Part 1. Grip Aid Overview
There's an abundance of information online that will go over the varies types of grip aids (powder, spray, liquid, etc) and the types of ingredients in each, which is why I'm not going to do that, Why bother doing any research? Well of course you want to know how to find the best grip aid for you. And the answer is......trial and error. Fact: regardless of what anyone says, sampling a few grip aids is the only way to determine what will work best on YOU.
Here's why & what you can do about it.......
The type of grip aid that will "work" for you (i.e. help you stick to the pole and not give out after a single invert) is based on a multitude of factors:
So you aren't spending hundreds of dollars on grip aids here's what I suggest.......
Contact each company via phone or email and ask for a sample size of their grip aid. If they don't offer samples, and you decide to buy and it doesn't work on your HANDS, keep in mind that it may not be a waste. You can always use grip aid on your legs, arms, and stomach as added grip.
Grip aids were originally created for football players, rock climbers, golfers, and other common sports players. Over the last decade or so, grip aids specifically for "pole dancers" has become more common. With that said, don't feel like you have to get a grip aid that is supposedly designed for polers. There's a very well known brand (I won't mention the name) that sells grip aid just for polers and it does absolutely nothing for me. My grip aid regimen, which I detail in part3, consists of grip aids designed for athletes in general. Poling is a SPORT and as a pole dancer you are an athlete.
Part 2: Using Grip Aids, but not being to dependent on them
I started using grip aids the first day I poled. While at the same time, a fellow poler of mine refused to use them until she absolutely had to (I think the aerial invert was her breaking point). Her thoughts were that if she started using them, she would become so dependent on them she would always need them. Wrong!
Here's why her thought process is inaccurate.......
Let's say you go to the gym and say to yourself, "I'm going to do 10 pull-ups today." Yet you've never done a pull up in your life. So you get to the gym, you jump up onto the pull-up bar, and you hang there helplessly until eventually falling off. hmmmm.....sounds productive, NOT.
So the next day, you go back to the gym and you get on the assisted pull up machine (the pull-up bar with the plate underneath to support some of your weight). You use, say 100 pounds of support...meaning the machine carries 100 lbs for you and you lift yourself up by pulling up whatever you weigh beyond 100 pounds.
The next week you go back and you only use 80 lbs of support. A few weeks go by and you use less and less support until you have finally conditioned yourself over time to do a pull-up on your own.
The weighted support is equivalent to the grip aid. You use it to achieve the difficult moves you couldn't do without it. You allow your body to become accustomed to being in a particular position. Your muscles strengthen each time you hold that difficult pose.
The key is that while you are conditioning yourself overtime, you use less and less grip aid!
Just like the pull-up scenario and reducing the weight assistance over time, as you become stronger in your pole practice, you have to reduce the amount of grip you use......slowly....over-time. It could take months or years before you can pull off a move that you could only do if you were taking a bath in grip aid prior to jumping on the pole.
There are some individuals that go through medical procedures to fix their sweaty hands, but unless you are willing to spend that kind of time and money, your just going to have to work around your little problem. Keep in mind, that as time goes on your hands will become more and more accustomed to gripping the pole. Some just may take longer than others. In there mean time.....
Here are my 5 Recommendations....
1. Read the label of the grip aid. Usually you have to put it on about 20 or so minutes prior to performing any activity. Why? There are ingredients in most grip aids that are designed to block pores. Putting it on then jumping right on the pole may work for the first 5 minutes, but you'll be quickly reapplying before long. As a student, I would apply my grip aid before I got in the car, then I was ready to go when I got to the studio
2. Don't use the same sweat towel for your hands that you do to wipe the pole down. Prior to poling, and throughout your practice, make sure you are wiping down your pole with a towel and mixture of rubbing alcohol and water. Use a separate towel for your hands and body!
3. I feel like I shouldn't have to say this....but no lotion or oils 24 hours prior to poling.
4. If you aren't warm, you won't stick. Make sure your body is warm and so is your pole. This usually means a few basic spins, etc. Doing things like jumping jacks may warm you up, but that leaves the pole cold and that's not going to help.
5. Pole anxiety plays a large part in how much you sweat. If I'm dancing in front of 2 people or 200 people, I experience pole-anxiety. I worry I'm going to sweat too much and immediately fall out of my moves, I worry I'm going to forget my routine, I worry my boob is going to pop out. And so on..... To combat this, I practice breathing exercises while holding difficult aerial moves. Meaning, I hope into a particular move, and then hang there and simply focus on breathing. As dancers, we naturally hold our breath when attempting a difficult move, this only further elevates anxiety. Try to relax and focus on breathing when poling, this will help prevent excessive sweating.
Part 3: My Personal Favorites
****I have never been paid or offered any sort of incentive/freebie by a grip aid company to promote a product. The 2 products I love the most are my favorite simply because they are my favorite and they work the best for me********
1. Dry Hands for my hands--I put it on 20 minutes prior to poling and I try to use it as sparingly as possible. Hands down, it's my favorite.
2. Cramer Firm Grip (Aerosol Spray-not the powder)--lightly spray on my inner thighs, behind my knee, and my shins.
Feel free to leave a comment below about your favorite grip aid or other things that help you stick to the pole!