This is your one-stop shop for Equinox class reviews. I will continually update this post. As someone who attends Equinox classes almost everyday, I am so enthusiastic to share this information with you.
Equinox strength classes
Athletic conditioning is a full body workout using bodyweight and a variety of equipment. You will be doing a combination of HIIT, weight circuit training, and core work. In the particular class I took, the instructor uses sliders. It is about 45 minutes each class, and by the end of it you will definitely feel like you had a workout. The exercises alternate such that you are constantly raising and lowering your heartrate, which really kicks your metabolism into high gear. You will be doing moves like kettlebell swings, medicine ball lunge twists, skaters, and plank jacks. The equipment can take a bit to set up at your station so get there at least 5 minutes early. You will also likely use sliders and sandbags, as well as a few sets of weights for doing drop sets or adjusting for different kinds of exercises (i.e., chest press versus bicep curls versus squats.
In a typical class, you do several circuits with 3-4 exercises in each circuit. Between each circuit you typically get a 1 minute break, a good time to refuel and hydrate. This is not a “take every day” class, but great once or twice a week for a full body conditioning and intense cardio workout.
No, this is not a 50 Shades of Grey theme class (although, that would be cool:)
This class is very bootcamp based, where everyone is at different stations and rotates from one to another after doing an all-out push for 45 seconds. Each exercise is either mostly cardio or strength based, so you would be going from a plank exercise to step-ups then and then over to the battleropes (or a rowing machine) in a course of under 2 minutes. It’s really about how much effort you want to put into it.You can either make it really challenging or a moderate sintensity workout.
Ropes and rowers
This class is very similar to Whipped, except there is more emphaiss on battleropes and rowing machines. Still, there is a bootcamp style circuit-based format with switching stations.
Equinox yoga classes
Equinox has really expanded their brand of yoga classes. While the offerings were only across 2-3 types of classes, it is quickly expanding to make yoga an excellent choice for both strength training and recovery. Here is a brief summary of the different types:
- Athletic Yoga: This is very akin to power yoga, where you will be going in a lot of different directions on the mat and turning from one pose to another quickly. It is not as “flowy” as Vinyasa yoga, discussed next, and there are more arm balances and strength-focused movements this class,
- Vinyasa Yoga (Including Heated): This is probably what most people conceive of for a yoga class, like the kind you see in movies and commercials. It’s the typical set-up of Sun A, Sun B, and then Sub Bs with a few more add-one, usually followed by standing balance postures and closed with some deep stretches. Equinox has upped the intensity in some studios (like the Anthem Row one in DC) with a Heated Vinyasa Yoga class. If you want to learn more about Hot Yoga I definitely encourage you to check out my post here. The heat for the Equinox Yoga class is not on the “hot” or anywhere near the Bikram yoga level, but it is definitely noticeable and does a nice job of warming up your muscles and enabling a deeper practice.
- Yoga Sculpt: If this sounds familiar, it is because Corepower offers this variety also. You will be using light handweights to support your movements in your flow. There are usually built in reps of traditional strength movements like squats, tricep kickbacks, bicep curls, and pushups integrated into the sequences. There usually is also a significantly longer core (abs) sequence.
- Yoga Strong: This is a brand new offering from Equinox, and I would say it is very similar to Yoga Sculpt but with slightly different emphasis on weight-bearing rather than weight lifting. The equipment used is weighted sandbags, which you will both hold and place on your body like on your shoulders, back, and feet.
- Regeneration Yoga: This is what you think of as a traditional yoga recovery class. There are a lot of seated stretching postures and longer holds, but it is not quite on the Yin Yoga level. I love takng this class on a Sunday because that is exactly the type of vibe you need to relax and get over the Sunday scaries. Not to mention, it is a great option for those of us (like me) who get squirrely if they don’t do some type of workout everyday. Since this is true active recovery, you can integrate it into a 6 or 7 day workout regime or do it the day after you have had a really tough workout.
Equinox Barre and Barre-based classes
Your traditional barre class, you will start by doing compound body movements, some core work, planks, pushups, and then it is time to move to the barre for some traditional ballet barre movements. It is typically thigh and hamstring work followed by “seat,” i.e., your glutes, and then usually concluding with more core work and some light stretching on the mat.
This class is like barre on steroids! You are using some pretty advanced equipment that you hang off of the barre, like sashes and rubber bands that clip to the barre. By creating extra “pulley” resistance, the movements resemble those you could do on a Pilates reformer. There is a lot of extra balancing that naturally comes with fighting against the center of gravity. There is also a lot of resistance created by the pulling of the bands away from the barre with exercises like hip circles, leg lifts, bicep curls, and tricep extensions.
Bala Bangle Barre Burn
It sounds like a tongue twister but this workout will definitely will twist your body, too. This is another off-the-barre class features the Bala Bangle and light dumbbells to add variety to traditional barre exercises. If you need a visual, Bala Bangles look a little bit like this:
Off the Barre
Off the barre is what it sounds like – you are doing barre-class type movements, with no barre. There is a lot of squatting with heels raised, Pilates-type movements, and VERY challenging core work, usually including sliders. It’s a sneaky class because it does not seem hard on paper but by the end of it you are really wondering if you can keep it up. The plank sequences and legwork requires a lot of focus and endurance, and willingeness to endure a little pain.
Ballet by Equinox ABT
Ballet by Equinox is a collaboration between the fitness studio and the American Ballet Theatre (ABT),. Launched in November, this class is a doorway to the world of professional ballet —it’s more than barre class plus, it is real ballet with all the real French terms that I am just learning. The workoiut was created by quinox instructor, Chris Vo, and ABT corps de ballet member, Katie Boren.Participants will do across-the-floor combinations, incorporating the fundamentals of ballet with center barre, jumps, turns, and Thera-band sequences to improve posture, flexibility, balance, and mindful movement.
I found by the end of class, I had several moments when I had to double over and rest my hands on my knees to catch my breath. The sequences with the bands have some very elaborate wraps but the instructors go through this really patiently and wait for everyone to catch up. The good thing is that the instructor does the class with you, so you can basically just mirror their movements and watch them in the mirror.
I am not a dancer, but I LOVE this class. I feel myself improving and gaining more confidence each time. The balance and some of the footwork can get really complicated, but it is SO fun to jump, twirl, chasse, and extend your arms and legs in long positions. The class is usually a mix of ex-ballerinas and newbies like me, usually those of us who are already obsessed with yoga and/or barre.
This class is really engaging, it is building my confidence – and I am seeing real changes in my body. More of a leanness and much better posture, which is the reason I took it in the first place.
Equinox Body Sculpt Classes
These classes come in several varieties: cardio sculpt, barefoot scuplt (without shoes) or Description from Equinox app: All of them center around an endurance based workout using high reps and light to medium weights. It is similar in some elements to a barre or pilates class, but much more focused on the muscle sculpting element rather than lengthening.
Equipment: Light weights (5s and 10s)
Class format: After an aerobics-style warm-up, we started 3 circuits, with low-weight, high rep sets and compound movements. Compound movements are a term that describes using your upper and lower body at the same time. For example, these included:
- Lunge and bicep curls
- Squat and single arm back fly
- Side lunges and lateral raises
- Backward lunge and tricep kickbacks
- Front raise with side leg raise
- Pushup with leg crunch
We also did a variety of ab exercises at the end, including double leg crunches and double leg raises.
The verdict: This was true to form of being a sculpt class, with very little cardio. We were constantly moving but there was not any jumping or cardio bursts. This was like a barre or pilates class, but mostly standing. I enjoyed it because I rarely am able to focus on doing high rep low weight training unless specifically guided. While there is some dissonance as to whether high-rep, low weight or low-rep, high weight is better, for me I have found that mixing the two as opposed to doing only one or the other gets the best results.
Equinox Pilates Classes – Private Pilates reformer, Pilates Mat, Pilates Fusion, and Pilates Remix
Equinox has many varieties of Pilates classes, so it can get confusing on which one to pick. Before I get into that, I will say that Equinox has an excellent Pilatest private training program. I recently took a class with Cecil at the DC Equinox Anthem Row studio, and I forgot how deceptive it is when you are only really using an essentially stationary machine powered by your own body weight. These sessions are definitely pricey, so if you are interested in them, it is an investment. Fortunately each studio usually offers a complimentary session for new joiners (pictured below).
There is a lot of confusion at first between what is Pilates Mat versus Pilates Remix versus what is Pilates Fusion. Pilates Mat is usually your garden variety class starting with the 100 (a series of quick arm movements done while you are lying in an engaged ab position on the floor). Pilates Remix is closer in kin to the regular mat pilates class, which is also offered. You may be using additional equipment, like a magic circle, but you mostly will be on the mat like in true Pilates style. Pilates Fusion, on the other hand, is definitely more upbeat and you will be doing Pilates-based movements, but also lunges, squats, and some light cardio elements. You also will be using extra props like the io ball (in the picture above) to create resistance during core exercises, like for example pushups with one hand on the io ball to create imbalance. The second half of class will be more pilates style mat work focusing on core strengthening and leg work.
Which is better really depends on what you are in the mood for. If you want more compound body movements (i.e., those that engage both your upper and lower body at the same time), Pilates Fusion would probably be a better choice; Pilares Remix is if you really want to start the class with doing the 100s. Both will work your powerhouse and draw more attention to your spinal and core engagement muscles. It is also great to pair either with a light cardio sessions afterwards, to help flush out the lactic acid from the muscles. It is also excellent cross-training.