img_2518A new reformer Pilates studio opened up in our tiny village in Killaloe, County Clare. And so three of the intrepid Bitchmittens bloggers decided we needed to get our fabulous arses over asap to give it a go. Which is why we found ourselves gathering at 6.30am for a pre-work introductory session of reformer Pilates with Roisin, who also happens to be a fully qualified physiotherapist. Swit swoo.

‘Clinical Reformer Pilates’ (as opposed to just regular Pilates) had been suggested to me by my spinal specialist, and my sports physio. I hurt my back about six months ago, and it’s just not getting better. So what is it? Well, ‘Clinical Pilates’ is delivered by a trained physiotherapist, who will have a detailed understanding of injury, recovery, treatment and movement. Reformer Pilates, is delivered via machines (rather bloody expensive machines, being several thousand a pop). But it’s a very safe, stable and effective way to rebuild strength after back injury, so I was delighted to have one open on my doorstep, and with the physio layer to boot.

Roisin’s studio has three such machines so the classes are, by nature of the numbers, all ‘personal training’. Every one gets individual attention. This was great for us though, because even though we’ve mastered a few different sports, we were all three of us Pilates virgins.

img_2515Personally, I was just keen to lie down again, it being 6.30am and all. For the first few minutes she talked us through how the machines work (I keep calling them beds!!). Basically there’s a sliding platform, a foot bar, and handles (that have foot handles or hand-handles) and we started out with really simple exercises lying on the beds. The resistance is provided by coiled metal springs, which you can adjust based on your requirements. Ruth of course went straight for hardcore toughness, which Rhona and I were content to take it a little easier 🙂

Over the course of an hour, we worked through arms, core, legs, (inner and outer) as well as a nice set of stretches and twists at the end. It was really calm and gentle, exactly what I needed at 6.30am, unlike the class Ruth dragged me to a few weeks ago which had me doing burpees five minutes after I got out of bed. Great class, but just TOO GODDAMN EARLY.

I loved this class because Roisin has a really calm demeanour, and explains everything brilliantly. For a morning class the music was just right, the room was lovely and the tempo of effort perfect. The next day I was pleasantly stiff, but unlike the first time I tried TRX, I didn’t have crippling DOMs (Delayed onset muscle soreness) for a week after.  I can clearly see how the moves at greater resistance would be pretty intense, even though your not lepping around all that much. (But she did say something about a jumpboard, which was another attachment…) Hmmm.

All three of us found this class excellent. Ruth and Rhona I think found it a little too easy in patches, but then they are both extraordinarily strong in the leg. We paid €22 per person, which is good value for what amounts to personal training with a qualified physio on super expensive equipment. My back has felt pretty damn good all week, and I’m relieved that I can start my road back to more regular exercise in such a fun way. Test Beds, aka reformer Pilates get an A+ from me. There are reformer Pilates studios dotting up all over the country, as it is becoming quite a craze! Just remember, if you’re carrying injury, you might be better off looking for a studio that is physio led, or at least get some advice from a physio before you begin.


Bitchmittens Emily

PS – Here’s Roisin’s page if you’re interested in checking it out:


While we occasionally get asked to review places, products and services, and we love the occasional freebie – this wasn’t one of those times, it’s an honest to goodness unsolicited review 🙂