Class Feature: Strength & Conditioning with Ruby Carrigan
Ruby Carrigan began working at Flirt Fitness Studio in December of 2017, but has been a student of studio owner Amy Schoonover since 2014. However, her interest in pole started a year prior to that in 2013, when she saw a video of Jenyne Butterfly performing a routine from 2011. She thought to herself, “Someday, I’ll be able to do this whole routine.” Now, she practically can.
Ruby’s interests don’t leave us surprised that she loves pole: her other interests include yoga, contortion, and “freaking people out with what my body can do,” in addition to a proclaimed love of mountains. Being bendy, loving movement, and embracing heights? Definitely sounds like pole to us.
In the past, she’s taught classes like elite spin, elite prep, beginning and intermediate spin, and flexibility. This coming session though, she’s introducing something brand new to Flirt Fitness Studio: a class all about strength and conditioning. Ruby’s degree program at Western Michigan University (WMU) in Exercise Science has provided her with extensive knowledge of anatomy, exercise physiology, exercise nutrition, kinesiology, and strength & conditioning practices; she’s graduating soon, and excited to put her education and expertise to work by helping women at Flirt.
When she found her degree program at WMU, Ruby remembers an epiphany: “This is it! This will take my pole journey to the next level!” She reflects that many pole dancers reach a certain level of skill, and plateau; she’s seen it happen at Flirt. These plateaus can be frustrating and disheartening for women who are training, practicing, and coming to class but still not excelling in new skills. The new strength and conditioning class hopes to help women avoid that plateau by introducing the concept of cross training, or engaging yourself in more than one type of exercise to improve your fitness and performance. “If someone is only pole dancing then their muscles and joints are only ever getting exercised in one way, using a select group of muscles and joints…Creating a strong foundation in [muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints] is essential for reducing risk of injury and promoting steady, upward progression.”
Women taking Ruby’s new 90-minute class are in for a full-body treat:
“The class will start out with 10 minutes of cardio; then 10 minute intervals of arms, legs, abs, back, and shoulder workouts – 10 minutes for each category. The last half an hour will be a mix of active flexibility workouts, yoga and passive stretching.”
The class isn’t just about working out, though. It includes a nutrition component as well. Students will be prompted to track their diet for the first three weeks of the class using the Cronometer app, and send in a nutrition report. Ruby will assess the reports that her students submit, and give recommendations on how to address nutrient deficiencies, meeting macro and micro nutrient needs, and bring attention to other dietary issues that she notices. This aspect of the class will be reinforced when students receive a copy of Carrigan’s own nutrition guide, to further educate them on making sound decisions about what foods to fuel their bodies with.
This unique class is bringing a new area of expertise to Flirt by addressing the many hurdles dancers, as athletes, face. Breaking down cross training into digestible 90-minute classes, simplifying nutrition with an easy-to-use app, and providing personalized support will all help to strengthen the journeys of all types of women at Flirt. Let me emphasize: this class isn’t just for women who love the gym, women who count their macros, or advanced level polers trying to bust out crazy tricks. This class is for women who are new to pole and want to create a solid foundation, for women who have been struggling with inverting for months, for women who “just don’t have the upper body strength for that move.” This class is for anyone and everyone, at any point in their journey, to take themselves to the next level.
To women who feel intimidated by taking a conditioning class, Ruby says: “You are stronger than you think.”
The class will debut on January 28, and is offered on Monday evenings at 6:15 pm, at the Grand Rapids studio on Plainfield Avenue. For women that are interested but can’t make the class when it’s offered, it’s suggested that you start to track your diet with the Cronometer app and add in 10 minutes of resistance training each day (squats, push-ups, crunches, etc.). Ruby plans to run the class in future sessions, so keep an eye out for future opportunities to join.
“I want to teach women the skills they need to build a healthy strong foundation, not only in the body but in the mind as well, that will give them the confidence and strength they need to keep going on their journey.”