[Lorrae Bradbury | Philly Voice]

Pole dancing is having a boom in Philadelphia, with bachelorettes and fitness enthusiasts flocking to pole fitness classes so quickly that many studios have wait lists. What’s so appealing about this unique workout? I talked to several women who frequent Philly’s pole studios to find out.

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1. It makes you love your body

Even in sweats and an old T-shirt, pole is guaranteed to make you feel sexy. Melissa, 29, from New Hope, experienced this at her first class. “I’ve always been self-conscious about my body, but it made me realize that you can own your sexuality no matter what size or shape you are. Any woman looks ridiculously sexy on the pole.”

2. It’s a serious workout

Pole engages all your muscles, using your core and upper body to lift, climb, and spin (often in 6-inch heels). Ashley, 27, from the Philadelphia suburbs, hits the gym regularly, yet remembers, “After my first class, I realized I wasn’t working out certain muscle groups.” Erica, 33, from North Philadelphia added, “It will kill your abs, arms, legs, and bootie in all good ways!”

3. You feel like you’re in Cirque du Soleil

Classes start with “floor work,” which combines body-weight exercises with sensual dance moves. Then, you advance to the pole, where you climb, spin, swing, and even hang upside down like an aerialist. Once you get the basic techniques, “it feels like you’re flying” describes Amanda, 28, from South Philadelphia.