September 17, 2013 by kholzhauer
It’s time to take a break from all the serious stuff and talk pole grips. Because let’s face it, as “real” as life as been lately, there’s still fun to be had, poles to be danced on, food to be eaten and all of that. And I figured now would be a good time to talk about something that gets chatted about in the studio all the time – – Grip aids. I mean something more than the spray bottle filled with alcohol. Sometimes, that’s all I need. A lot of the time, especially when I’m 12 feet in the air upside down holding on with my thighs, it ain’t gonna cut it. Thanks largely to having a super slippery pole in my apartment (can’t wait to put it back up) I’ve gotten experimental with any number of grip aids, from the old school shaving cream to dry hands to itac to gloves. And I’m gonna talk about all of it, or at least everything I’ve tried. If you want to know more about each product, click the pictures! First off, shaving cream. It’s a weird one, but it works, especially plain old dude’s shaving cream. I find that it especially helps on brass poles. It’s tacky enough to keep me on the pole, but smooth enough to make spins easy. I like it, but at times, it’s not as much of a grip solution as I’d like. Still, good for basics, good for beginners, good for brass.
Second, Dry hands. Dry hands was my first ever grip aid and it’s still my go to. I like that it’sreasonably priced, lasts a long time and works on even greasy hands. I tend to have greasy hands, especially when I take late night classes after cooking dinner. Nothing like going to a hard class smeared in olive oil and chicken fat to make me really REALLY need grip aid. So what’s dry hands like? Well for me, it’s great for putting a sort of non-slip coating between my skin and the pole. 90% of the time, it’s all I need. I put it on my skin and it forms a grippy, powdery second skin that really helps me adhere to the pole. Plus, for me, I can still spin with it. Admittedly, this may not be the norm. I have a bit of an over-momentum problem, but I find that dry hands is the happy medium between nailing that ayesha and rocking a giant body spiral.
Third, iTac. This stuff is sticky, and I don’t even go for the extra strength. I rarely need it, so I rarely use it, but I do have a container of it in my pole bag. Why? Three reasons: Extra-slick brass poles, spin pole and performances. Dry hands doesn’t work as well on brass, and if I’m both on a brass pole and sweating like a whore in church, this helps. I get a ton of momentum on spin pole, and this (plus a natural death grip) helps keep me holding on. As for performances, I use almost everything. Why? Because I’m paranoid that I’ll go flying off the pole and land butt first in someone’s drink. Not smooth.
Fourth, grip gloves. I’ve tried these and honestly, I kinda hate them. I definitely get where they can be useful, especially in training big strength moves like handsprings, ayeshas, and the like, but they make me crazy. For one, the large is still tight enough to cut off circulation to my fingers. For two, they make it harder to spin, which, for me, makes fluid transitions harder. I get them as a training tool, but I’ll skip it for everyday use. Wanna see them up close? Click the picture.
Fifth, and last, firm grip. I’ve used this stuff exactly once, during a performance where I was terrified of slipping (the perils of going after an intermission where every single girl in the audience took a picture on the pole.) It’s sticky. I sprayed myself, not the pole (though I’ve seen people in class do it both ways. I was careful to spray only in the places I knew I’d need extra grip. It worked like a charm, but wasn’t more effective than my i-tac the pole, dryhands myself combo. Downside? This stuff is REALLY sticky. I had lint-y stripes on my body for days after rocking this. And believe me, I showered.
So that’s all the grip I’ve tried. I know it’s not all that’s out there, but it’s a start. I’ve heard whisperings of a product that’s a lotion that actually HELPS you grip the pole, but I’m skeptical as to whether this miracle potion really exists.