In this upbeat group fitness class, you can expect to work out to the beat of top-rated popular music while completing Pilates-inspired moves.

And you’ll hear the word “POP” a lot, because just by attending class, you become part of the POP Army — a dedicated community of POPsters, who are active on social media, as well as in the group fitness studio and are passionate about their workout.

POP Pilates overview

POP Pilates is a strength and flexibility workout and can be done in bare feet on nothing but a yoga mat or the floor. There’s absolutely no equipment needed (other than the mat), because all of the resistance work is done using your own bodyweight.

What beginners need to know

Overall, the class is very welcoming for beginners, because there is an easier option or modification given for nearly all of the moves. There is no jumping around, no confusing or fast-moving choreography, and there is plenty of stretching, which feels just plain good.
Throughout class, you can expect to stay in the same general spot on the floor (which is your personal space for the duration of the workout), working through breathing and small Pilates-inspired muscular strength movements targeting all parts of the core, trunk, thighs and more.

What a typical class is like

]In a 55-minute class, there are 13 tracks, and the order of tracks will be the same no matter where you attend POP Pilates, starting with a warm-up. Each track will either have you standing up, laying on your back, in a table-top position on all fours, in a plank position or doing a little bit of cardio in place. Then, you finish up with some stretching to cool down. (As a note, some POP Pilates classes offer the 30-minute express, which omits a few tracks.)

POP Pilates instructors are taught to give clear direction, look out for the new participants, offer options for making each move more or less challenging and give coaching cues to make sure your form is correct and on point — and most importantly – make sure you are getting the most you can out of the move.

As a participant, you’ll find that although there are tons of transitions from move to move, the pace of the class isn’t so fast that you can’t catch on. And nearly every track offers a good burn in the core, with a few places of heart-rate training as well. The 55-minute goes by super fast and features plenty of breaks, in which you can sit back into child’s pose and recover.

Because of the range of movements and options, people of all fitness levels can be challenged in this welcoming class, without having to endure impact or high-intensity pushing. And don’t forget about all that stretching – it sure is nice.

Here’s the lowdown on the class …

The format

  1. Standing warm-up
  2. Total body opener
  3. The Hundreds – this one is a variation on the traditional Pilates 100s, which means you hold a move for 100 beats or 10 breaths doing small continuous movements
  4. Butt challenge
  5. Ab challenge
  6. Crazy cardio
  7. Abs and thighs
  8. Upper body
  9. Obliques
  10. Back work
  11. Kick butt cardio
  12. Hard core
  13. Flexibility training

The moves

Many moves in POP Pilates have unusual names. Some of the moves are specific to POP Pilates, like the “dancing dog,” which is a move going from downward dog to upward dog. There is also the earthquake, gazelle, cha cha abs, dancer’s sweep, frogger and more, which are all slight variations on yoga or Pilates moves created just for POP Pilates.

These exercises include all types of sit-ups, little leg lifts, curtsy squats, mountain climbers, bridges and supermans. In class, the instructor will demo each move, sometimes before the track even begins, so you know what to expect when it’s time to perform the move within the song/track.

The crowd

In a class like POP Pilates, you can probably expect to find a good portion of females, more so than males — although people of all shapes, sizes and genders would benefit from the work. There will likely be people of all fitness levels, taking the easiest option all the way up to the most advanced option.

The music

All of the music is pop and top 40. Chances are you will have heard the song before on the radio and can even sing a few bars of the catchy tune. Expect to hear songs from Justin Timberlake, Jason Derulo, Gilantes, Ariana Grande, Shakira, Diplo and anything with the right beat to make you want to move.

POP Pilates ratings:

  • Intensity – 5, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being super hard.
  • Sweat factor – 4 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being drenched.
  • Impact – Very low: only a few options involved small plank jacks or any jumping.
  • Cardio – Moderate: small sections get your heart-rate up.
  • Strength – Yes: mostly focused on core and trunk.
  • Flexibility – Yes: quite a bit.
  • Pace – Not too fast, not too slow: Just right.
  • Equipment – A yoga mat.
  • Music – Pop hits.
  • Length – 30 or 55 minutes.
  • Suggested attire – Tight clothing that won’t ride up or roll around. Bare feet.

Benefits of POP Pilates

If you’re wondering if POP Pilates is right for you. Here’s what you could get out of it:

  • Increased flexibility
  • Improved posture
  • Cardiovascular conditioning
  • Stronger core, stronger legs and stronger glutes
  • Fun community vibe
  • Chance to breathe deeply and unwind

Try this POP Pilates move: Dancing Dog

Downward dogUpward dog

Get a taste of the POP Pilates experience at home by trying out “Dancing Dog,” my favorite move from the class. Here’s how you can do it …

  • Start in a plank position with your palms directly under your shoulders, toes hip-width distance apart on the ground and your body long and strong. Then shift into a downward-dog position by lifting your hips up to the sky and drawing your chest back toward your thighs. Make sure to keep your head in line with your arms and your neck neutral, pressing through your palms into the ground.
  • Keep your feet and hands in the same place as you drop your hips down to hover just above the mat, and at the same time lift your chest up and forward, pulling your shoulders back. Gaze toward the side of the room with your neck neutral at the top of the move. (For a more advanced option, gaze upward toward where the ceiling and wall meet.)
  • In the upward-dog position, engage your triceps and keep a micro-bend in both your elbows and your knees, so that they don’t lock. Squeeze your glutes and your quads, then push back up into the downward-dog position with your hips lifted.
  • Move slowly between the two positions several times to warm up your entire body.
  • OPTION: To limit the range of motion, you can also choose to start in a child’s pose position sitting your hips back onto your feet with arms in front of you on the mat. Then shift forward into a table-top position with your back straight, ending with your shoulders over your palms and hips over your knees. Move slowly between the two positions.

You can find a POP Pilates class near you by searching this finder. Also, read more about Cassey Ho, the creator of POP Pilates and try some of her favorite moves.

For more class reviews from 24Life, click here.