing to be learned that night. Again, we practised the leg movements on the floor as a group before trying it out on the pole. This didn’t come naturally to me, but after a few tries and then thinking “screw it, just go for it” I got it! The inevitable “point your toes Joey” was raised at this point in the lesson by Hannah and again I laughed out loud! But once I did it, I was complimented on what a lovely point I have (major confidence booster there, thanks Hannah!).
Finally, we tied all three things we had learnt together, which was immensely satisfying. The progression you can make in just one lesson and see the results of what you have learned straight away is very gratifying, a completely different experience to any gym workout I have tried before.
A few more stretches before the class finished and we were done! I must admit, I ached for a day or so afterwards, but I totally expected this after not having done anything in the gym or at home for so long, but honestly, the aches reminded me that I had actually gotten off my butt and left the Netflix binging to do something.
All in all, it was so much fun and such a welcoming and friendly space, I cannot wait for the next class, we’re going to be learning climbing!
Also, big thanks to Dion for such a warm welcome and a lovely chat post class about this project!
Week One – Aerial Hoop
So after ‘breaking my cherry’ and attending my first pole class on Monday, I didn’t feel nearly so intimidated walking into the Aerial Attic for my first aerial hoop class!
Again, everyone was super friendly and easy going. My instructor for this class was the lovely Ellie Pickersgill, who I have worked with on quite a few events and exhibitions, so I felt at ease as soon as we started.
That was until we started our conditioning, but I’ll get to that in a moment! Ellie warmed us up with plenty of stretches to make sure we were nice and limber for the lesson. I must admit, I did break a bit of a sweat, but found it easier to follow after having done Hannah’s warm up on Monday.
Then we started our conditioning; honestly, after pole on Monday, I was absolutely buzzing all Monday night and most of Tuesday, until the aches started. Coughing or sneezing from Tuesday night to Wednesday evening was a game of Russian Roulette with the result being a painful twinge in my abdominal area! Once we had gone through one or two conditioning sets, I instantly felt better (the pole aches died down and were replaced with some new aches!).
I could really feel the work I was putting in with the hoop conditioning, especially around my shoulders, chest, back and core.
After that, we moved on to our first move in the hoop; Splits Away. To me, this instantly felt like I had achieved something in the class, a great feeling!
The next move was Man In The Moon, which I have to say was my favourite thing I learned in the lesson so far. I’ve seen this move so many times on social media and even though I found it relatively simple to achieve, it always looks fairly impressive to me, because when someone is doing it, they really “look at home” in the hoop.
Lastly, Ellie took me through the Gazelle, which was my least favourite, for two reasons; it felt a little uncomfortable for me (maybe when my flexibility improves, I’ll like it more!) and secondly because I didn’t feel like I truly ‘nailed’ it as a move (there’s always next week!).
After that, a quick warm down for injury prevention and that was the end of my first Aerial Hoop class. I enjoyed it immensely, just like the pole class, but for different reasons.
The slower pace of the hoop class was very different to me and the focus on the upper body strength really appealed as I could feel my muscles being worked there and then, whereas with the pole class, I definitely broke a sweat but didn’t feel it until the next day.
The one thing they both had in common for me was a great feeling afterwards and a real sense of achieving something.
I’m incredibly glad I signed myself up to this project and cannot wait to get to week two!
Joey heads up the UK and European marketing efforts for X-POLE (www.x-pole.co.uk). He is a career marketer, with previous experience at some of the biggest global brands and award winning marketing agencies. His expertise stretches across creative strategy, digital marketing, public relations and marketing communications.