We’re with the band

Pound class drums up a following on Martha’s Vineyard.


People like distractions. People especially like distractions when they are working out. The ultimate distraction is to give a person two slightly weighted, neon-green drumsticks, a rockin’ playlist, and a reason to hit everything in sight with zero restraint — that’s a Pound class.

Pound is a new fitness fad that made its way to Martha’s Vineyard from Los Angeles this past summer. TRX instructor Griffin Hughes from Evolve Pilates caught wind of the craze, and now holds the key to your next potential workout obsession.

“I do recommend you yell, scream, hoot, and holler,” Ms. Hughes told her Tuesday-morning class as she hit play on her lineup of beat-heavy bangers. “Into the Jungle” by X Ambassadors blared across the room, and the group of 12 unleashed everything they had.

The class takes you through 45 minutes of standing and seated sequences that test your glutes, hamstrings, and hip flexors, plus muscles you may not know you had. You’re introduced to Pound-specific terms like “toms” and “rainbows” as you pulse, drop, and bass-kick your way through three-minute routines.

“Who likes the Beastie Boys?” Ms. Hughes asked before getting into the second sequence, “Good news, it’s a good song. Bad news, it’s a complicated track.”

The tracks are challenging, but doable. You get the hang of them quickly, and the music helps. You’ll also have Ms. Hughes as your fearless leader. Her coach-like technique takes you through everything step-by-step, making the class all the more approachable. She also keeps an eye on everyone in the room so no one gets lost.

Not to mention the energy. It starts with the space. Evolve Pilates is one of those places that make you feel like you’re losing weight just looking at the equipment. The solid mix of seasoned Pounders and complete beginners also provide that additional support. The minute you enter the room, there’s a noticeable buzz — like a calm before a storm. Everyone’s fueling up and ready to release. There’s nothing quite like hitting stuff that can’t hit back.

Over the course of the workout, you’ll get in the groove, reach moments of double-, maybe triple-time, and eventually feel like some cross between John Bonham and a beat-savvy squat queen. The blurred synchronized motion of neon-green RipStix, a patented word for the lightly weighted drumsticks, whips through the air until you finally realize you’ve been both sweating and smiling for the past 45 minutes. By cooldown, there’s an unspoken group understanding that you’re probably having the most fun on the Island.

Good, clean fun.

The recommendation is to stay low in a squat position. The closer you are to the floor, the easier it is to hit it, and the more you’ll reap the class’s benefits. The squat position, and focus on the core, is the root of its Pilates overlap.

The origin of Pound itself traces back to Los Angeles in 2010. Fitness and music enthusiasts Christina Peerenboom and Kirsten Potenza realized the full-body workout they got when practicing drums without the stool. From that discovery, they created a group fitness class, and the exercise spread rampantly.

“When I first tried it, I was like ‘Wow, I found myself,’” Ms. Hughes said. “When I attended the training, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do it. It’s a lot — learning the choreography, making a connection with the group, and keeping time all at once. There are a lot of challenges.” But she makes it look easy, and has a blast doing it.

“I’m a new mom, so I don’t get out much anymore,” she laughed. “This is sort of my supplement.”

Vineyarders are all about it.

“I love the leg and core workout. And of course the energy,” returning Pound-er Monica Shelton Reusch said. “I’m also a skier, and this is really good conditioning for the winter.”

Ms. Hughes offers two weekly classes: one on Tuesday mornings at 10:15 and another on Thursday nights at 5:45.

Pound is soul therapy, and if you’re into music, exercise, or laughter in any capacity, there’s a good chance it’s for you.

Drop-ins for the 45-minute class are $20. For more information, visit evolveonthevineyard.com.