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Pole Dance and Physics

  1. May 31, 2014 #1
    Hi there

    I would like to know about the physics involved in pole dance. for instance, why does more momentum make it easier to stay high on the pole and spin for longer? and how does this influence the effect of force on your body by gravity. Basically just the overall physics of pole dance...
  2. jcsd
  3. May 31, 2014 #2


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    Analyzed from the dancer's point of view, there arises fictitious centrifugal forces which point horizontally outwards. This force means that the dancer will not hang vertically down, but make some angle with respect to the pole. You just add the centrifugal force to the gravitational force, and you will find that the faster you spin, the more horizontal you get. This is the same principle behind tether balls.
  4. May 31, 2014 #3
    Matterwave thanks for your reply could you give me some more info
    Last edited by a moderator: May 31, 2014
  5. May 31, 2014 #4


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  6. May 31, 2014 #5


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    But the downwards component is still the same. So that alone doesn't "make it easier to stay high on the pole and spin for longer". You have to consider the friction at the pole.
  7. May 31, 2014 #6

    After watching several of the talented ladies ( All I saw was ladies, no males, doing what should be an Olympic Sport, as it looks to be that someone has to be quite athletic and artistic to appear to make it look easy ), I conclude that there is more to the technique than just a simple answer. Some of the individuals do not slide down the pole when spinning, and not at all that rapidly. Except for the fireman move, and a few other moves, some could hang on the pole with it tucked under there knee joint and spin at one horizontal location. Perhaps a professional pole dancer can provide an answer to their secret.
  8. May 31, 2014 #7


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    While increasing the friction involves increasing the horizontal contact forces, it doesn't always involve spinning.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2014
  9. Jun 1, 2014 #8
    Not a pole dancer but I have done some pole shopping with my wife.

    Some, but not all, dance poles are supported by bearings at the top and bottom so that the pole can spin. Friction between the dancer and the pole can be completely static while she is spinning.
  10. Jun 1, 2014 #9


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    Static friction is greatest so having a free rotating pole must help.
    When spinning, there is a centripetal force involved and that will increase the friction force (normal force would be proportional to the square of the angular velocity) and reduce the grip needed. For a high enough rotation speed, it would not be necessary to grip at all.

    Where does one go "pole shopping", I wonder. (Except in Krakow, perhaps)
  11. Mar 31, 2016 #10
    So from a pole dancer point of view there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all there are poles that are static and there are poles that spin. Both give completely different effects while dancing on them (that's why competitions often offer two poles on stage, one being static, the other being spinning)
    Static poles give you les friction when you're spinning, so it takes more muscles to stay up/make more spins while spinning. It however gives you way more balance, because when you go upside down for instance you only have to focus on gravity and not on keeping the pole steady making it the better option for 'harder' moves or to practice new moves. The spinning poles provide you with heaps of friction when you're spinning, because the pole is spinning and you yourself are static onto the pole.
    The centrifugal force makes the pole accelerate when you are closer to the pole and slow down when you for instance extend a leg or arm.
    Other 'funny' forces:
    When you stand up straight in the pole (so pole alongside your whole legs) it is harder to grip and stick than when you stand the same way upside down, because of the gravity pulling on the fatty bit of your thighs and that way giving you more surface to stick.
    Hope this helps;)
  12. Mar 31, 2016 #11


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    Your physics explanation for this is incorrect. You spin faster when you are closer to the pole due to conservation of angular momentum, not due to the "centrifugal force", which is a fictitious force.

    This is also an old thread from 2014.

  13. Mar 31, 2016 #12
    That's alright.

    As one the original 2014 contributors to this thread, I'm still interested in new insights on the topic. Poll dancing never gets old :-)
    And while Zapper is right about the terminology, I was able to understand what you meant, and I appreciate the new perspective / info on the topic.
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