It’s hard to imagine now, but when pole dance classes first started popping up on the fitness scene over a decade ago, pole students had to make do with only a hand towel to combat their sweaty hand problems! Nowadays, a lot has changed, and there are plenty of pole grip aids available on the market. But when you’re first starting out pole, it can be a bit overwhelming… Where do you start!?! How do you know when your grip problems are the result of dry skin? Or sweaty skin? Or skin that’s neither dry nor sweaty, but just not tacky enough? It’s so confusing!
But don’t break out into a cold sweat - get a grip! We are here to help leave you high and dry so you can get a firm handle on all your questions - and make a lot of bad grip-related puns along the way too! Are You a Slippery Susan or a Sweaty Betty?
The most common problem for a pole dancer starting out on their pole journey is sweaty hands. Often, students get quite disheartened when they keep sliding down the pole. Fortunately, there are a lot of really good anti-perspirant, liquid chalk grip aids that help a lot.
Our absolute favourite at PDA is No Sweat, which was created specifically for us pole dancers, although it can be used for any activity that requires a no sweat grip.
We love No Sweat because:
- it’s not as watery as other brands which makes it easier to apply the correct amount with no wastage;
- the dryness lasts longer so you don’t need to reapply as much;
- it comes in a bigger bottle (100ml);
- it works out to be better value (100ml for $20AUD).
Which Grips Should I Use?
Being a Sweaty Betty is hard enough, but did you know that it’s also tough to stick to a pole when you have dry hands and dry skin on the rest of your body too?
For most people, it takes a little while to figure out what skin type you are (you could be a combination) and then find the best grip to suit you.
Often, knowing HOW to apply grip properly can save a lot of time and effort, and can make all the difference in deciding if a grip works for you or not. So let us help to educate you on the wonderful world of grip, and how to correctly apply it to get the most out of your training session! Too Sweaty
If you’re on the sweaty side, then grips that act like an anti-perspirant or liquid chalk will work best for you. Some examples include No Sweat, Dry Hands, Girly Grip, Tite Grip.
How to apply: With liquid chalk adherents like the ones mentioned above, less is more. Apply a small pea size amount into your hand - but DON’T rub your hands. What you want to do is TAP your hands together and then tap the grip onto the pole.
Tapping helps to create a dirty grippy surface, whereas rubbing your hands creates a slippery smooth effect which isn’t helpful for pole.
How to apply Tite Grip: This can be a lifesaver if you have clammy hands even outside of pole. A small amount should be applied to the hands 30MINS BEFORE your pole class. Once your class starts, you can then go ahead and put your preferred adherent grip on top.
Too Dry If you find your skin gets so dry it becomes slippery, then grips like Itac2, Mighty Grip powder, rosin, Dew Point and Dancing Dust will work best for you.
How to apply: these grips should never be applied directly to the pole, as it makes cleaning the poles after a real pain! Don’t use the palm of your hands or your fingers to apply them, as it will affect your hand grip. It’s best to use the back of your hand or the edge of a towel for grips like Itac2.
Waxy grips like: Itac2
Itac2 have created a cool little stick applicator now so that you don’t even need to get your fingers on it. Itac is good for intermediate and above levels where you start using your legs and hips more as grip points on the pole.
It is applied to the backs of the knees, elbows and hips and is a waxy consistency to help you stick into the pole. LESS is more with itac2 and can be dangerous and counter productive if used incorrectly. NOTE: Using a waxy grip on sweaty hands can be a combination for disaster. Although wax can make you feel super sticky, once you start sweating, the perspiration can pool on top of the wax and create a really slippery surface that can be dangerous in some moves. Loose chalk grips like: Mighty Grip How to apply: Apply a small amount of the powder to your hands and then rub your hands together for 20-30seconds. The heat helps to activate the grip and you can feel it working when your hands struggle to rub each other. It may not be suitable if you are SUPER sweaty, but for average sweaters or for those who have drier hands than most, this grip is heaven and doesn’t need to be reapplied very often.
Moisture spray grips like: Dew Point
How to apply: Available in 3 different strengths, Dew Point is a life saver if you have dry skin on your body… especially in winter. Dry skin can be just as slippery as sweaty skin and can be horrible to try and pole on. Spray the dry areas that need a bit of tacking up with a light mist. Wait to dry (say 20-30secs). Do not apply to the hands. Moisture spray grips like: Dancing Dust How to apply: Applied the same as Dew point but with an added sparkle and shimmer. It’s so pretty! Grips like: Shaving Cream
How to apply: Mostly used in Australia on brass poles, Shaving cream is applied to the backs of knees, elbows and hips to add moisture and tack.
A common problem is putting on too much and not only getting slippery but having white legs and getting it all over your nice pole clothes.
Apply a pea size amount to the BACK of your hand, then use the back of your other hand to dab and loosen it up. Using the back of your hands, tap the areas you want to grip. Avoid getting any on the palms of your hands. The best kind of shaving creams are the gels.
Grips like: Pole Physics
How to apply: A moisturiser made for pole dancing!! Best used the night before a class but depending on your skin, you may be able to use it the day of class in the morning. Apply to your body like a normal moisturiser.
Grips like: Moisturisers like The Body Shop sorbets
How to apply: Same as Pole Physics, apply to your body like a normal moisturiser and regularly at night to keep your skin hydrated and tacky.
But wait, there's more!
There are so many other grips and aids out there: Hair spray, Mighty Grip gloves, Beal chalk, rock climbing chalk, resin, gorilla grip, stunt grip, sticky leggings, botox, Hidrex, Driclor, methylated spirits, alcohol, washing hands with soapy water.
Whatever grip you go with, read what the packaging instructions say.
Sometimes less is more. Grips should be there to help you but should not be solely relied on. The more you practice, the stronger your hands get, which can be a huge help.
Often when you start pole or learn a new move, your body automatically sweats because you’re nervous or scared. Once you practice it a few times, you will find you might sweat less because you are not so worried about it anymore.
DID YOU KNOW: Your grip can change depending on where in your menstrual cycle you are? Just like we get more oily and get hormone pimples, the same thing can affect how sweaty or clammy we are. Keep an eye on if this changes monthly for you!
We hope this has helped you get a deeper understanding of grips, how they work and how to correctly use them. What kind of grips do you use? Do you have any tips to share? We’d love to hear!
Pole love, Shimmy & Leish