Last Monday, I returned to the new and improved Secret Dance Studio in Hawthorne for two back-to-back classes with Candace Cane. The first class was “Deep Stretch, Splits, & Flexibility” in the dedicated non-pole dance room in the back. The class was very popular with the entire room packed with around 16 girls (only just enough room for everyone’s yoga mat). The class covered regular set of back bends, squats, and yoga poses but the most memorable part were the silly walk exercises. My first experience with silly walks was during my ill-fated Crossfit experiment last year (read more about that HERE). It does make some sense that the less efficient a walk is at getting you from Point A to Point B the more calories you burn. However these walks are designed to increase your flexibility. I should note that the walks don’t have to be that silly. When Candace does it she has the grace of a ballerina. When I did them they were straight out of Monty Python.
SILLY WALK #1: THE HIGH KICK
Kick left, Kick right, Pivot 90º left, Side kick left, Side kick right, Pivot 90º left (you should be walking backwards now), Back kick left, Back kick right, (pivot and repeat)
That doesn’t sound too hard but how do you make it look graceful? First hold you hands up flat in T, second try to keep the rest of your body (head and torso) stationary during the kick, finally cross you ankles between each kick: kick, cross, kick, cross, kick …. This adds just an touch of sexy strut to the walk. If you are really good, you should be able to kick above your head. Potential silliness: 6 out of 10 (mostly due to my lack coordination)
SILLY WALK #2: THE SQUAT KICK
This one is a simple two step, start facing sideways then:
Squat, Side kick, Squat, Side kick, Squat, Side Kick (repeat)
The key is to explode out of each squat, thrusting the leg up and out. Potential silliness: 7 out of 10 (it’s hard to look sexy in a squat)
SILLY WALK #3: THE SPLIT ROLL
All those stretches were building up to this: the split walk where you never actually stand up and just throw down one split after another. First drop into your full split (yeah right) then:
Left split, right split, left split, Right split. Left Split
Instead of standing up between each split, you rotate from one into the next. First plant your hands in front of you, raising your self up just enough to swing your legs round so the front leg becomes the back leg and visa versa while rolling your hips over. If that doesn’t make much sense, imagine if you can’t even do a full split (perhaps that is not that hard to imagine). For those people, you can just do half splits where the back leg is bent behind your butt. If you are doing this right, your ass hardly leaves the ground as you smoothly roll from one split to the next. In my case, I would bounce about a foot in the air trying to work my legs back into position. Potential silliness: 10 out of 10.
These walks really can improve your flexibility, though in my case I have a long long way to go.
The second class was “Intermediate and Advanced Pole”. We mostly worked on different grips for inverting on the pole, particularly the shoulder mounts where you pivot on your shoulder then hook your knees round the pole from one side.
When we were warming up, Candace’s playlist randomly shifted to an epic Michael Jackson mix. Soon she was mixing in air claws and moon walks into the exercises. If there ever was a king of silly walks, it would be Michael Jackson.