Next level fitness: Strengthen your core muscles at Reform Studios
Holly Tracey cranks pilates up a gear at Reform Studios.
Sure, I’ve heard of pilates; the 20th century fitness system designed to exercise the mind and body and boost core strength. It’s hard not to know about it. In 2017, there was a reported 28.9 million people practising it in the U.S.
Reformer Pilates, on the other hand, is like pilates’ mysterious cousin, swapping the traditional mat in favour of a resistance carriage machine. With its roller mobility and variety of spring weights and pulleys, the carriage works multiple muscles at a deeper level for a total body workout. The basic principles of traditional pilates are still there, with attention to breathing and a strong focus on correct postural alignment central to the class. The addition of the carriage, however, accelerates the processes of stretching as the resistance created by the pulley and spring system provides a more challenging strength and endurance workout than mat classes.
As a novice I signed up for the Apprentice Reformer class at Reform Studios in Edinburgh’s New Town, to ease myself in gently and get acquainted with the equipment (for the more experienced, there is the Dynamic Reformer class). Katherine, my instructor, explained how the carriage worked, adjusting my position to ensure I was exercising in the correct way. The class moved fluidly as we stretched through one exercise to the next with the final five minutes dedicated to a required ‘cool down’.
If you have ever had the dissatisfying experience of exercising in an overcrowded room while an instructor yells incoherently from the front, this is worlds away from that. The experience that Reform offers is seriously bespoke with classes limited to five clients. Targeted stretching and the option of one-on-one training is also on offer if that’s your preference or if you’re recovering from injury.
I left my 55-minute class with that sweet – slightly smug – feeling of someone who has just achieved greatness. Well, I got up on a Sunday morning and worked out my limbs, which is basically the same thing, right?
Single Reformer class, £18. Block of 5, £80. Personal training from £50 per session. 26 Howe St, EH3 6TG, Tel: 0131 285 5285, reformstudios.uk.