Pole fitness is pretty hard work. The most difficult move that I’ve accomplished, so far, is a layback. Now, it sounds pretty simple; just lie vertically against the pole and hope that gravity doesn’t catch you out, right? Yeah, okay, it doesn’t sound easy, and for good reason – it isn’t.
Pole has always trained and tested every muscle group imaginable, but in this one move you test your grip, thigh muscles, hip action, abs (as if I have any), arm strength, and pure co-ordination. It also really tests your pain threshold and endurance so… Pole is not for the weak-willed. I’ll go through the layback action, step by step, so you can really understand just how tough this move is.
- Start by sitting on the pole – grip as tight as you can with your upper thighs and sit with your legs outstretched, one ankle crossed over the other
- Slowly lift your legs up – as your legs come up (still straight) your torso should come down, with your tailbone resting against the pole. Bring your hands as close to your groin as possible
- Release – once your arms are stretched out, and your head is definitively under your butt, release your hands. I find the best way is to bring my hands all along my torso, then they touch the ground in the perfect position
If you’re confident enough, you can just hang from here, carrying all your weight with your legs, and counting on your endurance to pull you through. I managed it for about 3 seconds until my thighs screamed and I had to rest my hands on the floor. The slow slip down to the floor was also pretty painful, but I made it through. Here’s a top tip – don’t climb too high or you won’t reach the floor and, well, let’s just say I may have panicked slightly…
From a layback, you can do all manner of cool things – handstands, headstands, inversions. It’s all in your hands! Well… Thighs… But more than anything, laybacks have shown me how strong I can be. I’m not just some girly girl twirling around a pole to show off – I’m a goddamn athlete and I have trained so that I can endure. I am strong. Are you?