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A Brief History Of Stripper Pole Fitness

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stripper pole fitness

I like to think of myself as TFM’s resident expert on fitness. Is it because I’m in peak physical condition? No. It’s more along the lines of “no one else has claimed that title.” I’m so un-athletic that I suck at fantasy sports (I once left Jacoby Ellsbury in my lineup for two weeks when he was on the DL). Anyhow, I still feel the need to stay up-to-date on the latest fitness trends and there’s one that truly baffles me: stripper pole exercise classes.

Back in the olden days, stripper poles were something scantily-clad woman performed slutty ballet on. Stripper poles used to be lightning rods for bad decisions and daddy issues. This was during the long-gone period I like to call “2005.”

Somewhere along the way, like a Pokémon you trained, it started to evolve. Millennials came and commandeered the stripper poll to be one of fitness’ latest crazes (along with things like P90X and shake weights). Within a few short years, every middle-aged suburban housewife was dancing like Kris Benson’s ex-wife while trying to lose a few pounds.

Gotta give it up to whoever thought of this, though. It’s free market capitalism at its finest. You take something so risqué and frowned upon that most people wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pool (nor spin around said pole), say you’ll lose a few pounds with it, pair it with an infomercial queen like Jane Fonda, maybe bring it on Shark Tank, and *BOOM*. I’m sure those people are millionaires right now. There are people out there struggling to fix this world by finding cures for diseases, end wars, and work out peace treaties… yet somewhere out there, some dude is set for life because he was like, “Stripper poles can give you six pack abs!”

Throughout the last years of the Obama administration, infomercials for pole dancing exercise programs ran all the time in between episodes of Judge Judy and Dr. Phil. Even my old college started holding pole dancing classes in the gym, except instead of calling them what they really were, they came up with the name “vertical fitness classes.” Classic.

Have I ever tried a pole dancing class? No. Do I have any plans to? No; I prefer any spinning I feel to be because of a hangover, thank you very much. But if I get tired twenty minutes into my workout at the gym, who am I to judge someone who found a fun way to work out? And hey, as a famous NFL Bud Light commercial about superstitions once said, “It’s only weird if it doesn’t work.”

Image via Shutterstock

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Previously known for being the 4th best improv comedian in the state of New Jersey, he enjoyed a brief career in politics by serving on his fraternity's eboard until a scandal not as bad as the Lewinsky scandal, but more memorable than Whitewater lead to his resignation. Now, he spends his time making God awful jokes in chapter meetings, rooting for a shitty New Jersey hockey team, and serving on the congressional committee set to determine whether Oprah Winfrey should be classified as a cult or a religion.

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