Straight Up Stick (aka Pole-lateez)

Gin Miller
Year Released: 2007

Categories: Total Body Workouts

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I've hung onto this workout through several purges so thought I'd write a quick review. This workout has stayed in my collection because it's great when I need a light day or want to work neglected areas. You only need a dowel and a mat as the other reviewers note. I particularly like this workout after I've done other types of outdoor fitness (I ride horses).



This is a really nice little 35-minute strength workout led by Gin Miller. Although the entire body gets worked (including a good balance challenge section), the workout specifically focuses on opening up the front of the body, especially the shoulders and upper chest.

No equipment is required except for an unweighted stick. I use my Firm dowel, and donít feel the need to secure a rolled towel around the middle for comfort as Gin does. Gin wears shoes, but barefoot works as well. She instructs live and mirror-cues. The music gives the routine a peaceful, mellow vibe.

Straight Up Stick works the lower body with squats and stationary lunges, and the core with seated twists and teasers (tucking the stick under the knees for assistance). Gin works the upper body with a variety of isometric squeeze moves, interspersed with stretches which she intensifies by incorporating the stick (for example, holding the stick at each end and raising it up over the head).

This routine isnít intense, but it leaves you feeling nice and opened up in the front body. I enjoy pulling out Straight Up Stick when Iím especially tight and stiff in the upper body due to too much hunching over a computer, or after recovering from a bad cold (you know, the kind where it feels like you've been hacking up a lung for about a week straightÖ.).

Straight Up Stick is available on DVD paired with Salsa Walk, a cardio routine (which Iíll get around to trying one of these days!).

Instructor Comments:
Gin Miller's creativity and experience as a video fitness instructor really show. She presents as professional yet friendly and humorous.



I think this was initially available from Gin's site as a download under the title "Pole- lateez." It was then released on DVD-R as Straight Up Stick and is now available on a regular DVD with Salsa Walk, which is the version I have, purchased from Collage Video. Gin is by herself in what I am pretty sure is her own production studio - I've seen the set (or a similar version) in some of her other videos. Hardwood floors, kind of a minty green wall with glass blocks part way up and an art deco type painting of her in the background. I like it; it is nice and bright, clean and pleasant. Gin is wearing black pants and a reddish orange top and sneakers. I've done the workout twice, both times in bare feet and think that shoes aren't really necessary if you don't want to wear them. The music is mellow instrumental, nothing recognizable, but seems a good fit with the workout. Gin uses a wooden dowel with a hand towel wrapped around the middle, secured by athletic tape. At the beginning of the workout, a trailer appears across the screen specifically saying not to use a weighted bar. The dowel is used for nearly every exercise, so it really is necessary (you could probably substitute a broomstick). It is not a strenuous workout, but some of the positions present a little bit of challenge for me (the muscles of my chest and shoulders are particularly tight due to some surgeries). She does hip hinges, squats and lunges and some one legged balance moves and has you position your hands differently on the stick to vary where you feel it. There is also a move where you stand the dowel on end, press it into the floor and kind of pull yourself up, like you are getting out of water. Next it is down to the floor for some seated stretches and twists and v-sits, then you are back to your feet for some tricep extensions and back stretches. In one move, she has you roll the stick down your back, over your butt and then back up and she says something like if your arms are too short, or your butt is too big, write in to her, she has others available for sale. I love her sense of humor. At the end of the approximately 36 minutes, my upper body feels nice and open, which is what Gin says the workout is supposed to do. I really like this and plan to incorporate it into my routine regularly.

Instructor Comments:
Excellent cueing, calm, precise, but funny.