We've all seen the little bag of goodies our instructor brings to class. Made daunting is when you're new to the class and you watch everyone around you squeezing liquid in to their palms and patting them together before performing a move.
What seems like a rather strange ritual has it benefits, so let's explore a couple of examples, based on my experience and not really actual reviews....
Dry Hands - Basically says exactly what it does on the tin. It starts life as a milky coloured liquid, you rub your hands together, quick mat and a chalky residue is left behind. This claims to be sweat resistant and ideal for humid conditions.
Dew Point - Have you ever seen polers spraying their legs and doing some weird dance as they rub their thighs together? Welcome to the world of Dew Point. This magical mist forms an invisible sticky layer on your skin perfect for thigh and knee hangs.
Ok, so now you're wondering the point I'm trying to make? When do you grip? When should you not? Which grip should you use?
Well firstly, it's important to stress that once you start gripping, it can become a habit. It can become a ritual. You can turn up to class without your grip and feel as naked as if you had forgotten your pole shorts. But becoming so reliant on grip to this stage is probably a bit unhealthy,
I remember poling when I first started for the first year or two unaided. No grip. Nothing. To this day I cant remember seeing my instructor using grip much more than once or twice. Whereas I feel I am at the stage where I automatically put some dry hands on every time I begin to invert. I feel my Mini steering wheel permanently has a slight "tack" to it and white powdered finger marks. Sometimes I put my Dry Hands on and then my instructor asks me to perform a spin.... ooops!
While it's important to not become reliant on grip, it can also be useful. Those long summer days are drawing upon us and the evenings start to feel humid and you get a bit sweaty and clammy just using the remote to flick channels. But being in a room with 10 other polers all exercising can only mean, inevitably that we will all perspire a bit more. The pole gets wiped with the vodka but your hands still feel wet to the touch. But sometimes it can be other factors. Nerves, we all a bit of worry can cause sweaty palms. Or even hormones and women's time of the month can cause body temperature fluctuations. Alternatively, sometimes do you ever just get that "I'm not sticking stage" and then maybe it's time to reach for the Dew Point.
Don't forget that certain body washes can leave slippery residues or moisturisers. Its always advisable to avoid all moisturisers before pole, but there are some out there which can actually make you more tacky, eg The Body Shop Body Sorbet range. However, it may not work for all, as we all have different skin types so check with your instructor before you turn up to pole caked in a cream which may hold devastating consequences!
So there are many different options out there to try. There's even website which offer a sample pack made up of about 10 different grips so you can have a play and find the right one. Just remember to have a think if you need to apply your grip before it becomes a habit.