Women go vertical at Roseville studio

New business offers pole fitness lessons
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Trina Davis, like many clients at Vertical Fitness, got turned on to pole dancing through a bachelorette party.

But the experience wasn’t just a fun one-time thing. It was a full-body workout.

“I remember the next day feeling so sore,” Davis said. “It was a really good workout. I was hooked.”

Davis, 43, is now one of two instructors at Vertical Fitness Studio in Roseville, a new business offering pole dancing lessons as a fitness regimen and way for women to gain self-confidence about their bodies.

Her fellow instructor, Valerie Rush, launched the business July 25 and will celebrate the studio’s grand opening today. Rush wants to show how pole dancing works the arms, legs and core, while debunking the stigma often attached to her workout of choice.

“It’s a true fitness program,” Rush said. “We’re not strippers, we’re not associated with a gentlemen’s club.”

Her two young sons know what mommy does. She’ll even demonstrate the moves — she just doesn’t “add the sass.”

A few years ago, Rush, now 41, learned about pole dancing as an exercise gaining momentum in Los Angeles, Orange County and Las Vegas. With experience in tap dance, ballet, gymnastics, cheerleading and body building, she eagerly welcomed another athletic art form to her repertoire.

After three or four classes she decided she wanted to teach pole dancing. Problem was, a unified industry didn’t really exist. National professional competitions weren’t even introduced until 2008 by the U.S. Pole Dance Federation.

The Pole Fitness Association has since formed to establish universal standards for the training, safety, equipment, terminology and technical specifications. Currently, some instructors have different names for the same move.

A few years ago, Rush found a well-known pole expert in Las Vegas and underwent training. She earned her Pole Dance Instructors Certification (PDIC) and is accredited by the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA). She is a member of the Pole Fitness Association.

Until recently, she rented a room in another Roseville dance studio. She had drop down ceiling mounts and had to put the poles up and take them down before and after each class.

Business was good. Rush wanted a larger space of her own. Vertical Fitness offers beginning, intermediate and advanced classes in pole fitness, lap dancing and chair dancing. She also offers private lessons, and hosts bachelorette and other ladies-only parties.

Clients can start with a single class for $20 or buy up to a 15-class pass for $240. A monthly membership cost $99.95. Private lessons cost $65 and ladies-only parties for an hour are either $325 or $350 depending on location.

Rush said her studio is the first in Roseville to offer pole fitness, which she attributes partly to why business has been slow as the fitness program struggles to catch on locally. One loyal client, Renee Cruise, took her first pole lesson with Rush in October.

“I thought it would be more fun than going to the gym,” Cruise, 49, said. “I’d be more inspired.”

She said she found her “inner sexy,” has lost nearly 15 pounds and now has a pole in her house.

“It’s just been a great opportunity to find female empowerment,” Cruise said. “(Valerie) basically said you’re never too old to do something like this. So I’m never going to stop doing this, no matter how old I am.”

Davis grabbed onto the pole a couple years ago. The 43-year-old Auburn resident sees pole dancing as strenuous performance art, like Cirque du Soleil.

“The best thing is to think of it as a neutral thing,” Davis said. “It’s what you bring to the pole. There’s all shades. We embrace them all.”

Most classes have about six clients who range in age from 18 to late 40s. The instructor turns down the lights, switches on the disco ball — the low light makes women less nervous, Rush said — and women exercise to the tunes of Top 40 hits.

The studio has spinning poles, not static ones. Clients exercise barefoot, in socks, in tennis shoes or in high heels. Rush advises women to wear yoga pants. She always has women try each move on both sides, so they don’t develop a “Popeye arm on one side and Olive Oyl arm on the other.”

“You know what? Anybody can do this,” Cruise said. “A whole new side of yourself comes out that you didn’t know was there. There’s a bounce in your step. People noticed a change in me."

Sena Christian can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.


Vertical Fitness grand opening
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20
Where: Vertical Fitness Studio, 107 S. Harding Blvd. in Roseville
Cost: Free
Info: or (916) 797-7653