How Jennifer Lopez Mastered Pole Dancing For 'Hustlers' And Super Bowl Halftime Show

Closeup of Jennifer Lopez with long center-parted hair
Shutterstock | 564025

Health & Lifestyle
Fatima Araos

When it comes to fitness and dancing, it seems Jennifer Lopez can do anything. But when she was preparing for her role as a pole dancer in the 2019 film Hustlers, the 53-year-old actress and singer had to start from scratch.

“I mean, this is just as hard as anything I’ve ever learned,” she said in a video uploaded to her YouTube channel. “It might be the hardest.”

For the role, she transformed part of her home into a studio – complete with a pole and Marley flooring – and underwent a crash course under trainer Johanna Sapakie.

Mastering The Pole In Six Weeks

Lopez had to master the pole in just over a month. “Cardi [B] was telling me it took her years. She’s great at it, but it took her years to kinda, like, figure out all this stuff, and Johanna’s trying to teach me in a matter of six weeks,” she said in the video.

Talking to Women’s Health about coaching the Hustlers star, Sapakie said, “[E]veryone, including Jennifer Lopez, started out at step one.” But because Lopez had decades of experience as a dancer, the trainer “was able to easily communicate with her in a way she could assimilate quickly.”

Training Off The Pole

The “Jenny from the Block” singer’s routine was not confined to the pole. She and Sapakie also did cross-training, concentrating on their core.

And as shown in the video, it was tough! Lopez ended up with scrapes and bruises on her legs, but in her interview with Women’s Health, Sapakie gave her credit for being “somebody who does not shy away from that discomfort.”

Working Out And Having Fun

It was also Sapakie who coached the Marry Me star when she was preparing for her Super Bowl Halftime performance in 2020. For Super Bowl, the training was even more strenuous – it went on for four months, with the duo sometimes putting in 12-hour days at the studio, four to five times per week.

It was definitely a hardcore routine but as Sapakie said, “You’re not thinking about it as a workout because you’re having fun.”

Banging Bodies

The result? A credible performance by Lopez as a strip club dancer in Hustlers and an energetic Super Bowl Halftime show. Not to mention what might just be the hardest abs in Hollywood!

Sapakie said, “Without even going to the gym, our bodies were banging because we were doing the activity for 12 hours a day.”