This morning was my 9th session at Club Pilates Encinitas and it’s safe to say I’m addicted now. The classes are like nothing I’ve ever done before and even better, each class is so different from the last!
I discovered Club Pilates simply because it is so close to my house. I had done one reformer Pilates class with Girl on the Run at a different studio and I knew that it was a core workout to the extreme. With the intention of dedicating myself to a new, tough sculpting workout before my bachelorette, I decided on Club Pilates and it was a great decision.
Club Pilates Encinitas has two studios, the big studio with room for 10 people and the small studio with room for 4. Club Pilates has several other San Diego locations with 13 locations in total and their class offerings are amazing – there is a class nearly every hour from 6 a.m. til 7 p.m. on weekdays and all morning on weekends. In addition, I was drawn to Club Pilates because they offer multiple levels of classes (Level 1, Level 1.5, Level 2 and Level 2.5) in addition to a Cardio Sculpt class that adds some cardio fitness to your regime. And as I previously mentioned, each class is always different from the last ,so even if you only stick to one type of class (I usually go to Level 2), you aren’t going to get bored.
Although most people (myself included) think of Pilates as either mat Pilates or Reformer Pilates, Club Pilates actually is a mix of both mat, reformer AND various other instruments and equipment that help produce a flat, toned tummy and sculpted arms, legs, back and buns. Every class is fully body and practically every move works your entire body. We are rarely just focusing on legs, arms or abs – usually its a focus on two or more body parts and the rest of the body inevitably gets involved as well.
Here’s a breakdown of the somewhat intimidating equipment and what it’s used for:
The reformer is a piece of equipment with a platform that moves along a carriage. Resistance comes from both body weight as well as springs that are attached from the base to the carriage. The springs are color coded depending on resistance level. The instructor will indicate to you which spring you should be using for all exercises but you can modify based on your personal preference.
During class we sit, lay and stand on the reformer. We also use a block at times that we prop up on it to create different moves. We plank on the reformer using the block or without the block and the springs create additional resistance. Oftentimes we plank and then move our hips and legs inward to create additional work for the abs while also targeting shoulders, legs and arms!
The reformer is often used for both legs, abs and arm work all at the same time. We either hold handheld weights (2-10 lbs depending on preference) or by using the hand straps on the machine which are weighted based on the springs. While we’re using weights or the straps, we’re also utilizing our legs by either pushing off the base of the reformer or putting our legs in table top (sometimes with a ring or ball between them to engage the muscles even more). After 9 classes, it’s safe to say I’ve seen the reformer used in at least 50 different ways! It’s truly an amazing machine.
The Wunda Chair is my favorite Pilates contraption. It is HARD and works the entire body. Basically you put one or both feet on the pad on the platform that is supported by springs and then work your body in various ways.One way is by supporting yourself on the top platform and using your core, arms and legs to lift your self up and down (without returning the platform to the bottom). Another way is by putting one leg on the platform and doing lunges or plies or by turning around and a third is doing tricep dips. There are other variations but these three are the most common. The Wunda Chair does not let you rest – it is a hardcore, muscle shaking contraption!
The third large piece of equipment in the studio is the Spring Board. It is along the wall and has two sets of springs with straps. You can adjust the straps to different heights depending on the workouts. I’ve worked on the spring board in 3 classes and it was always different. One time we stood up and used the springs for upper body resistance and then went to the mat and used the straps on our legs for lower body workout. Another time I laid on an foam roller and utilized it for upper body and core work and a third time I used the spring board in conjunction with the Wunda Chair for a rocking core workout.
In addition to the three large pieces of equipment Club Pilates also utilizes hand weights (2lbs to 10 lbs), a ring and a rubber ball. All are used to add intensity to the workout. The ring and ball are especially useful for engaging the leg muscles while the focus is actually on another part. For example, we’ll squeeze the ring between our thighs while doing a bridge off the reformer. Or we’ll lay on our stomachs on the reformer with the ring between our ankles for added tush toning while we pull the straps down to focus on sculpting our backs.
If you are at all on the fence about trying a Pilates class, come try out Club Pilates! Just tell the teacher it’s your first time and they will be more than happy to give you a demo of the equipment. Even then, they always tell you what to do so you won’t be confused and will never feel stupid in class. The instructors will correct your form if it’s off and the classes are so small that you will quickly get to know both the instructors and your fellow classmates.
The multiple levels are beginner and advanced friendly (I found that I am only challenged in Level 2 or above classes) and there are plenty of classes to fit everyone’s schedule. They are always having specials so keep an eye out on their Facebook page or Twitter account as well! You’ll want to register online in advance and purchase your first class ($7) or package in advance and reserve a spot as they fill up!
Have you ever tried Pilates? What about Club Pilates? Come join me if you are in San Diego!