Fitness centers have been popping up around Montclair lately like mushrooms. Power Stretch Studios, at 516 Bloomfield Ave., is among the more recent and unusual. According to their website, the sessions are “filled with different stretching techniques that will provide the body with energy, relieve stress, and improve flexibility.”
The owner of the studio, 27-year-old Bloomfield resident Hakika DuBose, was inspired to open the studio after working as a personal trainer and a dance instructor at several fitness centers. “I saw how much people benefited from what I did,” says DuBose, a former dancer. “I knew if I brought it to the masses, it would greatly affect peoples lives in an outstanding way.” Despite only being open for six months, the studio has already attracted 30 regular clients.
“Most of my clients are people in their 40s or older who want to regain their lost flexibility or want to start an exercise program,” says DuBose. “I have clients ranging from business owners to chiropractors to dancers.” DuBose, who has a BFA in Dance from Montclair State University and a certificate in ProPrioceptive Muscular Facilitation, is very enthusiastic. “I have so many ideas! One of ones is called a Stretch-N-Heels Party. Women get together either at their homes or they can come to our dance studio. We led a 30 minute group stretch and then I teach them a choreographed dance routine.”
One of the most frequent questions DuBose gets asked is how her studio is different from a yoga studio or a gym. “All the work is done for the client. The person has a chance to come in and relax as we guide them and stretch out their muscles gently,” she explains. “The client doesn’t have to pull anything or tense up. This teaches the client how to breath and let go.” Another big difference are the rates. The studio is currently offering a Holiday Promotion until January 31: 45-minute one on one sessions are $40 versus the usual $60. Hour-long group classes, held on Saturday mornings at 9 am, are only $15.
Most of the clientele come to the studio for a private session. However, DuBose created the group class, which has a maximum of four students, after clients requested it.
DuBose began by explaining the benefits of stretching. Clients can expect reduced muscle tension, increased range of movement in their joints and increased energy level. While the assisted stretches are not a huge calorie burner, according to DuBose, a 45-minute session burns 275 calories. Really? Could this be true? When I later did some research, I found out that it all depends on your weight and metabolism. At the very least, stretching brings blood flow to your muscles, which can aid in weight loss and increasing metabolism.
DuBose asked me what my goal was for the session. Some want to be able to reach their toes or to do a split. All I wanted was to feel less stressed.
The studio is small and intimate. I stood on a mat facing Bloomfield Avenue while DuBose guided me through some standing and neck stretches. We later moved on to a ball and a mat. I truly didn’t have to do anything at all except let DuBose know my comfort zone as she gently stretched me. Throughout the session, I was mindful of the similarities and differences verse a yoga class. In a yoga class, students are encouraged to keep their feet flexed during certain poses to keep the quads engaged. At Power Street Studios, the client is told to fully relax and let go of all muscle tension. It was also amazing to compare the difference in my body after DuBose stretched one leg. The stretched leg felt about a foot longer than the other one.
It’s something that you have to experience for yourself in order to truly understand the process. Knowing this, DuBose offers a free 30-minute session to first time clients. After my session was over, I certainly felt stretched out and a lot calmer.
While these one on one sessions are the most popular, DuBose created group classes because some of her clients felt more comfortable in a group setting. The group classes are a little different. DuBose explains that in a group class, the students are doing the stretching techniques by themselves. She demonstrates the stretch and checks student to make sure they are performing it correctly.
DuBose’s ultimate goal is to franchise her concept: “I would like to have Power Stretch Studios be a gateway to eternal health for people.”