Get to know your body!
When you first start stretching don't compare yourself to anyone else. Each and every person is different. I often meet girls who are very flexible but lack the strength to be able to perform certain moves up the pole and frequently get injured and then I meet girls who are so strong and stable but wish they had nicer lines. It is hard to find a happy medium.
While some exercises might work well for you, they might not work well for your best friend.
How do you get to know your body? Take as many classes as you can and find someone you like. You can also purchase many online classes too. Michelle Shimmy just released her splits tutorial and you can also purchase my middle splits/ back and hips (which is my favourite)/stretching with resistance bands and we will soon have a new contortion video out with Felcity Logan.
Stretching and contortion are very scary when you first start out because you will no doubt you have a teacher who is insanely more flexible than you. This is when it becomes important to take responisibility for your own body. For example: I have very tight shoulders, I can rotate them once they are warm but I could never even dream of doing this action cold, like some of my more bendy friends. So when I train or take a class with someone who asks me to rotate them before I am ready, I take the time to stretch them out and do the exercises I need to do to be prepared to try the next move. If you don't feel ready then don't do it. If you know you need to grab a strap and stretch them out before you can do a bridge or back bend then do it. Go slowly and make sure you feel comfortable.
The same goes for legs, if you have very tight hamstrings and some exercises hurt them then find out why? See a physio/pilates instructor or sports doctor to help you get the strength you need to perform the moves you want to perform. Educate yourself. Find out as much as you can about your body and the areas you need to work.
Work out where you bend most? Is it your back, shoulders or hips?
If you are not sure what your strengths and weaknesses are then ask your pole teacher.
One thing I notice about training with other pole dancers is the bendy ones often stretch for an hour or longer before even jumping on the pole and the strong ones warm up for 20 minutes and then get going. For me I need to warm up for a minimum of one hour to be able to do anything back bendy or splitty. <3 When I train sometimes I only get on the pole for 20 mins but I stretch and warm up for 1.5 hours. I rarely sit in the splits but I use active stretches, reisistance bands and ankle weights to get my splits. I also always wear a contortion belt when warming up to protect my back. I bring a pillow or knee pads for my knees so they don't get hurt. There is so much to bring along in my pole bag just to stretch! I bring blocks to help support my wrists in lunges and lately I take a yoga wheel to stretch out my back and shoulders. I use the walls, chairs, oh god anything I can find!
So get adventurous with your stretching, educate yourself and learn as much as you can about your body so you can stretch safely, breathe and get to be the bendiest you possible. <3