Is Pole Dancing A Sport?

There is a heated debate in the sports industry about whether pole dancing is a sport or not because many people claim that pole dancing is not a sport. In this article, we will go through all the details about pole dancing and the measures taken by the organizations in charge and conclude whether pole dancing is worth calling a sport.

Let’s dive in.

What is Pole Dancing?

Pole dancing is one of the most prevalent pole sports that are in practice today. It involves dancing and doing acrobatics like spins, climbs, twists, and body inversions using a vertical metal pole.

It is a form of performance art that presses for a great deal of agility, flexibility, strength, endurance, and balance.

Men and women of all age groups and physical abilities are part of pole-sport athletes. Moreover, pole dancing competitions are held on individual and team levels, where they are judged based on the types of moves, expressiveness, and degree of difficulty.

In the 1990s and 2000s, poling developed into a fitness activity, and sport and many national and international competitions were being held. In 2009, the International Pole Sports Federation (IPSF), the highest governing body of pole sports, was established.

This non-profit organization has been promoting the pole as an athletic sport since then.


From fertility dances in Africa to acrobatic performances in China and India, tracing back to 800-900 years ago, pole dancing has its roots in different cultures and regions.

In China, pole dancing started as circus performances as martial arts to showcase the core strength with a range of entertaining tricks incorporating a pole.

This performance is referred to as a Chinese pole usually, two or four poles 3-9 meters high are placed next to each other.


Pole dancing is a great fitness activity that promotes flexibility and strengthens the core and arms. In pole competitions, the athletes use multiple movements to perform acrobatics like flips, spins and split on the metal pole. Also, the athlete performs routine music.

Rules and Regulations

Pole sports athletes must follow the rules and regulations when performing in pole competitions. It includes:

  • To avoid slipping off the pole, athletes must ensure their arms, hands, ankles, feet, and knees are exposed while the palms of their hands are entirely dry.
  • Do not wear moisturizer that can cause slipping.
  • Do a force test on the pole to make sure it is not wobbly or loose and is fixed correctly in its place.
  • Crash and spotters mats are recommended when for beginners.
  • Stretch your entire body beforehand.
  • Avoid wearing jewellery that scratches the poles.

What are the Pole Dancing Events and Competitions?

Although pole sports competitions are held globally, there is still a debate over whether pole dancing is a sport.

To date, pole dancing is not included in the Olympics Games. However, IPSF is taking necessary steps IPSF and higher organizations are giving positive responses in this regard.

Moreover, here is a list of national and international pole sports competitions held every year:

World Pole and Aerial Champions

World Pole and Aerial Championships are held annually, where 25+ competitions are arranged, and more than 5,000 athletes compete against each other.

International Pole Championship

IPC is held every second year by the International Pole Dance Fitness Association. Pole dancers are credited exclusively for their unique tricks, skills, showmanship, dance skills, and overall performance by an experienced panel of judges.

American Pole League Championships

American Pole League represents the pole and aerial athletes of the US, and IPSF officially recognizes it.

Every year, APL holds a national championship and qualifies athletes for the international level annual in the World Pole Sports Championship. It was first held in 2015 and has been continued since then.

What Are the Benefits of Pole Dancing

1. Increased strength:

Pole fitness incorporates all the body muscles and is a full-body workout, engaging multiple muscles at once.

It is ideal for building strength in your back, biceps, triceps, and forearms to be able to perform acrobatic tricks while performing. Moreover, pole dancing also gives you a strong core and legs.

2. Cardiovascular health:

Combining pole dancing into your daily routine helps improve your cardiovascular health by decreasing the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. Pole dancing keeps your heart rate up and involves the entire body.

3. Coordination and balance:

Coordination and balance are vital for overall quality of life because they keep you upright. What’s surprising is that pole dancing can help you train your balance and coordination.

It is because, in this sport, you have to balance yourself against the pole and coordinate your movements for an effortless performance.

4. Weight loss:

Pole dancing implicates activities like lifting, climbing, and holding that help you burn off calories.

Increasing and consistently maintaining physical activity boosts your basal metabolic rate.

Moreover, pole dancing results in burning excess fat and building muscle mass. So, it is an excellent option if you wish to become leaner.

5. Increased flexibility:

Engaging in physical activities is necessary to keep your joints and body flexible.

Otherwise, a lack of mobility in the body can cause poor posture, cramping, and an increased risk of injury, eventually leading to chronic joint issues. Therefore, pole fitness massively increases flexibility as you train your muscles am joints.

Recognition of Pole Dancing as a Sport

Is pole dancing considered a sport?

Pole dancing is often associated with erotica, stripping, and performance art of lightly dressed women in nightclubs.

Pole dancers and the sport itself have to face many prejudices. However, this trend is making a positive change.

Now, pole dancing is gaining well-deserved recognition as a competitive pole sport on an international level. The sport has two disciplines: static pole and spinning pole.

Is pole dancing a sport in Olympics?

The monumental efforts of the International Pole Sports Federation have helped pole dancing gain official observer status from The Global Association of International Sports Federation (GAISF), which is the umbrella organization housing all Olympic and non-Olympic sports.

It is the first big step towards gaining recognition from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and making it an Olympic sport.


From the above discussion, pole dancing deserves official recognition because it comprises all the necessary aspects that any sport demands.

With slow and steady steps, pole dancing will eventually achieve the status of an Olympic sport shortly.

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James Baller
James Baller
James is owner of He currently works as a personal trainer and senior coach at Baller Circuit. His main mission is to inspire people to relentlessly pursue their sport goals. He believes staying in shape has an overall positive effect on body, mind, and spirit.

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