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Drumsticks and Sweat: How POUND Helps You Rock-out While You Work-out

by Yelena Kibasova

Winter 2019

Rhythm is a driving force behind everything we do — from how we walk to how we breathe. A combination of rhythm and music can bring out deep emotions, and it can even enhance motivation and performance. It’s no wonder rhythm has played a key role in fitness for decades!

The Birth of POUND®

Back in 2011, two women who were recreational drummers and former college athletes decided to combine their passion for drumming and exercise into a creative new workout. They explained that after being forced to play drums without a stool and squatting over the drum kit, they realized this could be an effective way to exercise! That’s how POUND® was born. Although this exercise option has been around for a while, many television viewers were introduced to it and its energy when they saw the beloved character Kate drumming her heart out in an episode of NBC’s “This Is Us.”

A Unique Workout with Many Benefits

In POUND®, students use lightly-weighted drumsticks, known as Ripstix®, to drum to the rhythm of the music. The drumming is done alongside movements inspired by yoga and Pilates. What’s the result? You get a full-body workout that combines strength training, conditioning and cardio.

The creators of POUND® claim that you can burn up to 900 or more calories per hour and drum yourself to a stronger and more sculpted body. The class can also help you improve:

  • Rhythm
  • Coordination
  • Agility
  • Speed
  • Endurance
  • Musicality (yes, really!)

According to the program’s website, “Each 2-4 minute song is carefully calibrated with interval peaks and extended fat burning sequences, providing you with the best workout in the shortest span of time.” The Ripstix® add extra weight to each movement, helping to increase stability and core strength. The sticks also assist with working muscles in the shoulders, forearms, triceps and back.

POUND® founders also believe that, “The rhythm of drumming permeates the entire brain to improve focus, increase higher-level thinking and decision-making skills, boost the immune system, lower blood pressure and decrease chronic pain, anxiety, and fatigue.”

Research does in fact support some of these claims. Studies have found that synchronizing your movement to the beat of a song can help your body use energy more efficiently. This was proven in a 2012 study which showed that when cyclists biked to a beat, they needed seven percent less oxygen to do the same work as cyclists who were not synchronizing their movement.

Researchers out of London have even gone so far as to say that music can be thought of as a “type of legal performance-enhancing drug.”

Music Matters!

Does POUND® sound like something you’d be interested in? Be aware that the type of music you choose makes a difference. There are two important factors you should consider for workout music:

  • Tempo
  • Rhythm response
    (how much a song makes you want to move)

When fun, upbeat music is turned on, most people instinctively want to tap their foot or start dancing. Music that is more happy and upbeat has a tendency to make you want to move more. Many people also associate exercise with boredom and exhaustion, so music helps shift that association by making exercise seem more attractive. In essence, music is a distraction!

Inspiring POUND® Testimonials

Kara Mallak, a POUND® instructor in Lakeville, Minnesota, refers to the workout as cathartic. “Communal drumming (hitting stuff) to different genres of music is a great way to work your muscles and an even better, healthier way to release emotions,” she said. “POUND® is all about having fun, feeling the music and focusing on the person inside. The choreography makes sense, feels good in your body and is really fun. The music helps to get the heart pumping and get you in the moment.”

Mallak also said that her students claim the class makes them feel happy and even “a little powerful.” Though Mallak teaches seven other group fitness formats, she feels that POUND® is different than any other class she instructs. She describes the class as having “a sense of belonging in our tribe, fantastic core, leg and glute workouts, and a huge smile after leaving everything on your mat!”

Jeni Bozic, a regular POUND® student at her local gym in Minneapolis, has a very convincing review about the workout. She says, “I like how different it is. It’s not just about being on the beat like in a dance class. You can actually hear when you are together with the rest of the class and with the instructor, and that’s very satisfying.”

Bozic also pointed out that the different positions used in POUND® keep the workout interesting. It helps you work muscles you might not usually use in a regular dance fitness class.

Is POUND® Your Next New Workout?

Right now, you may be asking yourself:

  • Is there a POUND® class that is accessible to me?
  • Is this class for everyone?
    Can I do it?

According to the creators of POUND®, this innovative workout is designed to be accessible to all fitness levels. This was one of the reasons Mallak (mentioned earlier) decided to teach the format. She pointed out that while POUND® is an energetic and challenging workout, it can be done by anyone.

“You can keep your feet planted to the floor for the entire class for no impact, or you can add jumps and kicks if cardio is what you want,” Mallak said. She also stated, “You can get low and hit the ground hard or you can stand tall, take it easy and air drum.”

Bozic is in agreement as well, saying she loves how just about anyone can take the class. “You can air drum if you aren’t strong enough or flexible enough to get to the floor, but you still get a great workout,” she said.

On another positive note, Bozic recently took the POUND® training course to become an instructor. She said that she enjoys being able to offer many different formats to her students, and this one is particularly unique.

As End Note

If you’re looking for something unique to try or you just want to drum your heart out like Kate, give POUND® a try. You might just come out of the class feeling like a total rockstar!

The POUND® format is currently taught by an estimated 18,000 instructors in more than 94 countries. You can visit: to find a class in your area. Don’t want to head to a gym? You can also do it from the comfort of your own home. The POUND® website sells an at-home DVD system which gives you nine workouts, your own set of Ripstix® and healthy recipes.

About the Author:
Yelena Kibasova of is a Certified Fitness Instructor who got a fresh chance at a healthier life after having bariatric surgery in 2008. She has maintained a 150 pound weight-loss and has inspired her fitness students for the last four years. She believes in a holistic approach when it comes to managing her overall health.


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