If you’re a Pilates junkie or a cardio addict, you’ll know that while both types of workouts sculpt the body in their own way, both are missing something. Pilates gives you a silly core and cheerful glutes, but it doesn’t really get your heart pumping, while a good HIIT or cardio workout will burn calories and take your breath away, but won’t help you get it right. long lean muscles and serious core stability.
Until now, to enjoy both, you had to mix up your gym sessions, and maybe even fork out for two different gym memberships to participate in both a weekly Pilates class and a HIIT session. But now there’s a new gym on the scene, one that combines cardio and pilates reformer in a way that will get you all of your goals and achieve the body you want with a only subscription. It’s called STRONG Pilates and it’s slowly making waves across Australia thanks to its innovative Rowformer machines that are part reformer beds and part rower.
Created by Michael Ramsey, former owner of several F45 studios and personal trainer, STRONG Pilates is all about these Rowformers, which were originally created in the United States. After breaking his ankle a few years ago, Ramsey started doing Pilates and loved it, but he just felt like he needed more. Stumbling upon the Rowformers on Instagram, he thought they might be the answer, so he hopped on a plane to LA to try them out for himself. “It was the hardest training I have ever done in my life,” he laughs. “Just going from a rower where you’re peaking your heart rate to holding a plank under resistance while keeping that heart rate high makes it so difficult. “
Ramsey was sold and knew there was a market for the workouts in Australia. Negotiating the rights to Rowformer beds in Australia, New Zealand and Asia, he created a plan to take them to the next level, developing a gym setup that could be replicated across multiple locations and offering multiple workouts using machines. Now STRONG Pilates gyms are popping up across Australia and New Zealand, with several Melbourne and Gold Coast locations already open, with more coming to Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, Launceston, the Sunshine Coast and Auckland.
So what exactly does a STRONG Pilates workout entail – and is it just a gym for those who are already super fit? Certainly not, says Ramsey – everything can be both regressed and progressed, and as low-impact (but high-intensity) training is achievable for someone with a low level of fitness or mobility – but it is. also an intense session for someone willing to take things up a few notches. Typically, a class will see you do up to four minutes of rowing, in sets of 30 seconds rest and 30 seconds rest, then you will jump and do, say, a heavy leg set. Then return to the rower for another round of rowing, before moving on to another resistance exercise, and repeat. Because you are maintaining your heart rate all the time, you can burn significant calories, while still enjoying all the benefits of Pilates.
As an added bonus, the gyms themselves are seriously boujee – think of a specially crafted scent being diffused everywhere, lockers with phone chargers, and loud RnB music playing. There are also mats in the welcome areas so you can do a stretch (with a sequence displayed on the screens) for 10 minutes before class.
If this sounds like the workout for you, you might want to sign up quickly at a location near you – people are lining up to sweat, with membership numbers at most studios reaching over 100 people even before the doors open. In Brisbane, West End and Teneriffe will be the first taxis to leave the row in the coming months, while on the Gold Coast, Hope Island has already opened and three more studios are coming soon. And to the north, Maroochydore will be home to the Sunshine Coast’s premier location.
You can read more about Strong Pilates, including the workouts on offer and where to find a studio near you, to the right here.
In the meantime, do you need musical motivation for your workouts? Check out these workout playlists.
Image credit: Supplied