07 Oct Goodbye Allegro, Hello Classical Reformer
As Flex Studio says goodbye to the contemporary Allegro machine, instructors Nick Haslam and Louis Won make a case for its replacement: the powerful GRATZ Classical Reformer
With Flex Studio’s transition to a fully Classical Pilates format, it bid adieu to the contemporary Allegro machines. This year in both its Central and Wong Chuk Hang locations, it switched to smaller group sessions on the GRATZ Reformer, or “Reformer Quartets”. The transition was completed with Flex Southside’s move in October 2021 to the 22nd floor of One Island South.
“The Reformer Group classes are in smaller groups of four people,” says certified Pilates Instructor and Personal Trainer Nick Haslam. “The sessions follow the Classical sequence of exercises developed by Joseph Pilates himself.”
Louis Won, who teaches nine Reformer Group classes weekly, says “while our Allegro group classes were bigger with more participants, the Reformer Group Quartets offer a smaller class setting so each participant will get more attention from the instructor.”
In our Q&A this month, we find out from Nick and Louis all we need to know about the big switch:
What’s the difference between the Allegro group classes and the Reformer Group Quartets?
Nick: Joseph Pilates developed the exercises on the specific Classical Reformers that we use in our quartets. In my experience, you cannot get the same results on a different Reformer, because the movements and apparatus work together and are integrated.
Each class follows the same sequence of exercises to create flow and seamless transitions over time. Pilates is essentially a way to condition the mind and body. We are not able to do that if the movements are random.
Louis: The Allegro is a contemporary version of the Reformer and is widely used in group class settings. Classical Reformers, like those we have in Flex, are normally used for privates or semi-privates. Because of their better build quality, I personally feel way more settled when working on a Classical Reformer, and at the same time, feel challenged to work harder.
In terms of what we do in class, Allegro classes are free-style ones based on what the instructors feel like teaching. Our Reformer Group Quartets follow the Classical Pilates system with set sequences for different levels of clients. Working with set sequences allows clients to maintain a consistent practice to familiarise themselves with the exercises involved. It also makes it easier for clients to assess their progress. Set sequences also help practitioners to develop a better sense of safety, because they can learn the proper transitions to move in and out of the exercises properly.
How long have you been teaching the Reformer Group classes? How are your Reformer Group classes going so far?
Nick: I’ve been teaching the reformer group classes since they started early this year. The classes are going well and it’s great to see how consistently our clients are attending.
Louis: I’ve been teaching Reformer Group classes since April this year when Flex introduced them, and they all went well. Most of my Reformer Group classes are beginner-level, and these classes brought in a lot of new clients who would have otherwise not given Pilates a try. It’s also very good to see clients’ growth in these classes, and many of them have actually started going to higher-level classes.
Which type of clients should join the Reformer Group Quartets?
Nick: All clients that want to strengthen their bodies by moving from their powerhouse or core. The reformer is the best exercise for general conditioning, aligning and lengthening of the body. If clients are patient and learn a practice themselves, they get much better results.
Louis: Our Reformer Group Quartets are for everyone. Beginners including those with no previous Pilates experience can certainly join our beginner-level quartets. We also run Intermediate Reformer Group Quartets for those who want to start practicing or fine-tuning their intermediate-level Reformer exercises. So, everybody is welcome.
What kind of progress can clients expect to see by joining these classes?
Nick: Mobility will increase and stability will improve as you learn to move from the powerhouse. Improved focus and endurance. If clients are patient and learn to flow without stopping for instructions, it ends up being a great cardiovascular workout.
Louis: All in all, Pilates is a system and Reformer is an integral part of it. Therefore, getting the hang of Reformer exercises will certainly help clients to manage different and similar exercises on other Pilates apparatuses. In the end, their Pilates practice will become more challenging and rewarding.
What do you say to your clients who are accustomed to the Allegro classes but not so with the less familiar Classical Reformer Group Quartets?
Nick: Clients are getting better results in the quartets. By learning the classical sequence of exercises, you can become in tune with your own body rather than just following an instructor. I think this is much more valuable than what they can get from a larger class.
Louis: Clients who used to do the Allegro classes should definitely come join our Classical Reformer Group Quartets to take their Pilates practice to the next level. It’s the best way to continue their Pilates practice and, at the same time, upgrade and update themselves with the Classical Pilates system.
With their previous experience from the Allegro classes, there shouldn’t be too much of a steep learning curve. They will understand the Pilates system better, enjoy their practice more, and in turn get better results.
What’s the best thing about teaching the Reformer Group Quartets? Why would you recommend them?
Nick: The best thing is that I can teach each client and give specific feedback. Seeing people improve is much more satisfying . It isn’t boring to repeat the same exercises because there are so many layers to learn that it takes years and years to master.
Louis: The best thing about Reformer Group Quartets is that we get to spend the whole 55 minutes of the class working on the Reformer. That allows me to better explain and decode the exercises so that clients can better understand what they are doing. My goal is for clients to feel the exercises, so they can do the work by engaging the right parts of the body. There’s a quote that goes: “Pilates is easy unless you do it right.” So if you want to do it right, come join our Reformer Group Quartets and have a good workout!
Book your first Reformer Group Quartet at 50% off with the code TRIAL50 ! For the full Reformer Group schedule and to book, click here.