Take a chance on pole dance

Sarah Scott has been pole dancing for the last 8 years and is a master trainer for Xpert Pole and Aerial Fitness. Her many accolades include 1st place for Miss Pole Dance UK, 2012, and 2nd place in the 2012 World Pole Dance Doubles. Sarah has also featured on TV, including National Geographic’s Stupid Science, The Fitness Channel’s Fit Gear and Sky 1’s A League Of Their Own.

With over 500 pole studios having now opened in the UK, we met with Sarah to find out more about this trend and how it represents a huge opportunity for gyms.

The Fitness Network:

Where has this recent interest in pole dancing for fitness come from?

Sarah:

Pole dancing is of course nothing new, but I think people are only just realising how perfect it is for fitness training, particularly with the increased interest in calisthenics. We see the greatest demand among women who would typically be intimidated by the gym environment. The key is that it takes the focus away from exercise and weight loss and places it on learning a new skill and having fun. It’s almost like you’re tricking people into getting fit!

“The key is that it takes the focus away from exercise and weight loss and places it on learning a new skill and having fun”

The other important factor is the support people receive in the classes. Traditional group fitness is great but people rarely speak to one another, whereas in a pole class there is endless laughter and when someone perfects a move they’ve been practising for weeks the whole class will erupt in applause. It’s such a motivating and reassuring environment.

Sarah Scott

 

The Fitness Network:

Are these classes in mainstream gyms or dedicated studios?

Sarah:

Only a small proportion of gyms have pole equipment, which is a huge missed opportunity in my opinion as it does so much for the sense of community and female participation. Most of it goes on through dedicated pole dance studios, of which there are now over 500 across the UK! There is clearly no lack of demand, but for some reason most gyms seem slow to give it a chance.

 

The Fitness Network:

Does the gym need a dedicated area?

Sarah:

No, the equipment can just be put up for each class and then taken back down. You can either have a permanent fitting in the ceiling that the pole slides into, or use a free-standing pole.

 

The Fitness Network:

How should a gym market its pole classes?

Sarah:

There are so many ways. You can offer hen-do days, dance classes or boot camps. Many places will offer free taster sessions to take away some of the fear and mystery, and then incentivise people to sign up for a six or eight week class.

What most gyms and studios find is that the classes actually market themselves. People are intrigued by it all and once they’ve had a great experience word will soon spread.

 

The Fitness Network:

Why are some gyms still reluctant to offer pole dance classes?

Sarah:

I think there can be a number of factors that can cause a gym to be reluctant. There is so much choice that they may simply may not be aware of the particular benefits of pole dancing. Then there is the ‘taboo’ aspect of pole dance as they worry what members and the local community might think. That said, over the past 8 years I’ve seen it become far more accepted, particularly when gyms see demand for local pole studios booming as people are drawn in by the excitement of doing something so different.

Sarah-Scott-1

 

The Fitness Network:

Is this a fad that’s going to pass?

Sarah:

Four years ago I would have said it could have gone either way, but now there is such a strong foundation that there’s just no way it can be considered a fad. Most of the dance studios are packed and even gyms are starting to realise the role that pole fitness can play in attracting and retaining a less confident audience. It can be lucrative too; I even know lawyers that have quit their job and opened pole studios because they’ve seen the scale of the opportunity. This industry isn’t going anywhere.

“Gyms are starting to realise the role that pole fitness can play in attracting and retaining a less confident audience”

 

Posted in Gyms & Clubs, The Fitness Network.
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