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Pole sport is not sexy dancing in heels – it’s actually one of the toughest sports out there

It’s a hell of a lot harder than rugby

Pole sport may conjure up images of sexy dancing in heels and skimpy outfits but actually it's so far from that.

Pole athletes have arm strength rugby lads would kill for and abs of steel that could make any gym bunny weep.

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The outfits

I get it, pole dancers wear revealing outfits. But this isn't because we're strippers or because we love showing skin, it's for safety.

Half the time, the only thing holding us to the pole is the friction between the pole and our skin. We grip to the pole with the skin in our armpits, elbows, chest, stomach, sides, shoulders, thighs… You get the point.

Trying to make shapes in a turtle neck jumper and jeans would mean a trip to A&E with a broken collar bone and concussion.

The never-ending bruises

Imagine squeezing a metal pole between the bare skin on the inside of your thighs as though you're trying to crush a watermelon between your legs. The second you loosen that grip, you'll fall straight on your head so you better hold on for dear life.

We literally have to put liquid chalk all over our bodies before a performance and whilst what we're doing may look pretty and effortless, it hurts like hell. You know you're in the right position when you can feel the pole tearing your skin away from you.

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The elegance

I dare any rugby lad to try and lift themselves 5ft off the floor with the metal pole painfully pinching and twisting into their sides all with elegance and class and a big smile on their faces.

Unlike other sports, pole isn't just about strength or agility, you need to be able to smile through the pain and make it all look effortless.

The physicality

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It doesn't matter what size you are, within a year of doing pole regularly it's pretty much guaranteed your body will become noticeably stronger and more toned than ever. Pole is one of the toughest sports, it's a hell of a lot harder than just lifting weights and doing pull ups.

All of the inverts

Pretty much most of the moves you learn in pole are upside down. We're all accustomed to living half our lives upside down and having the blood rush to our heads. The real tough part is when you have to spin in circles upside down…

It's the ultimate confidence builder

There's nothing more satisfying than being able to hold amazing poses on the pole while your friends watch you in awe.

One of the Pole Sport Society's presidents, Alex Gordon told us; "People who start with us have often not done any prior dance, gymnastics or sport training and find themselves doing things they never thought they could do before!"

You may live your life thinking you're just a couch potato who can't even do a push up but pole makes you realise that you're goddamn Wonder Woman.

The trust

When you start learning doubles pole moves (which is two people doing a pole routine together, if that wasn't clear enough) you literally have to trust your partner with your life.

There is no bond stronger than the bond between two pole buddies. I mean, you can't just trust anyone to spin you around a pole upside down holding on by one hand.

It's ridiculously addictive

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Jo (top), Hannah (bottom)

It seems almost masochistic to enjoy a sport like this but any poler can agree that it's worth the pain. It's addictive enough to make you wanna go to pole no matter how ridiculously bruised you are from your last session.

Doing pole fitness is nothing like going to the gym, it never feels like exercise and one day you just wake up super toned!