I recently tried out Reformer Pilates at the opulent Platinum Pilates. This is a more advanced take on the regular ‘Mat Pilates’ class, using an advanced piece of equipment called a Reformer to give a full range of motion and varied exercises that assist with injury rehabilitation and strength building.
It looks like a sleek massage style bed, positioned very low to the ground with springs and straps attached – I literally had no idea what to expect or where the top end of my body was supposed to go.
I instantly felt at ease when greeted by Yvonne at the desk in Greystones (they also have 5 other locations including Leeson St., Rathmines, Sandymount, Stillorgan and Clonskeagh).
Yvonne asked me to fill out a consultation form and assured me that I was not the only first-timer, she promised that she would ensure she gave me extra help and guidance, it was at this point that I realised this glamourous and petite blonde was the instructor. I don’t know who or what I expected, but if I look like Yvonne after attending her classes then I will be delighted!
I was taken aback by the stunning interior of the classroom which has a white stone effect back wall, surrounded by soft grey painted walls that are slightly curved. The front of the studio has a floor to ceiling, half frosted glass window (to give maximum privacy) with their logo proudly displayed.
The equipment was spotless and everything seemed brand new, with no tears or any inkling that they were ever neglected before (as often seen in fitness classes). The entire building also smelled faintly of soothing essential oils.
The class began with some warm up exercises while lying on our backs on the reformer, with Yvonne coaching us all through our breathing, there were 10 of us altogether, both male and female and ranging from early 20’s to I would guess late 60’s.
Because we were all lying on our backs, it put me completely at ease, there was nobody peeking side glances at anyone else or any opportunity to compare to the person to your right or left. The class were guided through everything from position of our feet, how our pelvis should align with the base, to planting our shoulders firmly down.
Just as I began to relax with the rhythmic breathing and gentle stretching into a nearly sleep like trance from being lulled back and forth on the reformer, we began to move into the more difficult exercises – and boy were they tough!
The class is designed to build muscle and strengthen your core, so it wasn’t long before my abs began to feel the burn as my pelvis was tilted upwards ‘to twelve o’clock’ with my feet against the footbar and shoulders firmly pressed into the shoulder pads, before slowly lowering my body ‘vertebrae by vertebrae’ back down onto the reformer.
I should mention that the reformer is attached by springs so it slides back when you put any pressure on your legs and slides forwards when you relax. It kind of reminded me of swimming, your body feels weightless and you only work certain muscles at any one time.
The exercises varied between using the hand straps to pull your body back and forth, all while lying on your back. These movements are very similar to weightlifting and I could feel my triceps engaging as they would with the cable machine in the gym.
We then moved onto using the foot straps (with Yvonne rushing to help me, as she spotted me peeking at and copying my neighbour who was obviously well versed in Reformer Pilates, and I clearly had no clue but wanted to still try!).
I felt like an Olympic Gymnast pointing my toes and creating a ‘V’ with my legs straightened towards the ceiling all while supported by foot straps! I probably looked nothing of the sort, but in my own mind I was doing great – and that’s what is important, you should enjoy classes like these and they should make you feel good about yourself.
The full hour went by in a flash, and I felt as light as a feather leaving the class. The mixture of stretching my body, and deep breathing, as well as some tougher exercises, was so satisfying.
Sure, there were a couple of points where I could feel my body shaking with the sheer concentration of ensuring I was keeping myself in one position, but then there were other times where I felt like all my muscles were loosened and every knot had been carefully kneaded out, like after having a full body massage!
It is a really unique experience, and definitely something I recommend if you are bored of your regular workout. It is completely addictive in the best kind of way, your body will thank you for it and it is perfect regardless of your age, gender or fitness level.
You work at your own pace, and the kind trainers are there with you every step of the way. There is no need to feel nervous or like you aren’t fit enough, try one out and I promise you will love it.
I can’t fault the staff, who I would rate 10/10. I had to, unfortunately, cancel a class last minute due to my new puppy being ill, bringing him to see the Vet was a priority for me at that time, and the receptionist really could not have been more helpful and empathetic toward me.
I felt incredibly guilty for possibly taking a space away from someone else who could have and probably wanted to desperately go, but the staff on the phone were just so kind throughout my garbled apologies.
Platinum Pilates also have a unique app that you can download and book classes in online, not only do they offer Reformer Pilates (at various levels from beginner to advanced), they offer one-on-one, Barre Pilates and also Pre and Post Natal Classes (perfect to help with your core muscles and recovery of your body before and after pregnancy).
You can contact Platinum Pilates on 01-2789313 or firstname.lastname@example.org