Dubai’s best Pilates studios

Where to try Pilates in Dubai

Dubai’s best Pilates studios

Yoga and Pilates have spent years being grouped together, but how similar are they? Yoga is the much older of the two disciplines, dating back more than 5,000 years, originating in India and has a more spiritual element attached to it. The poses and breathing exercises help train you physically, mentally and emotionally. The attention needed to hold and move into the poses helps in focusing the usually overactive brain while building strength and flexibility.

Pilates was founded in the 1920s by Joseph Pilates and originally called contrology, it was predominantly used for the rehabilitation of ballet dancers and athletes in New York. Although it has developed over the years, the main goals remain to improve posture, build strength especially around the core, develop balance and stabilise and elongate the spine through mat work or using Pilates equipment such as reformer machines and cadillac/trapeze tables.

So, where yoga has the added benefits of mindfulness through breath work and uses mostly bodyweight poses in repetition or ‘flow’ to work the whole body, Pilates focuses on the control and precision of shorter on-off movements to target core and postural muscles. Despite their differences both workouts are excellent examples of improving overall strength and flexibility.

Reform Athletica

If you like your Pilates with a side of hip décor, ethical ethos and motivational music, then the Reform Athletica studio in Jumeriah might be your cup of tea. Stylishly decorated with artwork from local galleries and promoting a message of sustainability through it’s efforts to minimise single use plastic consumption, it’s about as cool as a fitness studio can be. The signature Reform Method class will give you 50 minutes of intense strength and conditioning exercises, whilst incorporating some Pilates-inspired movements performed on the latest Lagree Megaformer machine. The high intensity session is a full body workout that is low impact and focuses on core strength, muscle toning and flexibility. The studio also offers TRX, Yoga and Kettlebell training, and classes and private sessions are suitable for all, regardless of experience.
Open daily with differing schedules.Villa 40, 165a Jumeirah Road, Jumeirah 1, www.reformathletica.com (04 323 3670).

Real Pilates

A great place for beginners and seasoned lovers of Pilates alike, this studio covers all bases when it comes to regular Pilates and then some. Choose from three versions of mat workouts including Pilates Core; which strengthens and stabilises, you guessed it, the core, Pilates SQ, that adds exercises that also strengthen the back, arms and legs and incorporates small equipment such as resistance rings and toning balls, and Body Burn which mixes all of the above mat exercises with functional fitness moves too. For equipment-based Pilates, there are four options – the signature is the Reformer Core where you stand, sit, lay down and utilise the pulley system of a reformer machine to tone muscles and strengthen the core, and the most advanced is the Reformer Cardio which incorporates intervals by using a jumpboard.
Open daily. One JLT, Al Sarayat Street, www.real-pilates.com (04 458 5399). Other location Town Centre Jumeriah, Jumeriah 1 (04 345 3228).

The PAD
The brainchild of Yasmin Karachiwala, trainer to the Bollywood elite, The PAD opened the doors of its pilates and dance studio in The Greens last summer. Group mat sessions, that are designed as entry level, and will teach you the fundamentals of Pilates such as the correct form, alignment and what areas of your body require work, start at Dhs70. It’s serious business here and you’ll be expected to complete ten of these group sessions (or three private sessions) in order to build enough strength and understanding to move onto the equipment pilates sessions (Dhs120). Here you will work on making your body stronger and leaner – using equipment such as the Reformer, Chair, Bodhi and Spine Corrector. The studio also offers a bit of fun in the shape of Bollywood dance classes – offering the cardio fix that Pilates doesn’t give you.
Open Sun-Thu 7am-9pm Sat 9am-7pm. Onyx Tower 1, The Greens and Views, www.thepadfitness.com (04 294 1745).

Mojo Reformer Pilates

This studio in Dubai Media City boasts some of the newest pilates equipment in the business; the Allegro 2 is not only the least scary looking of machines on the market it’s also more adjustable and easier to use. Mojo offers a full body workout that is a fusion of traditional Pilates and dynamic strength training and is most famous for its cardio session, which is guaranteed to leave you sweaty. As well as a trendy juice bar that you can book ahead from (choices include the coconut water and watermelon Hydrator and the fruit and yoghurt packed Breakfast at Mojo), the studio also asks you to fill in your preferred music choices and body part to train when booking – with trainers then focusing on the most popular requests.
Open daily 6am-10pm. Concord Tower, Dubai Media City, www.ilovemymojo.com (04 360 3399).

The Hundred Wellness Centre
The stand-out session here is the Pilates pole class performed on a special wall unit that has been adapted from the regular trapeze table (Cadillac) that is also used by other studios in Dubai. Exercises are performed on bars and using springs and straps to correct any imbalances, build strength, power and stability and help achieve greater mobility within the body and spine. You’re requested to carry out a regular Pilates class before attempting this version. The Centre also offers mat, reformer and circuit style Pilates, yoga, physiotherapy and chiropractic services as well as a Saturday morning organic farmers market, with the vegetables freshly picked from farms in the Al Rahba and Al Khawaneej areas of the UAE.
Open daily with differing class times. 53b Street, Jumeirah 1, www.thehundred.ae (04 344 7333).

Naya 
This motor-city based studio offers eight different Pilates classes – focusing on careful progression as well as a pre and post-natal options. Beginners will work their way through Pilates Mat level 1 and 2, next moving onto the Reformer Introduction sessions and then to Reformer Levels 1 and 2. The most advanced can then try the Reformer Jumpboard– a class that adds cardio to get your muscles into shape by adding a jumpboard to the reformer machine. Expect kick, jumps and other moves that will have you out of breath and your muscles burning. The intensity of all sessions can then be adjusted over time. All classes are based on the original principles of “concentration and intense focus, control over every aspect of every movement, centreing motion over a “powerhouse” of muscles in the centre of your body, efficient and elegant flow of movement, precision in every move, and deep and coordinated breathing”.
Open Sun-Thu 8-45am-9pm, Fri-Sat 9am-noon.Kojak Building, Motor City, www.naya.ae (04 551 6262).

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