POUND, the Drums-Inspired Class That'll Kick Your Ass

L.A.'s hottest fitness class (now in Canada!) lets you pound it out like that cool AF lady drummer in Beyoncé's band

Photo: Mark Sacro pound workout

A POUND workout in session (Photo: Mark Sacro)

Secret air-band fitness fans listen up. A new workout lets you channel your inner Meg White and sculpt your bod into a lean, mean rocking machine. Pound is a drumming-inspired workout that’s the brainchild of L.A. based recreational drummers and lifelong athletes Kirsten Potenza and Cristina Peerenboom.

“It’s so easy to follow but you also kind of feel like you’re a rock star, like you’re doing something way more complicated than you are,” explains Potenza.

That rock-star vibe comes via POUND’s patented Ripstix, a pair of weighted drumsticks that you use to keep the beat (and amp up the cardio factor) throughout the 45-minute “cardio jam session” that borrows from Pilates, among other exercise routines to create a full body workout that’s fun. “Ripstix work like an extension of your arm,” says Potenza. “They’re low-weight [they weigh a quarter of a lb each) and you perform high reps with them; you go through about 15,000 arm pumps in one class.” Created in 2011, the workout has taken off and is taught in gyms around the world. See a list of Canadian gyms offering it here. Don’t sweat it if it’s not available in your area, the ladies have also created a DVD. The pair talked to FLARE about creating a new craze and why drummers are really like athletes.

Photo: Mark Sacro Kirsten Potenza and Cristina Peerenboom of POUND workout

Kirsten Potenza and Cristina Peerenboom of POUND (Photo: Mark Sacro)

How did you come up with idea?
One day we were squatting over the drum kit and we wanted to keep playing, so we kept squatting there and realized that while our arms were moving and we were holding the squat, it was really similar to principles we learned in Pilates. Basically, we had to stabilize the whole time to counteract our arm motions. When we realized that we could apply this principle to every single pose and every single exercise that we knew, we had the idea for a group fitness class.

How do you go from that idea to creating an effective workout?
The goal from day one was to create something that was easy to pick up but also modifiable for every fitness level, from beginner to Olympic athlete. The foundation of the workout is four major positions [like a squat or lunge]. Each track focuses on movement using one major position. Every song is built like its own mini-journey, so you focus on syncing every single movement you do with a beat. Because you’re focused on the beat and syncing up with everyone in class, you end up pushing yourself harder.

And syncing the movement to a beat is just like drumming.
POUND is the only workout where you can hear your body’s physical exertion. You can hear how hard you’re hitting from left to right and you can re-adjust. It’s also one of the only workouts where you get to see that you’re part of the music. You’re not just floating on top of the music; you are the drummer in these songs. It gives you confidence and ownership of that song.

Drumming seems like a good workout on its own.
It’s a crazy good workout [you can burn between 400 and 900+ calories per hour]. There’s actually research on how drumming really should constitute a sport because [when you drum] you reach your V02 max, you’re burning so many calories an hour and you’re getting a great body-brain workout from integrating your right and left brain. You also get this drummer’s high, which you only achieve from drumming and high intensity exercise.

You have sort of an Odd Couple backstory: Kirsten is a wild child and Cristina is an obsessive fitness fanatic. Kirsten, what’s your best fitness advice for a wild child?
I’m going to go with something my mom always said to me: “Simple is superb.” If you keep it simple and go with what you know, you’re going to be better off. Also, find a community and a support group—everything is better when it’s shared and you’re much more likely to succeed when you have that community supporting you.

Cristina, what’s your advice for the fitness fanatic?
If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it. I used to think that in order to be fit, you had to go to the gym and you had to do X amount of cardio and eat X amount of calories. If I’d quieted down a little and listened to what I enjoyed like I do now, I would have realized that what I needed wasn’t out there and that I needed to build it. So test the waters and see what feels good.

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