Reformer Pilates at Core Kensington
What they say:
At CORE KENSINGTON our mission is to deliver superior quality Pilates classes to a discerning loyal clientèle in a boutique and unique, intimate environment.
Our contemporary approach to the original exercise method pioneered by the late Joseph Pilates will include a balance of strength, flexibility and endurance to challenge the fitness enthusiast using the most versatile and innovative STOTT PILATES® equipment.
What I say:
Ok, so Pilates; lie on a mat and do a few crunches, some leg raises, a couple of squeezes on a Pilates ring and you're done, right? Nope, not if it's Reformer Pilates you're at!
Definitely very different to any class I've tried before, Reformer Pilates is performed using specialist equipment in the form of a Reformer cage - which, admittedly, looks a bit like a torture chamber.... or piece of S&M equipment!
|The 'torture chambers!'|
But don't worry, I've not changed my blogging theme quite so drastically! Great for creating long, lean muscles. the Reformer is essentially a bed-like frame with a padded platform for you to lie on. The platform moves backwards and forwards, and is attached to a set of coloured weighted springs, which you work against to build resistance as you move in the machine.
After a quick warm up, we started on some footwork, simply pushing ourselves back and forth using the foot bar and working up into the ankles. Engaging our abs with the classic '100's' (lifting your head and pulsing for 100 counts), we went on to leg circles- where we attached the ropes to our feet and fought against the resistance to move in circular motions, working deep into the legs and opening up the hips.
Next was 'frog' - as the name suggests, this move involved pressing our legs inwards with heels attached, bringing down the legs in a frog-like position. Admittedly it felt a bit odd, but was great for working into the glutes - especially when my instructor popped on an extra spring to my Reformer machine to 'kindly' give me a bit of extra resistance!
Having discovered quite a few of the Reformer Pilates exercise names seem to have been taken from the animal kingdom, we also gave 'Elephant' a shot - rounding the back and connecting down through the heels and, as we moved the feet back fighting the resistance of the machine, bringing our bodies down into the plank position, engaging the core, before curling up and repeating it all again. And again. x5. It hurt!
With other moves including 'Prancing' (flexing our feet up and down on the bar, which then progressed to 'Running' as we did it a little faster), alongside 'Short Back', 'Long Back' and 'Tricep Extensions' - it really was an all over body workout!
|Even some triceps slotted in for fun!|
Despite having been out celebrating her birthday yesterday (where she admitted to having a couple glasses of wine!), our instructor was great - perfectly on the ball for her back to back classes from 8AM - 2PM.... all on a Saturday! Hats off!
Obviously not as intense as a cardio based class, however I definitely felt I had more of a workout than any other Pilates classes I have done (which I have found to be mostly lying on the floor breathing!). Also, because classes at Core Kensington are limited to 4 participants max, you get that one on one personal contact with the instructor, making it a little more like a semi-personal training session.
A bit oddly, the studio is under an estate agents, which you have to walk through to get to your class. Not that it mattered - the studio was small, but clean, tidy and, although there were no showers to boast luxury hair care products, there was some Molton Brown in the restrooms :-)
An hour long class at Core Kensington will cost you £30 - which, even on London prices, is quite steep. I'd say it's definitely worth a shot if you have the spare cash, but if not then I suggest you take a look at somuchmore.co.uk. Providing you access to hundreds of classes in boutique fitness studios around the city, for only £69 a month you easily trial this class, alongside hundreds of others, that would usually cost over £20 a go!