Health & Fitness

Club Pilates: Workouts for All Skill Levels

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Pilates is a total-body workout that almost anyone can do. Learn about the four levels of classes offered at Club Pilates in Rockford and Algonquin.

Club Pilates offers four levels of classes to help exercisers lengthen and strengthen their muscles. (Blake Nunes photo)

Ms we age, our bodies change. But no matter if you’re an elite athlete or an amateur exerciser, Pilates is a great workout for all.

“Just about everyone should be doing Pilates,” says Keisha Brown, general manager at Club Pilates, in Rockford. A new location also recently opened at 2517 N. County Line Road, Algonquin.

“It’s a total-body workout that virtually anyone can do,” Brown continues. “Usually, most of us don’t do enough stretching, and that’s what leads to muscle imbalances, which can lead to injury and pain. But Pilates lengthens and strengthens the muscles in your body at the same time. You get that stretch aspect in your workout, leading to a nice, balanced body.”

Men should be taking Pilates, too, she adds. Take a class at the Rockford location and you may run into Fred Van Vleet, a Rockford native and professional basketball player for the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

“Flexibility training is difficult for most men to do,” Brown says. “So, a lot of men should be taking Pilates to become more flexible and alleviate aches and pain. Our goal is to move the spine in every direction while in class.”

Brown is a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. She transitioned into Pilates when she started having lower back issues, since the exercises are accommodating to those with injuries. In fact, Joseph Pilates founded the workout during World War I when he took springs from underneath hospital beds for patients to hang up and use as resistance to get stronger.

“We model our philosophy after Joseph Pilates,” Brown says. “We believe in doing Pilates to move better, feel better and live better.”

At Club Pilates, there are four levels of classes. Level 1: Foundation, is ideal for beginners and those who want a safe, effective class experience. But just because it’s the first level doesn’t mean it’s a cakewalk. Club Pilates is an apparatus-based studio, meaning the equipment is complex.

“We want people to master the form and their technique before moving onto the next level,” Brown says. “We do ask that people new to Pilates start at level 1, especially since most people aren’t familiar with the equipment.”

Those who do have experience with Pilates equipment can opt to start at level 1.5: Progression. This class incorporates more-complex movements and use of equipment. The class tempo is moderate and introduces intermediate exercises and coordinated movements for enhanced balance and stability.

“There are no strict rules about what class you have to take; it just depends on the person and their form,” Brown says. “The goal is to continue to progress at your own pace.”

Level 2: Evolution is a moderate- to fast-paced class that incorporates quick transitions and more-advanced exercises. Focused on strength, balance and stability, this class creates dynamic challenges for your body and mind.

Level 2.5: Mastery is the most advanced class level, ideal for those who have mastered form and alignment. A deep mind-body connection is the key to success.

“There are 500 exercises in the Pilates repertoire, so no class is ever the same,” Brown says. “Each class, we build upon our practice.”

Instructors at Club Pilates need 500 or more hours of education before they can teach. The rigorous certification ensures that all instructors are informed and talented, Brown adds.

Club Pilates’ Rockford and Algonquin locations are open seven days a week. Classes start at 5 a.m. and go to about 7 p.m. Pilates socks are a requirement for safety on the equipment and are available in the store, along with other merchandise.

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