“Point your toes!” the instructor demands. So what’s the deal with it in 2021?
You’re probably wondering why pole dancers should be pointing their toes and why do pole dance teachers are so all over it.
If you’re into pole dancing, then at least you have watched a couple of videos online or seen people in class effortlessly dance on the pole.
Pole dancing may seem easy, but that’s not always the case. There is a lot to learn and grasp, considering it’s a full-body workout that’s quite strenuous. As you browse online, you’ll realize there is a clear cut margin between the professional pole dancers and the amateurs clinging onto poles in their living rooms.
So what’s the difference between the two?
The actual answer to that question lies in the pointed toes. This is nothing new because it’s a song pole dance instructors have been singing for years. If you’re a student, you’ve probably heard it so many times; it’s already stuck in your head. But what is toe pointing, and why is it important in pole dancing?
What is toe pointing?
What does it actually mean to point your toes? It’s important to understand this, especially when starting as a pole dancer. The truth is toe pointing is so much more than just getting your toes at work. It involves each of the muscles surrounding the bones in your feet, like the tarsals and the metatarsals.
These muscles are in play by either contracting or stretching. These are what makes the huge difference between good posture and really bad posture. In toe pointing, you must engage the muscles, meaning make it work. Don’t let the muscle remain slacking but rather tighten it. A properly pointed foot involves fully engaged muscles.
The significance of pointed toes in pole dancing
You might have wondered why the pole dance instructors keep on emphasizing toe pointing. People get a little bit confused because the toes don’t have much to do with the actual pole dancing. But remember, when pointing your toes, you essentially engage the entire foot and its muscles and not just the toes. There are reasons why pointed toes are important in pole dancing. Here is why pointed toes should be a natural part of your pole dancing routine;
Better skin grip
You may have probably come across various tricks and tips on getting a better grip on the pole. A good grip is vital, especially because you will be performing a couple of moves on the pole, like climbing and inversions.
Without a proper grip, there is no way you will master great pole dancing, and it also puts you at risk of slipping and falling. On that note, the one important step to achieving the perfect skin grip is muscle engagement, no questions asked. The skin grips well when the muscles beneath it are completely engaged. That means pointing toes helps your skin grip better, and you can dance properly on the pole.
Helps activate other muscles
Toe pointing can actually help to activate the other muscles in the legs, like the hamstrings. For instance, if you want to do a leg hang, having pointed toes serves to activate the lower hamstring so that it’s more engaged than when the foot is flexed. In that case, you are able to secure incredible leg hangs thanks to the pointed toes.
Another key importance of toe pointing is that muscle engagement helps distribute your weight, and you actually feel lighter. Think of it this way; a limp body is really much harder to lift than one in which all of the muscles are actively engaged and working.
Toe pointing engages more of your muscles and helps you master tough moves, especially the ones where you have to fight gravity. Pointing toes will fully engage the muscles in your legs and feet. In return, you will feel lighter, and there is less stress on the contact points.
Pointed toes make pole dance gorgeous
Pointed feet can make such a huge difference in your pole dancing. Firstly, a beautifully pointed foot adds an aesthetic appeal to your dancing. You look and feel more graceful as you dance on the pole. It also gives an illusion of the dancer floating around on the pole.
Furthermore, pointing toes support your technique. This is because when the feet are fully engaged, it also engages the muscles in your legs, providing better stability and control.
Exercises to get a better arch and point
A beautiful arch won’t happen overnight or even in a few days, but you will surely get there with practice. Use these toe point exercises to achieve a better arch and stronger toe point.
- Lay flat on the floor and with your hands on the chest.
- Raise your legs up.
- Gently circle your ankles to the outside.
- Repeat this motion until fatigued.
- Now circle your ankles to the inside.
- Repeat this motion until fatigued.
Try as much as you really can to keep the legs straight and engaged throughout the process.
Band-assisted toe point exercise
Find a lightweight resistance band for this exercise. It should be stretchy and wide enough to wrap around your foot easily.
- Sit down on the floor and put your legs in front of you.
- Wrap the resistance band around your toes and let it go all the way to the ball of your foot.
- Flex your feet, push through the ball until the toes still up, and then point the toes.
- Repeat this about ten times on one foot before switching to the other.
When pointing the toes, keep them long and elongated like you’re trying to reach the other side.
The penny arch exercise
You will require a coin or any available flat object to place under your foot.
- Take any coin you’ve got and place it on the floor.
- Next, place the ball of your foot directly on the coin.
- Use the ball of your foot to push down on the coin while you lift up the arch of your foot at the same time. Keep your entire foot on the ground throughout the exercise.
- Do this at least 15 times on each foot.
How to point your toes properly
- To create a properly pointed toe, you have to start with a flexed foot while pulling the toes backwards.
- Keeping the toes pulled back; now try to push the ball of the foot away from you, extending it as much as possible.
- Finally, extend your toes out and down. The toes will begin to point down, contracting the arch of your foot. You will feel the arch muscles start to engage. This is the pointed toe position.
Pointed toes have more than one benefit for pole dancers. While it’s not a passive activity, it becomes much easier to do with time.