House poles for dummies

There comes a time in every pole dancer’s life in which you ask yourself the question: do I put up a pole in my house? If your answer is yes, read below for my house poles for dummies guide – and believe me, I was a dummy.

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Me in the pole house – the angle is awks because there’s little space for a camera. Wearing: Cleo The Hurricane set gifted to me by my amaze teacher Lisa and pic by my friend Emma Norris

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably thought: “Right, time to get a house pole,” and then “WTF DO I DO?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?” immediately after. God knows I did. Let’s be real: pole dance classes are expensive. Having a pole at your place means you can train in your own time and at your own pace, do dumb freestyles when no one’s watching and work on conditioning without spending a fortune. But should you/can you actually do it?

Why I Got A House Pole

At the end of July I’ll be celebrating my second pole anniversary. I started about two years ago, in sunny Sydney, and as soon as I moved back to London I began training from 10 to 20 hours a week. Towards the end of this year, I realised that I wanted to train by myself a lot more. I need to improve my flow, and even though I take a lot of choreography classes, I need to incorporate what I learn through them with my own style and freestyle in my own time.

Plus, although I’m an Intermediate/Advanced pole dancer, there are still a lot of moves I can’t do/don’t feel 100% comfortable doing. I guess part of the reason is because you might learn a move in class, but it doesn’t mean you’ll revisit it all the time. So having a pole, while mixing my own practice with targeted classes, seemed like the best option to me. Plus, my pole membership was a Master’s graduation gift, and the money for it was running out. As a broke PhD student, it was time to roll up my sleeves and find a solution.

Should You Get A House Pole?

For all the above reasons, I decided I wanted a house pole. I feel confident enough to attempt some moves on my own (except when I’m drunk, and I vow not to touch the pole then).

Before getting a house pole, and before worrying about the practical stuff, as yourself these questions:

  1. Am I comfortable enough to train on my own?
  2. Will I actually put my ass into it and do it?
  3. Will I be disciplined enough and careful enough?

If you’ve answered yes to all of the above, it’s time to move onto the practical side of house poling.

Can You Get A House Pole?

Are you renting?

If so, you might need your landlord’s permission, or just to give them the heads up. Not all landlords/estate agents are used to doing inspections and viewings with a pole in the house. It shouldn’t be like that, but if I have to repeat the prejudices pole dancers face in this post my head will explode.

Jokes aside, they might let you know about issues within the house that might result in damage if you put a pole up. Installing a pole can be risky, and there are chances of damage, so you do need to inform them.

Does your ceiling support poles?

This is sounds obvious but your ceiling type might make or break your chances of getting a house pole. Concrete ceilings are the best for house pole dancing, but you might be able to set up a pole even with a popcorn ceiling or with a suspended ceiling.

I have a suspended ceiling and I had to look for ceiling joists to set up my pole. For those of you who, like me, had no idea what joists are or even how to pronounce that word, joists are structures within the suspended ceiling that support it. They can be made of wood or metal, and they’re often fixed in with studs.

You can look for joists by using a ladder and tapping the ceiling above your head. If it sounds hollow = no joists. If it sounds full = joist. You can also use a stud finder for this, which will tell you if there are electricity cables in the way, too. X-Pole have put together a super helpful videos about poles and ceilings. You can watch it below.

Is Your Ceiling High Enough?

Most houses now have very low ceilings. Is it worth putting a pole up if you are going to bang your head against the ceiling after the first climb?

The lowest the X-Pole poles go is 2235 mm, while the highest they go without an extra extension is 2745mm. Having bought an X-Pole sport 2014, I had to use an extra extension to get the pole to reach my 2.80 ceiling. I have amazing friends who gave me their extension for free, but otherwise you’d have to purchase it.

Instructions

Where In The Hell Do I Put My Pole?

There are a lot of good tips for that online, but just so you get everything in the same place, here’s the lowdown.

Once you’ve found the joists, use a pencil to mark that spot with a line depending on the direction the joists go in. My friend and I did it vertically because my joists were disposed vertically underneath the ceiling. Remember you need a bit of space to do spins and tricks without falling on your couch or table.

Measure a circle with a diameter of about 3000 – 3500mm (120” – 138”) and put your pole in the centre of the circle. X-Pole recommend to place a chair beneath the location where you have identified your joist or to imagine a fully assembled pole beneath this spot.

Then fully stretch both your arms and place one hand on the chair/imaginary pole and walk around it in a circle. If while rotating around the chair/imaginary pole you don’t hit or touch anything else in the room, it means you have the ideal spot that will let you fully extend your arms and legs when using the pole.

So How Do You Actually Set Up a Pole?

Set-up instructions vary depending on which pole brand you’ve purchased. However, generally poles stay up WITHOUT you having to drill the ceiling or the floor (get it, dad?): they stay up due to the pole putting pressure on both ends of the room, the ceiling and floor.

Chances are your pole will come with a number of pole tubes, plus extensions that will have to be put into the actual pole and then expanded. How do they expand? Poles come with keys just like those you use at your pole school to assemble a pole or put it from static to spinning.

The pole joints have a special mechanism which expands or contracts to lock or loosen the pole tubes together. In my case, we had to make the pole expand to the maximum (rotating clockwise) for it to reach my very high ceiling.

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X-Pole dome on my very high ceiling

You will find arrows and instructions both on the various pieces that comprise a pole and in the set-up booklet that comes with the pole. I don’t want to go too specific with this because different pole brands might have different instructions. Instructions are extremely easy to follow – almost like a puzzle.

Which Pole Brands/ Types Are There?

So far, here in the UK I’ve come across X-Pole, which also sponsors the majority of national pole competitions, and Lupit Poles.

X-Poles prices go from £129 to about £800 (for stage poles) and they come in chrome, brass, titanium gold or powder coat (so the colourful ones).

Lupit Poles spin super fast (I’ve trained with them so far) and they’re portable poles with a smaller dome than the X-Poles. They start at €268 and generally ship for free within Europe. Lupit poles are generally stainless steel, which makes them a bit challenging to grip in my case, but most pole dancers love them.

I haven’t come across other brands here in the UK and in Australia I didn’t even know there were brands making poles – I was that dumb. So if you’ve got any other brand suggestion for me to add to this post, they’re more than welcome!

Grab A Pole Buddy

This post wouldn’t be complete without thanking my pole buddy Elaine. I was so anxious and terrorised I’d ruin my ceiling, or that I wouldn’t have been able to put up a pole, that my skin broke out, my belly felt funny and I had nightmares for weeks. This won’t happen to the average person, but I have anxiety and I’m also a bit silly sometimes, so if you are like me you’ll understand.

This is just to say that poles are quite heavy, and putting them up is fiddly. If you’re putting one up for the first time, I would recommend getting help by a pole buddy who’s put up house poles before. I don’t know what I would have done without Elaine – when we put it up we both went: “The house is a home!” and the day suddenly seemed brighter.

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The house is a home!

Here’s me clumsily jamming to RuPaul to prove it’s working.

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