Ground Floor: Aerial fitness studio flying high in Cedar Rapids

Elevate uses silks, hoops and poles to provide high-intensity aerial workout

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Joyous Fisher and Scott Monroe are taking fitness to new heights.

The pair opened Cedar Rapids’ first aerial fitness studio, Elevate Vertical Fitness, in December. The studio specializes in pole fitness, aerial silks, aerial yoga, and Lyra.

Those terms may be unfamiliar to the typical gym-goer, and Fisher and Monroe said that getting people to understand what their new business is all about has been one of the biggest challenges in their first month of operation.

“To get people interested, they really need to see what we do,” Monroe said.

Aerial fitness is a fitness program that incorporates a variety of hanging equipment such as aerial silks, which are long strands of nylon fabric, or the Lyra, a metal apparatus resembling a Hula-Hoop. The moves, which are similar to what one would see at a Cirque du Soleil performance, require a high degree of strength and flexibility — and more than a little courage — to master.

“There are three main types of moves to learn — climbs, wraps, and drops,” Fisher said of the studio’s aerial silks classes. “These moves can be combined into a beautiful sequence that provides an intense, full-body workout.”

While aerial fitness may borrow its moves from the circus, pole fitness may be viewed as a more proper form of exotic dance. The studio’s pole fitness classes incorporate moves and spins around a floor-to-ceiling chrome pole.

“The moves require strength, flexibility, and balance,” Fisher said. “People get fast results, and that’s what they like.”

“Pole works the core in a way most people have never worked their core muscle group,” Monroe added.

Initially a yoga instructor, Fisher was introduced to aerial fitness when visiting a friend in Des Moines. She first trained in pole, reaching the highest level of training, and then received formal training in aerial silks at a circus academy in Chicago.

Monroe said he became interested in aerial fitness when he joined Fisher for some classes and saw how effective it was in improving strength and flexibility.

The two decided to open their own aerial fitness studio after the dance studio where Fisher taught pole fitness took down its poles. Although they started moving forward with their plans in June, it took a while to find a suitable location with high enough ceilings for the studio’s aerial apparatuses.

When the weather gets warmer, Fisher and Monroe plan to hold outdoor demonstrations at NewBo City Market and area parks using mobile equipment so that people can see what aerial fitness is all about. Until then, they hope to attract people to the studio with low membership fees and a first class free policy.

The couple eventually would like to open a second studio in the Iowa City area.


  • Owners: Joyous Fisher and Scott Monroe
  • Business: Elevate Vertical Fitness
  • Address: 3140 16th Avenue SW, Cedar Rapids
  • Phone: (319) 329-6186
  • Website:

Know a company or manager who has been in business for less than a year that would be ideal for “Ground Floor”? Contact Francie Williamson at

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