Workout regimen helps you 'Pound' away the weight

| Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012, 9:51 p.m.

As lively dance music begins playing, instructor Amy Moreland challenges the few dozen women in her class: “Are you guys ready?”

The exercisers raise their drumsticks, and the workout begins. They bend their knees, dip down and rise — then click their drumsticks in the air. They bend side to side, and click their sticks in between movements. They sit on the floor, lift their legs, and click. They sit down, and pound the floor around them with their sticks.

“Who's not feeling it in their legs?” Moreland asks.

No one raises her hand. They're huffing and puffing and feeling the burn — and smiling and laughing, too.

This “Pound” workout, a cross between drumming and aerobics, is making its debut in the Pittsburgh area after becoming a hit on the West Coast. Moreland, owner of You Rock Fitness in Wexford, went to a training session in New York last month to get certification to teach Pound.

In the workout, said to torch 600 to 800 calories in an hour, exercisers use Ripstix — big drumsticks that weigh about a quarter of a pound — to hold, maneuver and click as a complement to the aerobics, which they do while listening to energetic rock music. Soundtracks for classes often include artists like Rihanna and Linkin Park, which make the intense calorie-burning fun, Moreland says.

“That constant movement of your arms keeps your core nicely engaged,” she says. “You're doing squats, lunges, an overall workout, and a cardio workout all at the same time. ... It's meant to really be a stress-reliever as well as a calorie-burner.”

People who have tried the class at You Rock Fitness have given Moreland rave feedback.

“They like that it's different,” Moreland says. “It works different muscle groups that they haven't done before.”

A Pound class can accommodate all ability levels: Some of the less-fit participants just won't be able to bend as much. Although Pound is open to both men and women, participants so far have been overwhelmingly female at Moreland's class.

Esmerelda Brown, 47, of Wexford, started taking the Pound class as part of her get-healthy regimen. She says the exercise is different and more exciting than other forms because of the drumsticks, which are “something you can focus on.”

Pound's creators — Kirsten Potenza and Cristina Peerenboom, drummers and fitness buffs from the Los Angeles area — say they wanted to combine the benefits of Pilates and cardiovascular training with their love for drumming, which gives Pounders a sense of rocking out.

“We were searching for something that really kept you engaged,” says Potenza, 27. Pound, she says, has “all the things we love in the fitness world.”

Potenza and Peerenboom invented Pound about two years ago, and the workout became popular and trendy in California and the West Coast. Recently, instructors have been getting certification on the East Coast and introducing this part of the country to Pound, which especially works the core muscles.

Taking Pound classes lets people tap into more than an exercise regiment, Potenza says. They can indulge in fantasies about being a rock star as they pound on the drumsticks, and that's a big part of the fun.

“Just like Zumba appeals to a person who always wanted to be a dancer, growing up, people who had these fantasies of being rock stars” are drawn to Pound, Potenza says. “It allows you to slip into a realm that the average, everyday person isn't necessarily allowed to, or doesn't have the opportunity to, on a regular basis.”


Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 412-320-7824.

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