This workout's
for you if...

  • you want to improve flexibility.
  • you prefer a relaxing setting.
  • you want something you can do on a lunch break.
  • you prefer small class sizes.

Pilates

The Basics

If you’re looking to strengthen your core, look no further than Pilates. There’s a reason you’ve seen an explosion in Pilates’ popularity over the past few years, and it’s all tied to the low-impact, concentration-based, resistance- training methods of this full-body workout that’s good for all expertise levels.

Pilates combines a series of movements that target your back muscles, obliques, gluteals, thighs and lower and upper abs, while improving your flexibility, balance and posture at the same time. These exercises also help in the prevention and relief of arthritis and lower back pain, and can be great for people with desk jobs.

Pilates classes range from simply a room full of participants on exercise mats to use of specialized equipment and machines, but one thing remains the same across the board: Your body weight is what gets the job done. There’s no need for free weights or dumbbells. Each movement is designed to use what you already have to build strength and tone your muscles.

Most “classes are kept small so that each client gets the personal attention required,” says Melissa Burkett, owner of IMX Pilates & Fitness in Little Rock. “You will often find a professional athlete and an older client with limitations in the same class, and both getting an equally challenging workout. Many people not only transform their bodies, but rid themselves completely from any back pain.”

In-class instructor supervision plays a large part in the efficiency of these exercises. Professionals are trained in the essential Pilates techniques and are able to spot any deviations in form. Even a slight adjustment can make the move more effective and keep you from injury.

Because Pilates is anaerobic, you’ll want to add some cardio to your overall fitness regimen. But don’t be fooled: If done correctly, these exercises will leave you sweaty and sore—but in the best way.

The Gear

  • Exercise mat
  • Fitted, moisture-wicking clothes

The Lingo

Powerhouse: The main stabilizing muscles that protect your spine (abdominals, back, hip and shoulder girdle)

Neutral pelvis: When your front hip bones are level with your pubic bone, no tilt in the pelvis

Slide the shoulders down the back: To roll your shoulders back and away from your ears

Scoop out the abdominals: Pulling the abs toward the spine as you exhale

Zip up: Actively squeezing or drawing in, often in reference to abs, thighs, etc.

Resources

PILATES STUDIOS

IM=X Pilates
www.IMXPilatesLittleRock.com, Little Rock
Class types: Power, Prenatal, Early Morning, Late Evening, Private, Maximum of eight reformers per class and up to six classes per day
Equipment provided: Yes
Reformer machines: Yes

PILATES CLASSES OR EQUIPMENT

Clubhaus Fitness
www.ClubhausFitness.com, Little Rock
Class types: Classical, Power, Early Morning, Late Evening, Private
Equipment provided: Yes
Reformer machines: Yes

Conway Regional Health & Fitness Center
www.ConwayRegional.org/HealthFitnessCenter, two Conway locations
Equipment provided: Yes
Reformer machines: No

Fit Factory Little Rock
www.FitFactoryLR.com, Little Rock
No Pilates classes offered; equipment only
Equipment provided: Yes
Reformer machines: Yes

Health & Fitness in the Heights
www.24HealthFitness.com, two Little Rock locations
Class types: Early Morning, Late Evening, Private, Small-group instruction
Equipment provided: Yes
Reformer machines: Yes

Jim Dailey Fitness & Aquatic Center
www.LittleRock.org/ParksRecreation/WarMemorial
Class types: Classical
Equipment provided: Yes
Reformer machines: No

Little Rock Athletic Club
www.LRAC.com, Little Rock
Class types: Classical
Equipment provided: Yes
Reformer machines: Yes

Orlando’s Personal Fitness
www.OrlandosPersonalFitness.com, Little Rock
Class types: Private
Equipment provided: Yes
Reformer machines: Yes

ZenStudio Fitness Boutique
www.ZenStudioFitness.com, two Little Rock locations
Class types: Classical, Private
Equipment provided: Yes
Reformer machines: Yes

The Time

45-60

minutes

The Burn

200-500

calories per 45-minute class
*Average sourced from Harvard Medical School