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Pilates Central Review

Our resident fitness expert Phil McDougall investigates the Islington studio

Published on February 9th 2012.


Pilates Central Review

ONE word? Precision. This is not somewhere to book yourself into if you want to try a reformer machine, have a fitness class or ‘do Pilates’. It is somewhere you can pay a world class expert to either rehab an injury or increase your sports or dancing performance with the clinical, precise use of a full range of high grade Pilates machines.

The facility is well lit and clean, containing the highest quality Pilates reformers and cadillacs on the market. London is about five years behind NYC in most things health and fitness related – there’s a reformer studio on every Manhattan city block.

This is not somewhere to book yourself into if you want to try a reformer machine, have a fitness class or ‘do Pilates’.

What is a reformer? The unfamiliar eye might say it resembles a rack (torture device). It has a gliding pad on which you lay, sit or stand with springs, ropes, straps and handles for your limbs, allowing you to work or stretch any muscle in your body. A Cadillac is another type of Pilates machine that resembles a four-poster bed with cables, springs and such attached. Said machines can be used for rehab, flexibility, muscle endurance and toning or just a good old fashioned fat burning thrashing.

Pilates Central is predominantly a rehabilitation clinic where people with specific problems, like ligament damage or back pain, go. However, the team of experts also enjoy using their extensive knowledge and equipment to increase the sports performance and functionality of athletes and dancers.

As I walked in through the front door I was lucky enough to be greeted by John E Kennett, who is described by big names in dance and sports as a guru (he works in the studio twice a week). This was justified when, during my postural assessment and treatment, he picked up on imbalances in my body that an osteopath recently missed. The first session lasts 90 minutes, and contrary to the interests of maximising profits, one-on-one is the only option available.

Have your medical history on the tip of your tongue as you’ll be quizzed and the more information you give the more beneficial your treatment will be. Kennett’s masterful knowledge of anatomy is matched by his ability to apply your body to the various machines, fitting the purpose of your treatment. With the accuracy of a Royal Marine and his rifle, he targets the exact muscle fibres needed to regain muscular balance.

Conclusion? If you’ve been released from the ‘care’ of the NHS and feel you want your body to function more efficiently; have chronic pain or dysfunction that nobody else can seem to fix; if you’re a keen runner and are looking to improve the efficiency of your running gait to knock minutes off your 10km or if you’re a golfer and want to hit the ball further, book yourself into Pilates Central with John E Kennett (I can’t comment on any of the other therapists as I didn’t meet any). Oh, and don’t be put off by their ugly, boring website.

Phil McDougall is a former Royal Marines Commando and international level ski racer with more than 15 years experience as a top level triathlete. He is now professional sports performance specialist and a remedial massage therapist.

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