19 December, 2013

Flex Studio Powerhouse Pilates: a workout for EVERYONE!

19 December, 2013


Here at Sassy, we often hear claims that workouts are suitable for people of all fitness levels; but how true is that really? Marathon-lover and fitness blogger extraordinaire Jane joins Sassy Mama Editor and dedicated couch potato Kate to put Flex Studio’s Powerhouse Pilates through its paces! 

“Fitness Queen” Jane’s review


Having been a gym-goer for sometime, I was not new to Pilates when I took the Powerhouse Pilates class at the Flex Central Studio. However, this class was a little different to usual! It’s based on a combination of Flex’s Allegro and Cadillac-style classes (where I come from, these classes are known as Group Reformer because participants use reformer machines to get into the correct position). The idea of using machines and equipment is to give you a more efficient and effective workout… more bang for your buck!

Powerhouse Pilates is different because rather than a reformer machine, the class relies on a portable Pilates Stick to get you in position. I’d never used these sticks before, and so it was both a new challenge, and a variation from the traditional mat classes, which I appreciated. Certainly, using the stick at times did help to get me into a better position, and it’s also a lot harder to cheat, so I could really feel my abs working during those parts of the class! It was also interesting doing something new, especially when one Pilates class can be quite similar to another.

Powerhouse Pilates would certainly be a great addition to a workout schedule that already includes other Pilates, yoga or core strengthening classes because it would add variety and therefore keep you interested. Mixing it up is more fun and by constantly challenging your body in new ways, you will get fitter and stronger overall – what we all want from a class, right? I think that if this was going to be the only Pilates class you took each week, you might be better off with Flex’s traditional Mat or Allegro classes, as you’d get a much more comprehensive full-body workout.

The only thing I didn’t like about this class was that I felt like some of the exercises were a little too easy, while others were made too hard. I’ve got a fairly typical runner’s body – my leg muscles are comparatively strong compared to my core. The problem with the Powerhouse class – especially when compared with Allegro – is that the leg exercises felt comparatively easy to me, while some of the core exercises were a little too tough for me to stick with. In comparison, I find in Allegro classes that, because I’m using the machines, I can adjust the difficulty of the exercises in a way more particular to my body type, so I get a better overall workout.

Nonetheless, if you are looking for a new workout, I’d certainly recommend giving this a go. It’s fun, it’s accessible and it would be very complementary to any exercise schedule that you’re already doing!

“Lazy Girl” Kate’s review


As someone who literally can’t run for a bus, I consider myself pretty well qualified to text Flex’s bold “suitable for all fitness levels” claim! In fact, teaming up with Jane was intimidating enough to get me sweating a bit before I even hit the class!

I found the Powerhouse Pilates class to be surprisingly manageable for an absolute beginner like myself. Our instructor was careful to check our positioning and to suggest modifications where required, which I found reassuring. Like Jane, I found the leg exercises to be easier to manage than the abs (to be expected!), but the novel style of the class held my interest and got me pushing a little bit harder than I otherwise might have on the mat.

I like the fact that this is a class that can be adapted to your fitness level, ensuring that anyone from a flabby beginner like me, to a lean, mean, running machine like Jane gets a decent workout. It’s also really fun, and the relatively small class sizes mean that you get a lot of individual attention from the instructor.

Overall, a thumbs up from both of us and we think this one will stick around (groan!).

Feeling inspired? Check out our review of some of Flex’s other Pilates classes here!

See Flex’s full schedule of classes here; call Flex for more info or class packages

Flexpress  8/F Lansing House, 41-47 Queens Road Central (above Seed, enter on Li Yuen Street East), Central, Hong Kong
2813 2212  www.flexhk.com

Jane is an ironman, multiple marathoner, corporate lawyer and mum of one, who recently moved south to Hong Kong after a two-year stint in Shanghai; she chronicles her adventures on her blog, Dim Sum and Long Runs

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