Spa junkie at… Heartcore, Fulham

Our reporter ramps up her reformer workout at the new outpost of a cult Pilates studio

Image: Jay Yeo

It’s about time Heartcore opened another studio. Recently, it has been easier for me to get a dinner reservation at the Chiltern Firehouse than it has been to secure a reformer at a Heartcore Pilates class. “Fully booked” always seems to be the refrain of the day.

So I was thrilled to hear about a new class – with the latest reformers – to accommodate the overspill, which opened last week. As it is still under-the-radar, I was able to book myself a spot.

The new Fulham studio is the perfect distance for a pre- or post-workout run from my home in Knightsbridge. I skip and zip through Lilly Allen’s new album with a minute to spare and arrive ready to lengthen and lean.

The room reminds me of a studio in NYC or LA, with large, wooden floors, high ceilings with an industrial finish, and mirrors from wall to wall. Instructor Robbie runs me through Heartcore’s exclusive core reformer, its CoreFormer, which has been designed by Heartcore founder and trainer-to-the-stars Jess Schuring, who counts Robert Downey Jr and Elle Macpherson among her fans.

The new core machines are the Bentley Continentals of reformers, sexy and sleek yet sturdy and safe. The design shows that someone with hours of class training is behind it, as annoying time-wasting elements such as cable changers and wonky ropes are blissfully absent. Instead, when I pop the leather bonnet I find a very slick set of springs, one white (the lowest resistance) and a variety of orange and blue (highest resistance). In a reformer class, resistance is the name of the game.

What’s also unique is that this new model is one of the first Pilates reformers in the UK to feature a back on the seat, which allows me to work harder against the resistance of the machine. It’s just me against the springs for 50 minutes – I won’t be leaving without the shakes…

As the Ibiza beats blast out, Robbie directs the 12 of us in the class through a choreography of pain. “Today we are going to be working the glutes and the core,” he announces.  

First we stand on the carriage, pushing out with the left leg while squatting on the right – a minute and a half on each side. My legs shake like jelly. Next we lie on our backs, hips raised, one leg in the air, and push away while jiggling to Pitbull on the stereo.  


Time to start the rotational workout, beginning with a mermaid crunch. We are told to sit on the back of the seat, tuck one leg under the other and hook our outstretched leg into a band attached to the machine (to give us stability). We then start lowering our upper bodies up and down. With each leg outstretched, I can feel the entire side of my body working – hard.

Next up is a side plank, then a front plank, but we must hold each position while moving the carriage back and forth – I feel the muscles in my lower abdomen working intensely and deeply. A few beads of sweat start to appear – I must be doing something right!

The entire routine is torture, but of the best kind – I can feel my core muscles being put through their paces. Afterwards, I treat myself to a kale and ginger superjuice.

Bottom Line

This new Pilates de jour offers deep isolated work on a variety of muscles – a full body workout without the bulking up (which is great for those, like me, who are prone to thunder thighs). The back of the seat allowed me to push harder against the resistance of the machine, intensifying the workout.

It feels like this class is a refined version of the original Heartcore Pilates workout. I loved the new studio, Robbie was brilliant and the machines are a smooth ride to skinny.

Spa Junkie is the founder of FaceGym. She pays for all her own travel, accommodation and therapies.


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