Video: Hull pole dancer Emma Nicholson medals at British Championships
IT'S a strenuous workout that sometimes leaves her battered and bruised.
But Hull pole dance instructor Emma Nicholson pushed herself to the limits to place second at the British Pole Superstar Championships.
The national competition had 27 limber competitors, all flexing for a medal.
Emma, 36, said: "A lot of pole dancing is like contortion.
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"I don't have a background in dance and couldn't even do the splits, but I can get my leg around my head now."
The pole dance instructor entered the instructors category and won her medal against seven finalists.
The levels to compete at were beginner, intermediate, advanced, instructor, professional and men's.
Even though she did not come away the winner, Emma was thrilled to get as far as she did.
She said: "It was my first competition, so it was a quite a big deal for me.
"I did it for the challenge – I felt like I needed to experience what it's like.
"I encourage girls at my studio to enter and come up with routines, so I needed to see what it was like."
She started pole dancing seven years ago and said she was terrible but fell in love with it.
Now, she owns Studio Boutique Pole Dance Studio in west Hull.
Throughout the country, there is a growing amount of pole dancing competitions.
At the British Pole Superstar Championships, the dancers are marked on strength and endurance, theme and cohesion between the music and moves.
Emma danced to Bonfire by dance act Knife Party and made her mark in a scarlet bikini and matching braid in her hair, so her routine needed to fit the fiery theme.
She said: "It had to be big with big impact and a lot of punchy movements.
"Over the past few months, it's taken up a heck of a lot of time and caused a fair few bruises while I was practising.
"There's one move that always bruised my ribs while I practised, so it would hurt whenever I turned over in bed."
She has been working intensely for the past few months to put together the routine and get fit enough to perform it.
The instructor said: "You have to make sure you don't look shattered because you're marked on endurance.
"On top of teaching classes every night, I'd stay for another hour to practise my routine."
The huge interest from women wanting to take pole dancing classes has given the former primary school teacher the opportunity to instruct full-time.