Shoulder Health

If you are new to pole you probably haven’t thought too much about how important a healthy shoulder is to your workouts.  It’s easy to take class then immediately skate out the door without stretching your shoulders because you’re thinking about dinner.  Likewise, it’s easy to overlook conditioning the little muscles of your shoulder because it doesn’t feel like much of a workout and it’s kinda boring….until, you get injured!
If your shoulders feel healthy then NOW is the time to pay attention to them, stretch them, condition them, respect them and love them (more later on how to do that) and they will be there for you.

Let’s begin with bit of explanation about the anatomy of your shoulder, some common afflictions to them and why it’s so easy to injure them.

What is your Rotator Cuff?

Rotator cuff syndrome is a very common shoulder injury.

Your shoulder joint is a relatively unstable ball and socket joint that is moved and controlled by a small group of four muscles known as the rotator cuff.

The subscapularissupraspinatusinfraspinatus and teres minor are the small rotator cuff muscles that stabilize and control the shoulder movement on your shoulder blade (scapula).

As the name suggests, the rotator cuff muscles are responsible for shoulder rotation and form a cuff around the head of the humerus (shoulder ball). (

Even if you are doing conditioning exercises like pull ups, pushups, handstands, ect. to get you strong for your pole work, those exercises are not targeting the little stabilizer muscles of the rotator cuff, and you are neglecting something that may come back to haunt you.  The other thing you need to be doing is stretching your shoulders after your workouts so that your shoulders don’t get all bound up, losing range of motion and setting you up for injury.  My personal experience with shoulder issues (or any injury) comes less from lack of conditioning and more from training stupid, so I am gonna throw a little personal advice out there to you-DO NOT  DO THE SAME MOVEMENT OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER no matter how badly you want to master it!  Repeating the same movements in the same training session is one of the worst things you can do to your physical health.  Switch up your movements, and try to limit your execution of a certain move to under 3 times per session, even better, alternate sides (ewe) to help your body maintain balance.

Below I am providing some links for doing both conditioning and stretching for the shoulders.
The first video is for conditioning the rotator cuff (the time to do this is while your shoulder in good health!).  The second video is for stretches on the wall. I do both of these types of exercises every time I train.  The last video is for correcting the affliction of the the shoulder know as shoulder impingement of the ac joint (mild case inflammation), I am including it because since I have been doing these exercises for my own rehab and I can honestly say I feel my body working in a new way and have a new sensation of the muscles in my shoulders as a result, it’s like I found a missing link to my training- so I guess my injury served some purpose. I don’t know that for sure, but it seems about right in retrospect.

Sweaty hands….DIE!!!!#2

DIY iontophoresis deviceI started the experiment for my sweaty hands with a homemade iontophoresis device over a week ago and I discovered a couple of things:  For one thing, the mind plays a big role in the way our body acts and for another I was addicted to antiperspirant products.  The fact that I now feel like I have some control over the situation is helping with my anxiety (which tends to fuel my sweating) plus, I definitely feel an improvement with my grip while teaching classes. Unfortunately,  I have been nursing an injury so I haven’t been able to beast mode in my pole training  which would really put it to the test. I can say that I am using little or no grip products on my hands when I teach class and in the past teaching would bring out the worst in the situation I think because of all the stopping and starting in my activity level.  Another benefit  I am blessed with is that the callouses on my hands don’t look so grotesque anymore and my hands feel softer since I am using less grip product-they were starting to crack in the creases of my palm right at the first knuckle of my middle finger which felt a lot like a big paper cut.

The device I built cost around $20. I got everything off of amazon. If you buy the retail devices they cost around $1000 so this is a pretty economical experiment if you are skeptical.

Does it hurt: No, maybe little stinging, like VERY LITTLE and I noticed my hands are a little itchy right afterward, but that goes away pretty fast.  I DID FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS TO THE LETTER IN THE VIDEO I POSTED IN MY LAST BLOG POST….



Pole Dance Classes For Newbies


Pole Basics $199

New sessions starting in June

Thursday evening session:

June 16th-August 4th


Monday evening session

June 13th-August 1st


This is the place to start if you are new to taking pole dancing classes, or it’s been a long time since you took a class. Pole Basics covers the fundamental of pole dancing enabling you to dance an entire routine on your first day of class. We will create a foundation for pole dancing as an artform and focus a lot on creating your own personal style. Class content covers floor work, poses on and around the pole, transitioning, spins, basic climbing technique and preparation for inversions. Each class includes a warm up for pole dance conditioning and flexibility.

reserve you place in class now   Sign up here

Pole dance classes with Shelly Elle

May 2016 session is open for mixed level pole classes.

Pole 2/3: Monday nights at 7:45pm

Acro Pole: Thursday nights at 7pm-8:15pm

Rotations on Static: Wednesday nights at 6pm-7:30pm

Sign up for one course in May and receive the 2nd at half price.

Register Now!


Registration is open for Pole Basics

Register Now!

Thursday evening session:

June 16th-August 4th


Monday evening session

June 13th-August 1st

(no class on April 18th)


Sweaty hands….DIE!!!!

DIY iontophoresis device

My coach and pole students know I have a grip problem.  My trainer and I know it isn’t because I don’t spend enough time conditioning my grip strength because I do, I also spend a lot of time training my mind through mediation (which is helpful) because I realize that my hands (and feet) tend to sweat a lot more when I get anxious (seriously, nothing else on my body sweats.  My hands are horribly calloused from using antiperspirant grip products, needless to say,  I’ve been REALLY ready for the miracle cure to come along.  I ran across a you tube video several years ago during my quest to remedy the sweaty hand situation, but the skeptic didn’t get around to trying it until now.  I told a couple of my students what I was up to, and they all feared for my life, lol, “Make sure you are not alone when you try it”, one said.  Anyway, today was day one of the trial and I am alive, I made this apparatus myself (called an Iontophoresis device) and saved about a grand in doing so.  I’ll let you know how it’s working out for me in about a week. The YT video I followed to make the device is here

Broadminded: So this happened last Friday.

broadminde women.jpg credit

Broadminded was created by master hula-hoop performer Revolva in celebration of her 40th birthday.  While many of us performers know her as a major talent on stage, what you may not know is that she is also a writer and activist.

My first experience with Revolva the writer was upon reading a blog post of hers that showed up in my Facebook feed titled:

An open letter to Oprah, whose ‘The Life You Want’ tour asked me to work for free

Like so many other performers who read it and felt beyond annoyed about being asked to perform in exchange for “exposure”, I did my share of ringside “hell yeahs” reading the post.

Anyways, when I was asked to be a part of Broadminded I was just so honored.  Not just because it was being co-produced by this incredibly articulate and talented woman that I admired, but also because I have always felt that there is a huge population of people out there that were not being represented enough in the world of entertainment locally, and by that I don’t necessarily mean over 40 performers who still have something to give, I mean the audience members (40 years old is considered washed up, REALLY.  I didn’t even start teaching myself the art of pole till I was like 43!).  Broadminded had a great turnout with a pretty mixed bag of ages in attendance. Several people from the audience came up to me after the show to express how much they enjoyed the performances and also how inspired they were by the message that struck them seeing these talented performers do their thing – they were interested in seeing more.

There are a few producer’s out there that have come to know that good talent comes in all shapes, colors and ages and so they book performers into there line ups that are inclusive, they don’t let the media dictate to them what people will enjoy based on one group’s narrow view of what’s entertaining and beautiful.  In return they bring a mixed demography of people to the shows and word gets around to a more diverse group of potential audience members.  So when a show like Broadminded comes around that specifically showcases women past the age 40, what age group specifically is attracted to the show?  Well, I’m not really sure because I spoke with such a variety of audience members-some women over 40 as well as a couple of young men and women in their early 20’s,  and they all expressed the how much they enjoyed the performances and how inspired they were by them.

I think what most people really want to see is a well produced show with talented performers.  We live in such a progressive minded area that it’s not hard for me to  envision how ugly messages and stereotypes about people including those referencing women’s bodies, their age, their “place”, or whatever really can be put on notice through art.

Hula-Hoop Performer Revolva (And Others) Put Ageism and Sexism on Notice in BroadMinded

Posted By on Fri, Apr 8, 2016 at 8:30 AM

Revolva - LEELA

  • Leela
  • Revolva

Monica Bellucci in Spectre notwithstanding, ageism is rampant in Hollywood. And unlike the equally discriminatory Silicon Valley, in film, it’s directed almost exclusively toward women. (Witness the 37-year-old Maggie Gyllenhaal being told she was too old to play the romantic interest of a 55-year-old male lead last year.) It makes a gymnast’s career arc look rosy by comparison.

So to hear about a show at Beatbox that features the talent of women over 40 — even up to their early 70s — should encourage anyone who suspected they were approaching their expiration date no matter how vital they looked and felt. Hula hooper, performer, and activist Revolva will exit her 30s on the night of April 22, and to own her mathematical age the same way she’s owned her body’s skills, she’s put together a variety show as part of the weekly Red Hots Burlesque that’s filled with badass women — including a 58-year-old belly dancer and a 72-year-old showgirl — called BroadMinded.

Shelly Elle - REVOLVA

  • Revolva
  • Shelly Elle

That showgirl is Sandy Eggers, who’s part of the 55-and-up Vegas-style revue troupe The Golden Follies (all of whom will perform). The belly-dancer is Leela, an Angeleno who didn’t even learn her art until her late 30s. Joining them are pole acrobat and wearer of many (literal) hats Shelly Elle, burlesque demoness Isis Starr (late of Moulin Rouge), vocalist and empress of slam poetry Nazelah Jamison, tigress of queer standup Karen Ripley — and of course, Revolva herself, who will ring in her birthday at midnight, after the show.

In other words, sexism and ageism have been put on notice. Ingenues, take heed: This is 40 — and beyond.

BroadMinded, Friday, April 22, 8 p.m., $15-$25, a Beatbox, 314 11th St. Tickets.