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A Portland Stripper Designed a Workout Class Exclusively for Sex Workers
Twisted Stripper features a variety of exercises designed to ease pinched nerves, lower back pain, and torn shoulders associated with hundreds of spins around the pole.
By Meira Gebel
Carlee Murrell's daily wardrobe alternates between Lululemon leggings and 6-inch heels.
During the week, she's a personal trainer at Vive Fitness in Northeast Portland. But on Friday evenings, you can find her on stage at Lucky Devil Lounge.
Of her two jobs, Murrell says stripping is, by far, the most physically strenuous. In the past eight years as a dancer, she's suffered multiple injuries. At times, she's been left unable to move her neck without a "ringing pain."
It wasn't until last October, though, when a mentor suggested combining her two worlds, that Murrell decided to "quit fighting the obvious."
Twisted Stripper, the workout class Murell created, is the only one in Portland tailored specifically to sex workers. It features a variety of exercises designed to ease pinched nerves, lower back pain, and torn shoulders associated with hundreds of spins around the pole.
Classes start at $175 and run for six weeks. Nearly two dozen dancers have taken the course so far—the next cycle begins in March.
Alongside corrective joint practices, core strengthening, and "proper mechanics" needed to make those sexy moves without popping a hip, the class includes yoga and guided meditation—a mental health component Murrell believes is essential to combat the late nights and long hours as a dancer.
"I needed to give them what they wanted," she says, "but then I also needed to give them what they needed."