I’ve done mat Pilates for a few years now, so when I had an afternoon in London to kill, I decided to do something a bit different. The Reformer is a piece of equipment designed in it’s first form by the Father of Pilates, Joseph Pilates – it’s a simple sliding carriage, with several different springs, which can be altered for a varying resistance against your exercise. I’ve literally never been on one before, so I opted for a class for total beginners.
Arriving at Ten Health and Fitness in St James, I wondered if I’d made the right decision to book a class there. This part of town was so fancy, I thought for a second they might not actually even let me in when I pressed the buzzer (just as context, the famous Christie’s auction house is right across the street from the studio, and Saville Row tailored suits are the norm)
I couldn’t have been more wrong. The studio itself is down a couple of flights of stairs, with a cycle hop to get your bike down to the secure store, and a lift for those who can’t manage the stairs. The receptionist was super friendly, giving me advice on their pricing, and showing me round the facilities.
The class was led by Zoe, who was also really friendly, and gave clear instructions for how to operate the different levers and springs on the reformer before we got going.
She explained, because of the way the carriage moves backwards and forwards, the springs are either helping you to perform the exercise, or working against you to make your muscles work harder. The reformer helps to keep your form correct through the exercises, and encourages you to get a full extension through your limbs for maximum lengthening.
At Ten, the reformer is set up with all the extra bits you might want for a full work out – a Pilates ring, weights and a pole. Zoe used these through the class to challenge our balance and strength – and that is really what made it more of a total body workout than a classical mat class.
If you’re in London, you can find out more about Ten Health and Fitness here; www.ten.co.uk