“It’s an art as well as fitness basically we refer to it as vertical gymnastics,” says pole fitness competitor Nikki Schoettler.
“If they’ve done yoga, it’s like yoga in the sky. If they’ve done it’s like cheerleading, it’s like cheerleading on a vertical pole,” adds Aerial Angels owner Jennifer Sihavong.
Meet the ladies of Aerial Angels, a group of pole fitness athletes who find strength in a sport that pushes their body to the limits.
“Fitness wise I’ve never been in better shape in my life than since I’ve started pole. To feel strong, I feel strong and not just fit,” said Schoettler who also is an instructor at Aerial Angels in Fresno.
“The strength that you are building, you are constantly attaining new moves, each day you achieve a new goal,” said pole fitness athlete/instructor Jodi Deister.
Pole fitness has also exploded as a competitive sport on the regional and national levels. Nikki Schoettler is training for the Pacific Pole Championships in Los Angeles.
“Basically I’m competing in that top level before you can go pro. It’s my first time competing and I’ve done a couple showcase performances,” said Schoettler.
“I think her prospects are really good. She’s a strong athlete,” said Sihavong. “I think she will do well, she’s really strong, she’s dedicated, she’s been working her but off and we can’t wait to see her compete.”
Whether it’s through competition or just a good workout, it’s clear these athletes can knock down any negative thoughts that may have been previously associated with the sport.
“At first I kind of hid it a little more, but the more I do it, I’m just so passionate about it. If they see what I do then they understand what it is,” said Schoettler.