Name: Momo Power
Age: 23 (24 on July 10th)
Height: 1.67 m
Current city: Paris, France
Have you always lived a relatively fit lifestyle?
I started sport as a child and have always been very active and I’ve never been into junk food, so in a certain extent I’ve always lived a relatively fit lifestyle.
How old were you when you started pole dancing?
I started Pole Dancing in January 2012 and I was 21 years old.
Did you do any other forms of dance or any other specific training before you started?
I tried a lot of forms of dance as a child: contemporary, jazz, even a little rhythmic gymnastics, but always as a hobby. I wasn’t serious about it.
Do you do any other forms of training in conjunction with the pole dancing?
As I discovered Pole Dancing I also discovered contortion and fell in love with it. So now I do several contortion trainings a week.
I also try to go running at least once a week and of course some strengthening.
What do you think are the 3 most common misconceptions people have about pole dancing?
1. “Pole Dance is sexy”… NOT
Don’t get me wrong, it can be sexy if you wear heels and get your sexy on but most of the time it’s just sweat, tears, burnt flesh, bruises and calluses. Yeah, not so sexy.
2. “If it is a sport why do they have to do it without any clothes on?”
We don’t really have a choice here, the skin is what keep us on the pole, it is why we stick to it (hence the burnings).
3. “Pole Dancing is easy”
I can assure you this is not the case. Pole dancing is a real sport, and in fact, a very physically demanding one. Pole dancing requires you to have the strength to bear the weight of your whole body.
What are your future plans?
I have performed before but I have never joined any pole competitions as I’m very shy and not very competitive, but I hope to do one soon just for the sake of performing (and as a new challenge).
And ultimately I would like to be able to quit my office job to be a full time pole dancer and pole dancing teacher.
Take us through an average day of yours:
- When I wake up I drink a glass of lemon juice with hot water before doing half an hour of muscles strengthening (working either on my abs or my bottom).
- Then I eat breakfast before heading to work. I have a classic office day job and then I go either pole or contortion training.
- I go home, take a nice shower and eat. I chill a little with my man and go to bed.
- Sometimes I also teach contortion or pole depending on the days.
Give us a brief description of your philosophy on your diet?
I just try to eat healthy and to listen to my bodies needs.
I’m not a nutritionist so all I would say is find what works for you because everyone is different.
How often do you practice and train and for how many hours at a time? And what does a typical training routine look like for you?
I practice every day for at least 1 h 30 minutes. I keep a day off every week, usually Monday or Sunday, because it is important to let your body rest.
Can anyone of any fitness level start with pole dancing classes and training?
Of course! This is a very big misconception: “I’m not strong enough”.
Well, that’s why we enrol into the pole dancing classes to get fit and strong, and strength does not happen at the snap of your fingers. It takes time and effort to achieve a desired fitness level (as in any other sport).
What exercises and tasks could someone expect in their first pole dancing class?
In a first pole dancing class you will learn how to walk around the pole, how to do a few spins, and probably how to sit on the pole or even how to climb it.
How often would someone need to practice to become relatively good and how long does it normally take?
The length of time you need to be good really depends on you, as everyone is different. If you start with one pole class a week and are consistent with your training you will see results and progress very fast.
Of course if you are a former gymnast you are going to progress faster but everyone can become great.
Your core must be extremely strong to do some of the things you do very similar to what people do in callisthenics.
How do you get your core to that level?
You practice the tricks over and over until you finally nail it!
And you reinforce your body thanks to the usual fitness exercises or exercises with the pole inspired by fitness.
What are your most important tips to becoming more flexible?
To become flexible you need to stretch often, regularity is the key. And listen to your body!
How often should a person stretch and for how long? Also how long should they hold each stretch for?
It’s very difficult to just explain, if you don’t know how to stretch you should take a class. It doesn’t matter if it’s a yoga class, a dance class or a stretch class in a sport club, in a pole school, in a circus. Just learn the basis to stretch with someone competent.
Then you can train at home by yourself. You should start with one stretch training session a week (if you have never worked on your splits) and then you can increase your training sessions when you feel your body is getting use to it.
Don’t forget to do both active and passive stretching.
Can anyone at any age start stretching in order to do the splits for instance or do you need to start when you are young?
You don’t need to start when you are young. When you have never trained your body to do something before you don’t know what your limits are. So even though the body changes as we age, anyone can become more flexible as long as you train with consistency and intelligence.
When stretching deeply, if you feel pain or stiffness should you stretch through the pain or ease out of it and rather not go so deep?
It is tricky, you really need to listen to your body because stretching hurts but it is important to know when the pain is not good.
You will feel pain because your body is extending its muscles in a way it’s not used to. So your body will be anxious and will try to fight you. This is the normal kind a pain during a stretch. You should neither feel pain after you come out of a stretch (also a normal muscle soreness is fine) nor feel pain in the joint.
We could talk about this for hours; you just need to learn how to minimize the negative kind of pain in order to get a really good stretch.
What are a few of your favourite stretches?
The pigeon stretch is one of my favourites.
It’s a very complete stretch: you stretch the thighs, groins and psoas, abdomen, chest and shoulders, and neck. It’s a good hip, shoulder and chest opener.
But you need to warm up before doing the various pigeon stretches!
How would you typically teach a person or start someone off with stretching, who is not at all flexible and is very tight in their hips and hamstrings?
You start with the same exercises like with anyone else, you just go less deep in the stretch and focus more on the alignment of the body.
“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.”
Best piece of advice you ever received?
To go deeper in your stretch you need to reinforce them. That is why active stretching is so important, especially as we are not children any more. Our body needs to be able to support the weight of our body in the stretches.
Advice for someone wanting to get started to get fit by participating in pole dancing classes?
Do not give up, you can achieve anything with hard work.