Washington D.C.Pilates, Bootcamp, HIIT
If you thought all Pilates workouts were low intensity and sweet, think again. [solidcore] takes a familiar machine and turns it on its head with nonstop movement and a much better burn. Constant instruction and the opportunity to modify poses up or down in intensity provide the benefits of private instruction in a group setting. This full body workout in a blue-lit space will have your muscles shaking for 60 minutes and you’ll be sore for days.
Walking into class, we grabbed a machine that has platforms and handle bars on both sides and a resistance-spring carriage in the middle (similar to a Pilates Megaformer). Newbies get a quick intro to the class, so make sure to arrive early for your first time. Class was broken into four sections: center core, lower body, obliques, and upper body. Between crunches (toes on the carriage pulling it into your center), extensions, and core work on the handlebars, our abs were dead 20 minutes in. Lower body had us in a few variations on a lunge, using the handle bars to get deeper into poses (but also preventing a face plant when we felt like our legs might break). In addition to lunges, we did some bungee glute work before crushing our inner thighs until they shook. Moving into obliques, we repeated some of the same center core moves but isolating one oblique at a time; the section was fast, but damn, did it hurt. Finally, we were told to hop off of the machine to do some pushups off the back. While we pressed, our springs were changed by our instructor in prep for upper body. We hit chest with presses and flys, fatiguing with pulses at the bottom of the move. We were told that the upper body muscle group changes with each class—sometimes hitting back, shoulders or arms rather than chest.
We were instructed to go really slow and controlled throughout class, focusing on exhausting the muscles. Each move had a few variations—holds, pulses, ladders (one inch up, one inch down, two up, one down), which both made the 50 minutes fly but also made each second feel like an eternity. Between sections, we transitioned with either plank up downs or army crawls to spike our heart rate. Instruction in the class was constant, with cueing for moves or offerings of intentions. Don’t be surprised if the instructor calls you out in class; it was encouraging in nature and definitely made us work harder. The music was loud and we didn’t stop moving for 50 minutes—this is definitely not a low energy Pilates class.
Katie may look like a nice ballerina (she told us she’s 5’10”), but don’t be fooled—she will make you work. By cueing each move and then instructing on small changes to make us feel it even more, she taught a technical class that made a hard workout even harder. Her voice was motivating and she offered us variations that were brutal (we’re still thinking about the lunging ladder where we held each up and down for three seconds). Our only complaint was a short upper body section; we love our arms and wanna work them hard too.
The West End studio space was intimate, with 11 machines lined up in a long room with mirrors on either side. Blue lighting made us look great while we were getting sweaty, no matter how unsteady we felt mid-lunge. Coconut water and bottled water are available for purchase but there are drinking fountains where you can refill your own water bottle as well. [solidcore] also sells new branded gear from brands we love like lululemon that rotate each month. Though two bathrooms provide the goodies for a quick freshen-up (dry shampoo, deodorant, etc.), we were definitely very sweaty post-class and would’ve needed to shower before heading into the office.
1255 23rd St NW, Washington, DC 20037 West End Pilates $$$$
[solidcore] West End
West End Pilates, Bootcamp, HIIT $$$$
1255 23rd St NW, Washington, DC 20037
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Thank. You. Sophia. Girl laid down some of the best cueing we’ve ever had. It was thorough and really made us feel how we SHOULD feel in class. She favored fewer complex variations, but when she did they were awful (seriously whoever came up with the ladder into bottom half of a lunge is a sadist). She got us into the shakes for all portions of class which is a massive tribute to her slow and controlled cueing. We really now know what muscle failure feels like. She also gave a slight hand on the back to encourage us in those brutal hold moments. Sophia is our new go-to, so go see this West End studio manager stat.
Otto is a solid instructor: clear directions, motivating lingo, and a slight touch on the shoulder during a bitch of a hold. He didn’t offer quite as much form-cueing as some of his colleagues, which may just be a safety mechanism to ensure he stays on count. We appreciated that he asked about injuries before class. While we were here for Otto’s coaching style, if he called us “team” one more time we were definitely going to quit (we suggest squad or crew or…literally anything else next time).