Here at McAuliffe Chiropractic Office, we’re always trying to help our patients find new ways to incorporate at-home workouts into their routines, especially as more people than ever are spending more time at home. This is why we have been reviewing some of the many free at-home workout apps available right now and giving our feedback on how these app work.
This week we went all in on the Club Pilates app to see how the popular Pilates’ studio franchise’s program stacked up some of the other free apps out there.
Take a look at our thoughts below!
So, What’s the Cost?
The Club Pilates app is a little confusing at first. There is Club Pilates On Demand, and if you are a member of Club Pilates, you can also access Club Pilates GO for free as well. Club Pilates GO has been under development and the brand quickly released new classes in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Club Pilates On Demand has been around since 2018 and has a pretty robust library of hundreds of classes.
The Club Pilates On Demand classes are all around 15 minutes and easy to piece together so you can get a Pilates workout that works best for you. With the Club Pilates GO program you can access even more classes and some longer courses as well.
You can try the Club Pilates app for free right now and it works on a number of different devices, including most smart TVs.
As with any workout program we want to try out a little bit of everything. We love that the Club Pilates Go App has workouts that you can do at home, in your apartment’s gym, in a hotel room and pretty much everywhere in between. Whether you have weights and equipment, or nothing but bodyweight, there are a number of workouts you can try on this app—so we did a little bit of everything.
20 Minute Full Body Workout with Alba
This was my first experience with a Pilates, workout through the app. Compared to many of the HIIT workouts and team sports that our docs are used to, the energy was very different. This was a very basic class that was a great way to get the feel for what Pilates is at his very core. This introductory style class really focused on the basic movements so that you could understand the “intention” behind every movement. Overall, it was an easy workout which helped me understand the tone of the entire idea behind Pilates.
Rating 3/5, Difficulty 2/5
15 Minute Core Express Workout
This was an excellent class where the instructor had complete control of the flow and the positioning throughout the course. It was designed to be a quick hitting core exercise pod that you could do in a hotel or while traveling. As chiropractors, we appreciated focusing on both prone move and supine moves for the core stability. Many core workouts have too many rotational movements which can be counterproductive for the overall health of your spine. These moves could be more challenging or the class should be a little longer, but when it is done in conjunction with another 15 minute class, it was perfect.
Rating 4/5, Difficulty 4/5
15 Minute Upper Body Express Workout
This workout was our first experience with the “fit” style workouts rather than the flow style workouts for the Club Pilates App. The exercise circuit was pretty challenging at a few different points and did not require any weights to perform which is always a nice touch for workouts designed at home or while traveling.
The biggest critique for this workout was the timing of the description and the beginning of the repetitions. Typically, an instructor diagrams the move and then from there the reps of 10 or the desired amount afterwards on the instructors count but there was a melding of these things which was slightly confusing. Many of these moves were very good core building exercises that help burn out the upper body. They would be good as a part of any core workout however the overall delivery of the class was not optimal. Great message, poor delivery.
Rating 2/5, Difficulty 4/5
If you have the Club Pilates GO App, you will likely notice that the program has audio content available. These audio classes can help walk you through your workout when you have your headphones in—this includes workouts on your spin bike or while you jog. We loved this little extra bonus feature on the Club Pilates App, as these audio classes were a great way to stay motivated while adding some cardio exercise to these Pilates workouts.
Overall, we really enjoyed these workouts and the range of options available. However, we found that, like with most workout apps, many times the classes can vary based on the instructor! With this in mind, if you don’t like your first few workouts, keep on trying!
A Note on Safety with Club Pilates Workouts
The instructors do a great job of slowing down and explaining the moves to you as you go through each of the moves and each of the progressions. They especially do a great job with explaining the modifications that you can do if a move is too hard for you to complete.
In general, with body weight or light weight core work the number one thing to remember is to have good form. Having bad form is the worst thing you could possibly do for yourself to increase the likelihood of injury when doing any type loaded exercise and it is particularly bad when focusing on your core muscles.
The main things to remember when you are performing light weight and bodyweight exercises are to move slowly at first so that you maintain your form and to make sure that you listen to your body about how it feels before, during and after the workout.
Knowing your limits and honoring any soreness and limited range of motion whether it be an old shoulder injury or abs that are throbbing after the last Pilates class you took is important to avoid setbacks or injury. This is why the consultation with a professional like your local chiropractor can be critical so that you know what things to avoid and how to manage and new issues that creep up over time.
Overall Pros of the Club Pilates App
Overall, we really enjoyed the Club Pilates app and were happy that we gave this program a try. Here were some of our biggest “pros” of using this program.
- Core Focused- A majority of the problems that we see with patients who have complaints about lower back pain or injuries suffered during sports come from a lack of core strength and balance. This can happen to someone who has more of a “6-pack” just as much as it can to someone who does not exercise at all. Pilates will teach you that just because you are strong this does not mean that you have a healthy and balanced core. These courses all have many very simple yet foundational moves that will help you build your core so that you can live a safe and active lifestyle.
- Quick Workouts- It is nice to have the options to do a quick workout 15-20 minute workout, especially when trying to find time to exercise at home. With a large variety of different types of workouts available on the platform, you can customize your weekly focus, or easily do a few add on workouts to target something that you missed or would like to focus on with your overall workouts.
- Focus and Flow- There are some great workouts that provide a great blend of flow and energy, while also bringing the awareness to different muscles in the body. We personally loved the focus on the breathing and the ability the control your breath as a way to control your core and your movement. The training of your focus on slow free movements is very important when you are building the core muscles and building your exercise discipline.
The Cons of the Club Pilates App
Every app has its own drawbacks, here are some of the “cons” that we found with the
- Some of the Workouts Are too Easy- I understand that many of the moves were designed to be focusing on your breathing and your form as a way to introduce the Pilates system. However, without the reformer and other equipment many of the workouts left some challenge to be desired. To change your strength, flexibility and fitness profile you need to challenge your muscles and your movement patterns and from our small sample size, this was not the case.
- App Interface- The app was not as easy to use as other platforms like Peloton or the robust gym addition apps like Planet Fitness. The video quality was good, the production quality was great but the user interface with the application and the ability to cast, or use on your phone or computer did leave something to be desired. As this platform continues to grow as an add on to the Club Pilates gyms themselves, it will be much better and much more effective.
- Equipment Missing- This is more of a complaint about social distancing and the businesses being shut down than the app itself. I wish I could have access to the reformer and the other equipment so I could get a full experience of the Pilates as well as the full the benefits. It is not very cost effective to have one in your own home. The Club Pilates had a number of workouts that didn’t require much equipment, but there were still many that needed bands, weights, the “Magic Circle” and yoga balls. If you don’t already have this equipment at home, you may not be able to do all of the workouts.
So, Should You Give The Club Pilates App a Try?
This is a hard question to answer. Pilates is much different when you have a reformer and the insight of a certified Pilates trainer at hand, which is why Club Pilates studios are so effective. “Mat Pilates” as this is called is quite different from the main classes offered in studio. With that being understood overall it was an joyful experience to try and learn a little more about how Pilates is more than just the reformer and the principles can be used in a more diverse and expansive way to help build a long, lean and strong core for both men and women.
This application is for sure a value add to any clients who have begun their Pilates journey with Club Pilates no matter their skill and training level. This app can really set Club Pilates apart from the competition, so we are really glad to have one close to the office… you may see us there challenging ourselves to try something new and to build that core.
As with any new workout program, we suggest you consult with your doctor or chiropractor before trying something new. Please feel free to ask our doctors in office or through a phone consultation before trying a new exercise regimen. If you are feeling pain, soreness or worried you may have an injury, please stop working out and give our office a call immediately at 301-776-0755 or book an appointment online today.