On Tuesday afternoon, I finally made it over to Pilates ProWorks to take their signature “Pilates ProMethod” class with Jenn Seracuse, the head of their Pilates program. I had met Jenn briefly when I had gone to Steven Little’s TRX class and had immediately liked her, so I knew I would be in good hands. Plus, I have been SO curious about what their take is on the new trend to use “amped-up” versions of the classic Pilates’ Reformer. There was a time in my life when I was totally obsessed with Reformer classes and for about a year, I took at least 3 a week. Those classes were my gateway into working out at all, changed what I thought I was capable of and because of that, I am hard pressed to think that a great reformer class needs much tinkering with. Of course, those original classes were taken over 10 years ago and really, sometimes things need a little tinkering!
Pilates ProWorks’ take on the classic is called the FitFormer and damn, is it a pretty machine! According to their website, it is made from stainless steel, titanium and bamboo but it is also just an elegant, sturdy machine, with super cushy pads and basically just super swanky. Jenn went over the machine with me before class so I wouldn’t be lost, since really, the class was filled with a group of super strong regulars. I was immediately sorry that I hadn’t at least worn a pair of regular grippy socks since everyone had on special toe-socks – grippy on the bottom but open toes. It totally didn’t occur to me that we would wear socks during the class! It was also at that moment that I realized my socks that morning didn’t even match. Sigh… at least I remembered a towel! It is worth noting again, they don’t stock towels here, so if you are sweaty like I am, remember to bring your own.
The class started with a quick warm up, which I always miss when a class just launches straight into the workout. The music pumped in the room but Jenn was great about giving clear, helpful instructions on what we where supposed to be doing on each exercise. She roamed the room, demonstrating on different machines, so we were always able to see what the move was meant to look like and she was able to keep a keen eye on everyone’s form. The moves we did felt like Pilates moves, sometimes tweaked a little bit but always feeling grounded in that original practice. We also got to do the Frog, a classic Reformer move that I swear hits a part of your inner thigh that no other exercise targets quite as effectively. It was always my favorite move and it was all l could do not to clap when she announced it. Thankfully, I managed to not make a total ass of myself by doing that! I was absolutely the worst in the room, so I got a lot of physical corrections (always ok with me!) but her cues to the whole class were really helpful and precise. They were very much Pilates cues, but for this kind of workout, that is really what you need. It was a class filled with regulars who were all so strong and graceful…I might have been the worst but I kept up and was totally inspired.
I always think the best sign of a Pilates based class is when it is challenging but never hurts as you are doing it, yet still makes you feel like someone sucker punched you in the stomach the next day. The day after my first Pilates ProMethod class, I winced every time I laughed – making every funny thing I heard just seem really mean. In my book, the sign of a great Pilates class…or perhaps just that I really need to do more of them!
Top image from Pilates ProWorks NYC’s Facebook page, image of Jenn from her Twitter profile @leanbodypilates