Not a One-Hit Wonder

Pound’s drumsticks make every class feel more like a concert

January 8, 2013

Pound instructor Nicola Haire-Rice shows off the “rainbow” movement.

Just as everyone’s clamoring to lose pounds, Crunch is gaining Pound.

What It Is: “It’s the Trojan Horse of working out,” says Kirsten Potenza, who developed the drum-based exercise program with her pal Cristina Peerenboom. The L.A. duo realized that smacking drumsticks on the floor turns out to be an unbeatable way to burn calories.

They pulled together elements from plyometrics, aerobics and Pilates and turned the whole thing into a 45-minute drum solo. What makes it really killer is their other invention: Ripstix, which are plastic, weighted versions of drumsticks. A quarter pound doesn’t sound like much until you’ve done 15,000 reps.

“The day we switched from wooden to those, every muscle felt it,” Potenza says.

Even more muscles are feeling it now that Pound is drumming up interest outside of California. Potenza and Peerenboom came to D.C. in the fall to lead a teacher training, which is how Crunch is able to offer the class here.

Moves: Each song in the class soundtrack — a mix of rock, dubstep, electro and hip-hop — brings new exercises. Expect to start by squatting down, hitting the sticks on the floor in front of you and then popping back up and hitting the sticks together above your head. The lunge series has you turn to the right, lower down and give the floor a whack, then repeat in the center and to the left. “Rainbows” require leaning to each side and hitting the floor with the stick, while “discos” combine lateral leg lifts and stick claps.

To work your abs, sit down on the mat in a Pilates C-curve position (legs in front of you and back rounded). The drumming motion reminded Peerenboom of the arm pumping of the Pilates Hundred, so you’ll be pounding beside your legs while twisting from side to side and lifting your feet off the ground. To target the thighs and butt, you’ll get into a hip bridge and thrust up while slamming the sticks.

Workout: “I was sore for days,” says 24-year-old Camille March, who tried a class with the Pound founders in the fall and was back at the Chevy Chase Crunch launch Saturday. What hurt the most? Her butt. “You don’t realize how much you’re activating your muscles,” she says.

For folks who couldn’t take a total pounding, instructor Nicola Haire-Rice also showed off less-aggressive versions of exercises. Mostly, the modification was hitting the air instead of the floor, which doesn’t seem as fun.

Crowd: Everyone wants to be a rock star. Jeffrey Slavin, 57, says the sticks “add a new dimension” to the gym. Caroline DeSantis, 18, appreciated that the sticks “took your mind off the burning sensation in your legs.” Both seem likely to stick with it.

Pound, 5100 Wisconsin Ave. NW and 555 12th St. NW. For details and a free day pass, visit Crunch.com.

Home Work: Rather rock out at home? Enroll in Pound’s new Backstage Pass program at Poundfit.com. For $15, you’ll get a pair of Ripstix and a month of online workout videos. Keep it up for $10 a month.

Vicky Hallett is a MisFits columnist and the Fit editor for Express.
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