“There’s a huge stigma around the pole fitness industry, and we’re working to overcome it,” says City Pole founder Kylee Sallak. “The thing you have to know is that it’s a phenomenal full-body workout. It engages all the muscles: the core, the upper body, the lower body. It’s great for flexibility. And it’s strength training using your own body weight—one of the best ways to get a workout.”
After three years teaching at a pole studio in Midtown, Sallak—who had always been a dancer—realized that she wanted to go out on her own. She rented a second-floor space on Beach Street and began organizing her team. (Berna and Sam are pictured at right.)
The new 1,900-square-foot studio can handle up to five clients at a time. The 13-foot-tall poles are brass, and because skin sticks to the metal far better than fabric, minimal clothing is recommended and body lotion is discouraged. (No one is naked.)
“After a normal workout doing whatever, the endorphins are rushing and you’re feeling good,” says Sallak. “But after pole fitness, you feel all that and also more confident and empowered. And you’re smiling and enjoying yourself the whole time. It’s not torture. It’s not like, ‘Get me off of this bike!'” Of course, pole fitness is also artistic. “There’s no getting around that this is a sensual way to move your body. It’s a means of emotionally expressing whatever you’re going through. It’s dance.”
Clients are welcome to visit the private Rejuvenation Room for post-pole non-religious meditation. They might try the guided written exercise, which involves writing one’s fears and/or frustrations on special paper that dissolves when placed in the fountain, or take your aggression out on the punching bag.
As you might expect, the vast majority of pole fitness clients are women. “But I’d like to see more men try it. They have no idea how hard a workout this is.”
City Pole is at 8 Beach (between W. Broadway and Varick), 2nd floor; 646-245-3599; citypolestudio.com. Seventy-minute classes are $80; private lessons and event hosting are also available. City Pole also offers 45-minute group meditation daily at 8:30 a.m. for $12.