I’ve had a lot of queries from those of you looking to buy a pole this Christmas. I understand why: there’s definitely a lot to think about.
If you don’t know your chrome from your powder coat, or you’re in a spin about what brand to choose, this blog will help you understand your options, and make sure you don’t make any expensive mistakes when you go to buy.
A name is important when it comes to exercise equipment that’s this specialist. There are many pole brands out there, but you need to make sure what you’re buying is designed to take the weight and force of pole fitness tricks, and has a good safety record for home use. It’s as well to spend a little extra for a known make and feel confident with your pole.
The two types of pole to choose from are the pressure-mounted pole, and the freestanding pole.
Pressure-mounted poles work by propping a base against the floor, and top plate against a ceiling joist or exposed beam, then ratcheting up to tighten into place. These poles are great for home use as they are completely removable, can quickly be put up and taken down and will store in a small space. If you have a higher ceiling, you can buy extensions to make the pole longer, but be aware that too many extensions will make the pole less secure.
Best suited to you if: Stability is important; you want a pole you can quickly put up and take down and don’t have lots of room for storage.
Not for you if: You have really high ceilings or can’t locate your ceiling joists.
Freestanding poles are fixed into a weighted base, so they don’t need to be attached to the ceiling. They are a little less stable to work on than a pressure-mounted pole, and you will experience a bit of wobble. Don’t worry though, they are safe to use, they just feel a little different.
The biggest downside of freestanding poles is that they take longer to put up and take down, and take much more space to store. The X-Stage poles are the sturdiest and most reliable (often used in professional competition), but come with extremely heavy and large base pieces, as they need the weight for stability. This means that you may need help putting them up and taking them down, and will need a bit of room to store it when not in use.
If you want a genuinely portable pole, the R-Pole is your best option. The R-Pole is less stable than the X-Stage (go for the 2.5m height for safety), but it can be assembled in 3-5 minutes, folds down to almost nothing and can be carried around if you don’t take the mats. The downside is that it comes with a whopping price tag.
Best suited to you if: You have a bit more space, higher ceilings, can’t locate your ceiling joists, or want a more portable pole.
Not for you if: You have a small budget or no storage space.
Pole diameter is important because it affects your grip. The tricky thing is that your hands grip better to a thinner pole, and your legs grip better to a thicker pole because of the larger surface area.
Because we use hands and legs for pole fitness, the 45mm is generally the best option. That’s the size you’ll find at the studio: it’s industry standard and gives you the best grip for both hands and legs in most cases.
This said, you may want to explore the other sizes. Sometimes beginners prefer a 50mm pole to help with leg grip early on, but usually upgrade to a 45mm within a few months. If you have particularly small hands, you may want to buy a 40mm pole for use at home, but be aware that you will find most inverts, sits and climbs a bit harder to hold.
It’s not just a case of choosing a colour you like: the finish on your pole is also a factor that affects your grip. Some finishes are more expensive and all of them give the pole a slightly different look and feel. The finish is really down to personal preference, but here’s a quick breakdown to help you decide:
Chrome: the industry standard, and a happy medium for most people, allowing freedom to spin and enough grip for everything else. Chrome contains minute quantities of nickel, so if you have a severe allergy, it may not be a good choice for you.
Stainless steel: Most people find this a little gripper than chrome, and it is more resistant to nicks and scratches.
Titanium Gold: The finish on these poles improves the grip compared to chrome or steel. The colour can wear over time, but the titanium (which creates the extra grip) should remain.
Brass: Grippier than chrome, steel and gold, Brass poles can be difficult to spin on but are great for static tricks. The metal requires regular cleaning to prevent tarnishing. They can leave a metallic smell on the skin after use.
Powder coated: These poles are extremely grippy and have the bonus of coming in various colour choices. Be aware though, the grip is so extreme that you can really damage your skin if you attempt spins and drops.
Silicone: Prefer to pole wearing more clothes? Silicone coating is for you. You can pole wearing normal workout gear rather than needing to expose skin (legs, arms, sides). This maximum grip coating is more expensive than others, and will need careful cleaning.
There’s a lot to think about when purchasing a pole, but hopefully this helps you understand your options. Whatever pole you decide on, always check the manufacturer’s safety instructions before use. Proper set up, maintenance and use of your pole are essential for your wellbeing. Pole safe!
If you’re still confused or just want some reassurance before you buy, please get in touch and I’ll do my best to help.