By Paola Bassanese
Invigorated by the London Olympics, we are all feeling inspired to try a new sport. Although pole fitness classes may not be an Olympic sport (yet!), they are a great way to get fit and healthy.
I recently started a pilot scheme launched by dancer Nicola Cher Geismar, aptly called “NCG Street Pole Classes – The Experiment”. Street Pole classes are about athleticism, working your core, being strong and stylish. And it’s all outdoors so you need plenty of oomph and confidence as people will be staring!
Nicola’s Street Pole Method aims to create stylised shapes by building strong core muscles, arms and legs. Therefore this is a great fitness class for toning your body; combined with a cardio regime (Nicola suggested running, swimming or dancing) it can help you lose weight and look leaner.
Nicola’s classes are suitable for people at various fitness levels: you don’t have to be an athlete and even wobbly people like me can join in and benefit from the workout. Each move is broken down into easy to understand steps and there’s plenty of Pilates-based exercises to build your strength and flexibility.
I found the training fun and effective and all my muscles were aching the following day (I should say “days”). You also get a great sense of accomplishment. Nicola has a warm and encouraging approach: she talks about “feeling the sparkle” in your muscles and she ensures all the exercises are performed correctly. Nicola says: “The focus with NCG Street Pole is more on working with isometric contractions of the body” which aims at strengthening and toning the muscles. The approach builds on progression so over the course of a few weeks you will be able to perform some Street Pole shapes confidently.
I was also lucky to be part of a dedicated and passionate group of people, some of whom have a dancing or pole dancing background. I would say, having done street jazz dancing, yoga and Pilates before, that you would find the classes easier if you have practised Pilates before.
Watch out Londoners: a new generation of street athletes is born and is coming to a street near you!