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Why these office workers are devoted to their STOTT PILATES® Matwork practice

Pilates student rock climbing

When it comes to Reformer vs. Matwork Pilates, everyone has an opinion and a preference. Many people are attracted to the sleek and shiny Reformer — and the added spring resistance — but ask any instructor and they’ll tell you Matwork classes are just as challenging and effective.

The STOTT PILATES® Matwork repertoire focuses on core stability, including pelvic and shoulder girdle stabilization, neutral alignment and breathing. As a result, clients often say they feel more balanced, have longer, leaner muscles, move with greater ease and feel revitalized afterwards.

We spoke to three office workers to find out why they’ve become devotees of STOTT PILATES Matwork and how these classes have helped them build strength, balance and endurance for their respective activities outside of work, including boxing, rock climbing and yoga.

Jessica Tyler

Jessica Tyler

1. As someone who is new to Pilates, were the Matwork classes what you expected or did they surprise you in any way?

Jessica: I made sure to go into my first Matwork class with an open mind. As someone who was new to Pilates, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised by the workout.

I usually focus on high-intensity cardio workouts, so it was enjoyable to get in touch with my mind, spirit and muscles. The Matwork class is an excellent way to target specific muscle groups and tone your body, all while connecting your breath and mind to the movements. At times it can be super intense, but in the best way. The Matwork class is a fantastic way to challenge your endurance and strength.

2. How does regular Matwork practice make you feel?

Jessica: I feel strong and powerful after a Matwork class. The movements are often only supported through your own body weight, so knowing just how capable I am is a great feeling. The instructors at Merrithew® do a great job of challenging our bodies and motivating us to find our inner strength. You really can do anything you set your mind to – it just takes practice.

3. Have you noticed any changes in your body or performance in other sports as a result?

Jessica: Incorporating Pilates into my everyday life has definitely had a positive impact. I feel extremely aware of myself, both physically and mentally. Previously, I would begin to rush through a workout when I started to feel fatigued, but Pilates has taught me to find the strength and power to take my time through each movement and really make it count.

The importance of breath has been a huge eye-opener for me as well— it is so easy to hold your breath while working out without even realizing it. Using your breath to help support you through the movements is key!

4. What other Merrithew classes do you take, and what other forms of exercise do you do?

Jessica: I’m a little all over the place with my workout regime, but I like to keep myself on my toes that way. I enjoy the Reformer classes, as well as the Matwork and Stability Chair classes with Merrithew. Additionally, I like to incorporate yoga, spin and running into my daily life. My all time favorite workout is boxing!

Kris Forge

Kris Forge

1. When and why did you start taking Matwork classes?

Kris: I started Matwork classes back in November 2018. I found it to be a great way to spend my lunch hour and get some exercise in. I also wanted to focus on strengthening my core to help with back issues and improve my rock climbing.

2. Have you noticed any changes in your body or in your performance in other sports as a result?

Kris: Yes, it has helped for sure. I’ve noticed an overall improvement in strength, particularly while bouldering, which is a type of climbing that is short, intense and often involves scaling over-hanging walls. That kind of climbing requires a strong core to keep your body close to the wall.

3. As someone who does extreme sports, have the Matwork classes challenged you in any surprising ways?

Kris: They have! I thought my balance was good until I started this class. The combination of balance, stability and coordination that is required to execute the different exercises is definitely more of a challenge than I expected, but I am seeing improvement.

4. What other Merrithew classes do you take, and what other forms of exercise do you do?

Kris: I sometimes take the Reformer classes and I've tried the Express Cardio-Tramp® class, which I really enjoyed. It’s a quick blast of exercise. I also mountain bike frequently and sometimes road ride, which are both great full body workouts.

MaryAnn Scandiffio

MaryAnn Scandiffio

1. What do you like most about the Matwork classes?

MaryAnn: I love the variety of programming options and the challenge you can get from just working on your mat. It’s always a great workout.

2. Why did you initially start going?

MaryAnn: The Matwork classes provide so much variation and challenge with minimal equipment. It’s all about using your own body, which I love.

3. How long have you been doing Matwork and do you feel any changes in your body as a result?

MaryAnn: I have been attending Matwork classes at Merrithew for three years or so. I love the feeling of improved strength and stability that I experience when I go on a regular basis.

4. What other Merrithew classes do you take, and what other forms of exercise do you do?

MaryAnn: I also enjoy Reformer classes and ZEN•GA® as they add variety and interesting challenges to my exercise routine. I also practice yoga and love to hike, paddle and mountain bike.

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