Sheila Kelley’s S Factor: Poledancing as Fitness

By Sheila Kelley

PoleSlide_webEvery nationality and ethnicity across the globe has a culture rich with shared points of view.  These cultures are strong, united support systems.

Where is the female culture?

If you think about it, it is a pretty strange society that banishes women outside the walls of society-building interaction.

If we don’t like this culture, guess what, magnificent femmes? We are going to have to create our own. A culture that is tolerant of what we want to achieve in life, a culture that encourages women to live fully.

The first thing we want to stop doing is working out like men.

Traditional gyms and exercise programs created by men do not preserve the natural curves of a woman’s body.  Close your eyes and imagine the letter “S.”  Now fill in the curves of that S shape with your hips, thighs, breast, butt, shoulders, calves, even the locks of your hair.  Now open your eyes and gaze down at your body.  There are dozens of S curves on your female body from head to toe, and they are all filled with natural sensuality simply because they are soft, rounded and feminine.

As women we want to tone our S shape, fortify our core abdominals and increase our upper body and back strength.  But we never want to eliminate our natural sensuality, our blessed female form.  Accentuate your S shape at home.

Try the following exercise from my book The S Factor:  Strip Workouts For Every Woman. If you don’t have a pole at home, a wall will do just fine:


1. Stand with your back against the pole or wall, feet about a foot away from it and anywhere from 4 inches to 2-1/2 feet apart, depending on how modest or not so modest you want your slide to be.  Arch your back and press your butt against the pole or wall so that the only parts touching are your butt and upper back.  Come up into a demipointe on your feet.  Your hands may hold the pole above you or rest on your knees.

2.  Slide SLOWLY down the pole or wall like syrup drizzling down a syrup bottle, using your quads to control the speed.  Give yourself a count of ten to descend.

3.  Slide down halfway and then back up, repeating 20 times.  Finish in a deep squat.

You should feel this exercise in your calves, thighs and lower back.  Remember to move and breathe slowly as you feel your body slide down into a deep S shape.  Turn down the lights, turn on some rich, seductive music and try it again, matching the rhythm of your breathing to the music, dripping down the pole or wall like molten gold.  You’re an S woman now!

Sheila Kelley is an actress, author, filmmaker, classically trained dancer and passionate voice for the advancement of women in the world.  She discovered poledancing when she starred in and produced the film, Dancing at the Blue Iguana, in which she played the role of an exotic dancer.  She  combined her knowledge of ballet, exercise and poledancing into the most effective fitness dance workout ever devised for and about women – S Factor.  She is married to actor, Richard Schiff of The West Wing, and has two children, Gus and Ruby.  Visit to learn more!

Other SMW Fitness Articles

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How NOT to Run Like a Girl

Hard Bodies in Tight Times