Thrive: Do The Twist

Pole fitness is a sexy spin on your usual exercise routine.

photo via shutterstock


The more skin, the better.”

The answer Fullbody Fitness Club co-owner Jenly Deiter provides to my question, “What should I wear?” shouldn’t have come as a surprise. After all, this is a pole-fitness class.  

“It’s better when the skin sticks to the pole,” she explains.

Truth be told, this isn’t my first time at the rodeo. Years ago, a friend invited me to take classes at her studio for “fun.” Within minutes, I realized I had overshot my confidence as I watched women twice my size swing around with the grace of swans while I managed to entangle all four limbs (as well as the alluring little ensemble I was sporting). 

For a brief moment, I question my decision to reopen old ego wounds, until I conclude that I’m now older, wiser and sufficiently humbled enough to give it another go.

So I arrive for Fullbody’s beginner’s class wearing yoga pants and a tank. Inside are five, 10-foot-high silver poles, each anchored to black circular bases. All of the students are wearing spandex shorty-shorts.

I begin rolling my pants. “Higher,” says my instructor, Nikkie. “The more skin on the pole, the better.”

When the music begins, we each grab one. Most of the women are younger, although one mother/daughter duo arrives just as we begin a warm up to “fire up the large muscles,” Nikkie explains.

She leads us through a round of Pole Push Ups: hands on the base, legs up and knees wrapped around the pole. Five is the goal. I get through three. Pathetic, given my fitness claim to fame is the ability to do 20 military-style push-ups with ease. 

After practicing Pole Walks, in which we’re elevated on our toes, hips swaying as we slink our way around the pole, we prep for a move Nikkie calls the Skater into a Back Hook.

Demonstrating, she hooks her knee around the pole, grabs it high, and pushes off with the outside leg, drifting into an effortless spin. When she makes it halfway, she plants her feet again and falls into a backwards spin in the opposite direction.

She patiently demonstrates more than once until I get it. By the time I do, everyone else has moved on to the Inverted Crucifix, Pole Climb and sensual Gluteal Isolations.

“A lot of people are used to hiding their body and sexuality,” Nikkie says when I ask for tips on how to get loose. “Here, you can just let it go. It’s not catty. We’re all incredibly supportive.”

This proves to be true. Within moments, one of my classmates offers a piece of ginger gum to ease my self-inflicted vertigo.

“That was a beautiful spin,” she says with a smile.  

Verdict: You’ll use muscles — and confidence — you never knew you had. Men and women of all ages and skill levels are welcome.  

4070 Brownsville Road, Brentwood; 412/253-2512, $20/single class; $85/five pole classes and one open gym; $150/10 pole classes and two open gyms

Eat This Month

Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice has been shown to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress following a strenuous exercise program, says UPMC sports dietitian Jeffrey Lucchino. Drinking two 8-ounce servings, one in the morning and one in the evening, is ideal, he says. Additionally, cherries are known for their antioxidant capacity and contain a high amount of melatonin, which may help to improve the quality and duration of your sleep.


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