Ginger Orange Guide to Absolute Pilates
GO vs the Reformer Machine
Heathman’s Road in Parsons Green is lined with quirky design agencies and boutique fitness studios. The air is infused with the smell of sweet coffee wafting from the doors of Espresso by K2. With a little swagger in our Dreamboat Duchess leggings we were feeling confident and relaxed about our early morning class. Maybe it was the beautiful weather or the chilled hip vibe of Parsons Green. Maybe it was the smiling face of our instructor Nicholas as he welcomed us into the studio… But Ginger Orange was naively thinking this beginners’ Pilates class at Absolute was going to be breezy.
With muscles still shaking as we type, we are delighted to report back that we were wrong… very wrong. Absolute Pilates kicked our (still recovering) asses and taught us just how amazing Pilates is for our bodies.
The first thing that sets Absolute apart is it’s beautifully bright top floor studio with high ceilings, sky lights and air of ordered calm. The second is the instructors that teach there: slick, professional and highly qualified. Pilates is often recommended for people recovering from injury (the woman beside us had had two spinal discs replaced). Instructors have to be top of their game. They need to be able to run a challenging class while also adapting exercises to meet individuals’ needs.
Our instructor Nicholas introduced us to our reformers (Absolute has a studio dedicated to these amazing machines). He explained the system of weights, tensions, pulleys, blocks, mats and bands. It would have been easy to feel a touch overwhelmed but with Nicholas’s cool, calm professionalism it was stress-free. Soon we were lying on the machines, handle looped around an outstretched foot. We had no clue about what we were about to do… But knew we were in safe hands.
As Nicholas guided us through each exercise we began to appreciate what makes the reformer such a brilliant piece of kit. Not only does it give you dynamic, full body conditioning, but with the right instruction the carefully balanced system enables you to target specific muscles with amazing accuracy. So no generic squatting hoping you’re vaguely engaging whatever it is you’re supposed to be!
Nicholas carefully ensured our postures, positioning and techniques were all perfect. (Yes, that tiny gap between your waist and the mat does make a difference!). We worked on our glute meds, glute max, adductors, abductors, triceps and cores. We then moved onto Ginger Orange’s favourite exercise of the class, targeting the mid upper back. The rhomboids – aka those tricksy little muscles right between your shoulder blades that are incredibly hard to engage. But, when strengthened correctly, they give you amazing posture!
By the time we were, with shaking muscles, completing our last leg lowers we were feeling thankful that lovely owner Tom had booked us into the beginner and not the intermediate class.
Absolute is an amazing studio. It offers Pilates and HIIT classes graded on ability, has brilliant instructors and a studio dedicated to reformer machines. It also has a second studio for one-to-one personal training sessions, from which emerged a stream of sweaty, grinning clients.
At Absolute Pilates our muscles burned, we challenged our cores, improved our postures and gained a helluva lot of respect for Pilates. Ginger Orange will absolutely be going back to Absolute.
Written by Martha