Victoria Purcell discovers how effective the reformer is during a Cardio Pilates class at One One One Pilates in Blackheath

Cardio Pilates. How intriguing. Pilates to me has always been a peaceful kind of affair, but cardio implies leaping around and sweating profusely, doesn’t it?

Not in this case. I took a Cardio Pilates class with instructor Riccardo Vitello at One One One Pilates in Blackheath and realised just how basic my knowledge of this increasingly popular mind and body conditioning method is.

After some initial matwork focusing on postures and breathing, Riccardo set our small class of three to task on the reformers. Pictured above, the reformer is a sort of sliding platform hooked up to springs that can be used to increase or lower the resistance for a more intense workout. It’s hard work, it ups the heart rate, and it’s really quite fun.

‘The idea of Cardio Pilates is to try other methods, like the cardio-tramp [a trampette that attaches to the reformer], which is great for the legs,’ says Riccardo. We tried it, and I can report it is indeed hard work on the legs – think relentless jumping squats on a mini bouncy castle.

‘When you change the springs on the reformer, you change the muscles you work on. More springs means it’s harder for bigger muscles, but with half a spring you need to really hold the abdominals. It’s a very different experience.

‘People who usually take a matwork class, where you really need to control the postures – the pelvic placement, the ribcage and the shoulder blades – might not have tried the reformer, so they get to experience something different with Cardio Pilates,’ says Riccardo.

One One One Pilates teaches the Stott method of Pilates, a modern approach to Joseph Pilates’ original system developed with fitness professionals to incorporate the latest thinking in sports performance. By working to restore the natural curves of the spine and rebalance the muscles around the joints, as well as developing core strength, the practice is great for both injury prevention and recovery. You can choose from matwork classes, reformer classes, ballet barre sessions to strengthen the legs, private sessions and more. Essentially, everybody from dancers to rugby players can benefit, so why not give it a go?

111 Lee Road, Blackheath SE3 9DZ; 020 8318 5221;