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Jenna Dewan Shows Off Pole Dancing—Here's How You Can Get Toned Like Her

Learn about the surprising benefits of pole dancing and how you can tone up like Jenna Dewan. 
FACT CHECKED BY Jeremy Horowitz

Jenna Dewan has impressed us with her moves ever since she got her big break at 19 years old as a backup dancer for Janet Jackson, and the actress has taken things up a level by learning to pole dance. She showed off her skills on Instagram and wowed fans with her seriously sculpted physique. The mom of two learned pole dancing for her role in the 2022 Lifetime movie Let's Get Physical where she plays a pole dancer and fitness instructor by day but lives a secret life by night. The film debuted a few months back and Dewan shared how pole dancing is "so athletic" on Live With Kelly and Ryan. "You know, there's this little clip, [and] you're like, 'Oh, that's not so bad.' That took me a day and a half, I mean squeezing every muscle I had," Dewan laughed. There are a lot of misconceptions about pole dancing, but it's a great way to lose weight and stay in shape. Read on to learn more about the benefits, with insights from experts. 

Jenna Dewan Compared Pole Dancing to Pilates


During her appearance with Ripa, who served as a producer on the film, Dewan explained pole dancing was like pilates in a sense. "It's more 'pole-ates' pole dancing," she stated. Pole dancing is an excellent way to tone and shed a few pounds, according to ACE-certified trainer and nutritionist Mary Sabat MS, RDN, LD. "It is a highly intense physical activity that can burn a significant amount of calories, like Pilates. The vigorous movements and routines involved in pole dancing require strength, flexibility, and endurance, which can contribute to an increased metabolic rate and calorie expenditure. Additionally, pole dancing is a full-body workout that engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously, leading to increased muscle mass." She adds, "As muscles require more energy to maintain than fat, this can boost your resting metabolic rate, helping you burn more calories even at rest. Consistent practice of pole dancing, combined with a balanced diet, can contribute to weight loss and improved body composition."

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Pole Dancing Can Really Sculpt Your Muscles


For anyone looking to tone up, experts say pole dancing is a great overall workout for strengthening and building lean muscle. "Pole dancing is an excellent form of exercise for toning and strengthening muscles," Sabat explains. "The various moves, spins, and poses performed on the pole engage and challenge multiple muscle groups simultaneously, including the arms, shoulders, core, back, and legs. The isometric contractions required to hold positions and perform dynamic movements help build lean muscle mass and improve muscle definition. Additionally, the controlled movements and bodyweight exercises involved in pole dancing can enhance overall muscle tone, flexibility, and stability."

Pole Dancing Can Provide Cardiovascular Health Benefits


Besides helping achieve fitness goals, pole dancing also provides cardiovascular health benefits. According to Sabat, "Pole dancing provides cardiovascular benefits by elevating the heart rate and increasing overall endurance. The dynamic and continuous nature of pole dancing routines, combined with the physical demands of climbing, spinning, and performing tricks on the pole, can improve cardiovascular fitness over time." She continues, "Regular participation in pole dancing can enhance lung capacity, strengthen the heart muscle, and improve the efficiency of oxygen delivery to the muscles. These cardiovascular adaptations can lead to increased stamina, endurance, and overall cardiovascular health."

Pole Dancing Can Improve the Quality of Sleep

woman sleeping peacefully

Another surprising advantage of pole dancing is that the workout can improve the quality of sleep, which helps with weight management. "Engaging in regular physical activity, such as pole dancing, can help regulate sleep patterns by reducing stress, and anxiety, and promoting relaxation," Sabat says. "Physical exercise releases endorphins and promotes the production of serotonin, which can positively impact mood and sleep quality. Improved sleep quality is linked to better weight management as it helps regulate appetite hormones and reduces the likelihood of cravings for unhealthy foods. Additionally, getting enough sleep supports overall well-being and allows the body to recover from exercise, which can further enhance weight management efforts."

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Safety Tips


As with any workout and exercise, injury is possible, but preventable with proper form and technique. Learning to pole dance correctly can help avoid mishaps and Sabat shares the following safety tips:

  • "Prioritize proper warm-up and cool-down routines to prevent injuries. Warm-up exercises should include dynamic stretches and movements that prepare the body for the demands of pole dancing.
  • Ensure the pole is secure and properly installed. Use a pole designed specifically for pole dancing and follow the manufacturer's instructions for installation.
  • Gradually progress in difficulty and intensity. Start with basic moves and gradually increase the complexity and difficulty level as your strength and skills improve.
  • Pay attention to your body and listen to its limits. Avoid overexertion and take breaks when needed.
  • Use proper grip aids, such as grip-enhancing products or chalk, to maintain a secure grip on the pole and reduce the risk of slipping.
  • Wear appropriate attire that allows for a full range of motion and provides proper support. Consider using knee pads or other protective gear if needed.
  • Stay hydrated and take regular water breaks during your pole dancing sessions.
  • If you are new to pole dancing, consider taking classes or seeking guidance from a qualified instructor to learn proper technique and form."

Common Misconceptions of Pole Dancing Workouts


Pole dancing classes and workouts can have a negative connotation, and while they might not be for everyone, it's an excellent exercise that has great health benefits. Sabat shares the common misconceptions about pole dancing and reveals the unbiased truth about the workout. 

  • "Pole dancing is often associated solely with exotic dancing or stripping. However, pole dancing has evolved into a popular form of fitness and artistic expression that focuses on strength, flexibility, and artistic movement. 
  • Some people may mistakenly believe that pole dancing is only suitable for individuals with a certain body type or level of fitness. In reality, pole dancing is a versatile activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, genders, and fitness levels.  I had a client that put a pole in her workout room and she was in her 60s at the time.
  • Another misconception is that pole dancing is easy or doesn't require much strength. In truth, pole dancing requires a significant amount of upper body and core strength, as well as flexibility and coordination. It is a challenging workout that requires dedication and practice to master.
  • Pole dancing is sometimes stigmatized as being provocative or inappropriate. However, the emphasis in pole dancing workouts is on athleticism, self-expression, and empowerment. It can be a fun and empowering way to improve physical fitness and boost confidence."

Here's Dewan Showing Off Her Skills

To sum up: The intense physical activity of pole dancing is comparable to Pilates, leading to increased calorie burn, muscle engagement, and improved body composition. Experts praise pole dancing for toning muscles, enhancing flexibility, and providing cardiovascular benefits. Surprisingly, it also improves sleep quality, aiding weight management. Safety tips include proper warm-up, secure pole installation, gradual progression, and staying hydrated. Misconceptions about pole dancing, like its association with exotic dancing, are debunked; it's a versatile workout suitable for all ages and genders, empowering individuals through athleticism and self-expression.

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
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