The level of dedication that Jennifer Lopez has to her career and the roles she takes on never ceases to amaze me. The 49-year-old actor recently signed on to star in the upcoming film Hustlers, which is about a group of "savvy former-strip club employees who band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients," according to Just Jared. And apparently, Jennifer Lopez is learning how to pole dance to train for her role in the film. That's commitment, guys. I mean, do you have any idea how hard it is to learn to pole dance? It definitely looks like a demanding workout, but judging from a behind-the-scenes clip of J. Lo's training, provided by none other than her SO A-Rod, Jenny from the Block seems like she's up to the challenge.
It’s no secret that J.Lo’s always working on her fitness, and that she's willing to try anything at least once to see how different ways of eating and working out affect her body. In fact, this past month, J.Lo and A-Rod eliminated all carbs and sugar from their diets for 10 days. At the time, it seemed as though the performer and retired baseball player had committed to the challenge just for kicks, but on a recent episode of The Ellen Show, J.Lo revealed that cutting out these two food groups was actually a suggestion made by Lopez’s trainer, Dodd Romero, to help her prepare for her role in Hustlers. She explained,
[The challenge] was really hard. Not only do you get a headache, but you feel like you're in an alternate reality or universe. Like, you don't feel like yourself. You realize that you're addicted to sugar.
Clearly, J.Lo is going all in for this new role, which includes some hardcore pole dancing training on top of everything else. Based on A-Rod's behind-the-scenes clip, which he posted on his Instagram Story earlier this week, the World of Dance judge looks like she's having a blast, despite how killer the workout must be. After all, pole dancing isn't just about sex appeal, y'all, and J.Lo set that record straight on a recent episode of Jimmy Kimmel. “I have bruises everywhere. It’s so hard,” Lopez told the late-night host. “I have a lot of respect for people who do the pole.”
Keep in mind that J.Lo is a professional dancer, and has been for years — like, practically her entire career. So if she says pole dancing is difficult, I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely going to take her word for it. “It’s like acrobatic; it’s [working] different muscle groups,” she told Kimmel. “The things [pole dancers] do with their legs and everything, and go upside down… it’s hard.”
According to Irmingard Mayer, manager and instructor at the fitness studio Body & Pole, pole dancing is definitely a challenging workout, but "anyone who can move can start from the beginning," she tells Elite Daily in an email. "That is not to say it's easy. But the complexity of it is part of why it is so wonderful. I compare it to basketball. You won't come in your first day being able to throw a half court shot. But maybe you get started dribbling the ball," she explains.
Learning to pole dance, says Mayer, is all about gaining awareness of your body and its alignment, coordination, and muscle engagement. "We are not lifting weights or using machines in pole. We are using our bodies to perform acrobatic skills, so we first need to understand this functionality," she tells Elite Daily.
In addition to strengthening your muscles, Mayer says pole dancing can also be a great form of cardiovascular exercise once you progress to climbing, i.e. when your legs become more involved in the movements. Plus, Mayer adds, pole dancing is "creative and expressive," and while it's certainly a physically challenging activity, she tells me the workout isn't all about what your body looks like. "It's about what your body can do and how you feel," she explains. "It is a way of expressing how you feel inside. This is cathartic and can be emotional. You can release frustrations from your day."
Has J.Lo inspired you to give pole dancing a try? Same. Luckily, the exercise is pretty mainstream these days, and there are pole dancing studios and classes popping up all over. If you’re in the NYC area, NY Pole, Body & Pole, and Foxy Fitness and Pole are a few great studios to check out for a class. If you'd rather practice solo, Mayer says pole dancing can definitely be done at home, but she highly suggests you make sure to purchase a pole from a reputable pole distributor and have it professionally installed so it doesn't fall out of the ceiling.
"There are many sources to take classes online, but it is important for beginners to learn from trusted sources," she adds. "There are many tutorial videos on the internet being posted by people teaching improper and unsafe technique. I recommend beginners start with a structured course like Body & Pole Online."