I am always looking for ways to improve my teaching abilities, so I decided to find out what plus size students really want instructors to know about teaching them. So, here are some of the ways we adapt our teaching to plus size bodies.

We Recognise that Everyone Prefers Different Descriptive Words

Fat, curvy, bigger, plus size. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to what kind of words people prefer to use to describe their body type, so we keep this in mind when talking through moves or referencing different body types during our teaching.

As a general rule ‘curvy’ or ‘plus size’ are a little less loaded than ‘fat’ or ‘bigger’, which some people still find insulting. So although some people prefer ‘fat’, not everyone likes that word. We therefore don’t make it a go-to.

We Don’t Ignore Your Body

Our plus-size students have a body, it is bigger, and we do not ignore this fact. We know for some instructors is may feel rude to acknowledge the fact that someone is plus size, but by ignoring it and acting as though their body is exactly the same as a thin body, we feel they are neglecting their teaching.

Every body has different limitations, and different strong points, whether it is a tall body, a short body, a body with a long torso and short arms, a body that have more rolls, a body with large breasts, a body with a penis. We are all different, and there is no reason to ignore this difference when it can fundamentally change how some moves are taught.

We Understand That Some Things Are Just Harder When Bigger / Curvier… FACT

Because every body impacts their pole practice uniquely, being aware of the fact that some moves are just a lot harder or challenging in a different way when you are a plus size individual is important for us to remember.

Our students may have rolls, and stomach, and breasts or thighs that get in the way. They may have larger muscles to get through spaces, or heavier body weight to try and lift. They may be very pear shape, in which case there is an unequal weight distribution between their top and bottom half, so their center of gravity will be different. Or likewise, they may be apple shape, with slender legs, but more weight around their torso.

For example, teaching a chair spin to a plus size student with a larger chest requires us to be mindful of the fact that ‘just reaching across the chest’ might not be as simple a task for them. We have adapted our teaching methods to reflect this, and are always reviewing our teaching practices to ensure we are including different body types.

There is no way to teach a single move in a single way that works for every single body type, so we are always looking to find ways around it. And, if we aren’t sure, we ask our plus size students and instructors for their tips on how to teach a specific move, or areas they may need extra help.

We Do NOT Underestimate Them!

However, although certain moves can be more difficult whilst having a plus size body, it does not mean we assume that these students won’t be able to do something. We still challenge our plus size students. Many, many times they have proven to us just how strong they are, and plenty of larger ladies (and gents) are totally killing the pole game with their awesome tricks, sassy dance moves, and awesome floor work.

Stripper Hoe – Cardi B . . . I’m really trying to speed my flow up a little, I’ve been at this on and off for a for a while. It was also really strange waking up today and not seeing my gorgeous babes from work. I miss them so much ( @_squinnstagram @hollylongstaff1 )they were the best girls I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. But this morning I also woke up free! Free to tend to my creative needs I’m so sad I don’t work with them anymore but if I didn’t walk away I’d never have known how far I could have gone with dancing. I have two fully booked classes and a waiting list and I’m meeting so many amazing women along the way. So for now I’m on a hopefully permanent break from the rat race fully embracing my hoe life. What more could I ask for ps. That sassy hand I stole from EVERYONE on #rupaulsdragrace – hopefully no more Reptar Claw for me #exoticpoledance #floorwork #pdfloorwork #pdfloortwerk #floorfuckery #pdfloorflow #pdfloorfuckery #poledancersofig #poledancersofinstagram #plussizepoledancer #plussizepoledance #inthezone #udapole #cardib #moneymoves #udapole

A post shared by Beanie The Jet ✖️✖️✖️ (@beanie_the_jet) on

We Know That Not Every Plus Size Girl Lacks Body-Confidence

A lot of narratives around plus size bodies can revolve around self-confidence. This is all well and good, and we can all face our own challenges in building our self-esteem, but we don’t assume that our plus size student has low self-confidence because of her body type. Doing so implicitly suggest that having a bigger body type is something to be ashamed of, and there are plenty of plus size people who love their bodies and themselves.

For the same reason, we never treat our plus size students differently. We won’t express how ‘brave’ a plus size girl is for coming to pole, as though they should be embarrassed of their bodies. Sure, we tell people they are kick ass, inspirational, and awesome, but for so many reasons other than just showing up. We WILL congratulate them on nailing that spin, on popping that booty, on wearing that awesome outfit that we are just a tiny bit jealous of, but not for being ‘so brave’ because they are plus size and are doing something they enjoy.

Unless someone comes up to us and expresses they have issues with their body image, or asks for advice, we will never pass comment on their body. If they want to open up about their own body struggles, then they are always welcome to, but we will never assume it.

We Don’t Assume They Want To Lose Weight

For the same reason, we do not assume that a plus size girl wants to lose weight or ‘tone up’. These may well be side affects of taking up pole, but they may just be a side note to someone’s true motivations, which may be for numerous other reasons, including:

  • Making new friends
  • To have fun
  • Boosting your confidence and self-esteem
  • Challenging yourself with something new
  • They always wanted to try it
  • To get in touch with their sexy / sensual side
  • To get stronger and more flexible

We know they may never wish to lose weight during the course of their pole journey, and that is completely fine too. Many plus size people have tried numerous weight loss methods, but have found that a low weight does not feel good or healthy for them.

Likewise, we know one of our students may have just gotten out of a cycle of abusive dieting and exercise that took a negative emotional or mental toll on them, and pole should be a fun and positive environment. Not all eating disorders look thin, or bony, many plus size people have or had eating disorders, so assuming that weight loss talk is a positive and beneficial topic of conversation, even in passing, is not a something we encourage.

We Adapt How We Teach Inverts

The traditional route towards inverts (going upside down) is not necessarily achievable or realistic for some body types. Trying to get everyone to train inverts in the same way, by fan kicking or rocking back into it, is not going to work, and can leave many plus size students feeling frustrated and upset as they feel their pole progress stagnate.

So we have discovered many good ways to train inverted poses for plus size students who are strong enough to do the foundation moves and transitions, but not strong enough to invert in the traditional way. This is one of the things we will teach to a plus size student who is progressing very well at their other pole moves, but who is not yet ready to invert the traditional way.

These techniques we teach allow our students to practice their inverted poses, thus preventing them from getting frustrated with their pole progress.

We Have Learned How To Spot Plus Size Students

There are now many helpful online discussions around how to best spot a variety of students in a variety of different poses, tricks and so on.  There are also various different spotting workshops which are now available on the market, including one which was hosted at the Feelin’ Peachy studio in 2019, and which our lead instructor participated in. We are always looking out for new resources to improve our teaching, to make it safer, and more effective and enjoyable.

Learning the best techniques through which to support our student’s progress and spot you in your pole training helps you to trust us, and to smash your pole goals.

We Use Images Of Plus Size Bodies On Our Social Media & Marketing

I know that pole is technically a ‘sport and fitness’ industry, but that doesn’t mean we have to copy every other sports industry by only using one type of thin, athletic body in our marketing or on our social media. Pole is for every BODY, which means we aim to present the Feelin’ Peachy studio as such online. Reflecting all the wonderful types of bodies that we see in our classes.

I’ve heard of students who feel left out and glum because their studio will only post photos and videos of the slim girls from class. As though their achievements aren’t worthy of public recognition.

I’ve seen pole adverts with six pack abs and slender physiques that look like a gym advert, when my pole studio doesn’t look anything like that. We have tall and short, fat and thin, and we all giggle and have fun and do some cool moves together. Sure, pole is a tough workout, but most of us aren’t there for fitness, and although we may get a good beasting from our conditioning, it never feels like a gym where the ultimate aim is to all look to same and be the same size. So, why would our marketing not reflect this diversity?

We Hire Plus Size Instructors & Host Plus Size Polers

When we are looking to hire a new instructor, we always do so based on that individual’s personality, skills and how they will fit into the community. We have been so lucky to have some amazing students come along that have been a great fit for our instructor positions, and just happen to also have a variety of body types. Each has their own unique knowledge and expertise, and is a great asset for Feelin’ Peachy. It makes our studio culture more accessible. Tricks look and feel more achievable, because seeing those awesome moves performed by an instructor with a similar body to you boosts your confidence.

 

We Ask For Feedback From Our Students

Most importantly, we have an open dialogue with our students. We are always asking questions during the session, and looking for feedback on our teaching to make sure our students understand what they are learning.

♥♥♥

*Featured image provided from the above video*

 

3 replies
  1. Beanie
    Beanie says:

    Oh Peach, just when I thought I couldn’t possibly love you any more than I do. You’ve nailed absolutely everything in this post. Such a refreshing read

    Reply
  2. Sarah Perry
    Sarah Perry says:

    Peach, this is a fabulous piece – for plus size students and their instructors alike. The plus size journey can be very different, and really does mean your instructor has to think differently in their approach. I’ve been lucky at my studio, however I will still be sharing this piece with them as we can all learn from it (especially the reaching across the boobs bit!). Thank you x

    Reply

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  1. […] body shape/size/height can. Here is an excellent article from Peach Lee Ray of polewithpeach.com “A Guide for Instructors: What Every Plus Size Student Wants You to Know”  that give pole dance instructors insight to some of the challenges heavier people have in learning […]

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