I’ve taken my fair share of fitness classes—from underwater cycling to surfboard-simulated circuit training—and plenty of non-water-related workouts, too. I was super into barre when that was the big thing and made my graceful transition into a Pilates devotee when reformer classes became the pinnacle of cool girl workouts. I gladly bop around to whichever class I feel will help complement my typical cardio and HIIT routines and, lately, that’s been Pvolve. I tried the class years ago in its studio in Manhattan and enjoyed it, but the location wasn’t super convenient to me, so I’d go occasionally, but not religiously. But, location isn’t a concern anymore as it offers on-demand classes that I can take whenever I feel like it.
The Pvolve method, which focuses on sculpting and strengthening, is surprisingly different from other classes that I’ve taken. Of course, it’s not reinventing the wheel—most fitness classes will have some common threads—but Pvolve puts its own spin on things. In terms of equipment, rather than a separate resistance band and ball, the two come together and basically force you to ignite certain muscles that you otherwise might ignore during bodyweight moves like squats and planks.
I have the signature prop kit bundle, which comes with its P.ball, P.band, Precision Mat, and a one-month streaming membership. I’ve been Airplaying the classes right onto my TV from my living room, which is so easy to do that I have no excuse to skip my daily sweat sesh. You know who else streams the classes from home? Jennifer Aniston, so it’s safe to say I’m in good company.
I enjoy that the instructors will explain why they cue a certain movement and how it works out the body. For instance, there’s a strong emphasis on functional movement and moves that imitate everyday actions. In one of the classes I took, the instructor was talking about how the moves were meant to mimic how we walk. The reason: If we do it right in class, we’ll naturally correct our daily movements even when we’re not thinking about them. I love this approach to things because it’s not just about what we do in class for maybe five hours a week, but how we treat and move our bodies the approximately 160 other hours.
As I mentioned, the equipment bundle comes with a Precision Mat, but it’s far from your regular yoga mat. It’s actually square-shaped and has numbers on it in a clock layout. This is to help you achieve the right angles and foot placement. That’s one of the most glaring things that stands out to me with the Pvolve method as opposed to other classes; the exercises challenge you to stand in ways and do movements that may not feel natural, but that are working muscles that are otherwise neglected.
It’s also important to note that this method is very much about the mind-to-muscle connection. We’re meant to think about the muscles that we’re working in order to make sure that they’re engaged. After several reps of one movement, the instructor may talk about meeting your threshold, allowing you to push deeper and past the “I can’t” mindset. And once you’re done with one repetitive movement, you move on to the next one that targets another side of that same muscle group. This is to make sure that you hit all the angles and fire all the muscles so that one isn’t left to overcompensate. In strength training and HIIT, it’s mostly about powering up the bigger muscle groups, with the smaller ones sometimes going overlooked. But, it’s very clear after just a few Pvolve classes that the method is about strength and stability in a more comprehensive way that engages the whole body. The result: overall better form in each and every movement we make.
And before you think, “Oh, it’s like yoga, I’m not going to get enough of a workout in,” I encourage you to actually give it a try because in just one of its 39-minute classes (in my air-conditioned apartment), I was dripping sweat. Those tiny movements will get ya, making you shake and sweat in the moment and feel sore after as a reminder that you worked your muscles well.