What Is Bodyrok Like? I’m Spilling The Tea On The Hip New Pilates Workout

bodyrok review

I’m not going to bury the lead: I have a love/hate relationship with Bodyrok. It’s no secret I love Club Pilates, but I also love trying other types of popular workouts, such as Pure Barre and Rowhouse. So, when Bodyrok, the new, cool, loosely pilates based, strength training workout opened right near my house, it didn’t take me long to sign up and get ready to Rok My Body.

But, after a couple months of attending classes from one to three times per week, I might just be bidding adieu to my Bodyrok membership. First, though, I’m going to share all the details with you so that you can make a reformed decision (see what I did there?) on whether Bodyrok is for you.

*I know reformed is not the right word, but it’s a joke. Work with me 😉

What is Bodyrok?

bodyrok review

With their super loud club music and a custom pilates reformer that takes generous liberties with the classic design, Bodyrok has taken a classic pilates and made it hip. They call it “pilates redesigned”. Basically, Bodyrok does for pilates what spin classes do for bikes or Rowhouse for rowing. Going to a Bodyrok class is a little bit like going to the club, from the cool girls who come in packs wearing similar spandex outfits, to the music so loud you can barely hear yourself think. Bodyrok classes use a combination of body weight, light weights, and weight based reformer exercises. The machine has a variety of springs that adjust the tension (read: weight) on the carriage, which you’ll push out and in during various exercises. There are also several sets of ropes and a bungee that can be used for other exercises, like bicep curls and rows. While there are shoulder rests, kind of like a traditional reformer machine, they are usually removed for classes and I have only done a couple classes where we laid on the carriage and used the straps like we do at Club Pilates.

As for the atmosphere, they do dim the lights a little, but not as much as Club Pilates, and certainly not as much as Rowhouse – two other group workouts that have mastered the art of balancing music with the voice of an instructor. Yet, at both of those other workouts, I have no problem at all hearing the instructor’s voice. At Bodyrok, it’s common to see everyone staring at each other for a couple seconds in between exercises until one person translates the instructor’s miming to what the movement should look like on the machine. I never thought I had a hearing problem, but after a couple months of Bodyrok classes, I’m starting to wonder. Or, maybe there’s something off with their PA system. I will applaud the effort and enthusiasm of the instructors though – it’s not for lack of effort that nobody has a clue what’s going on. They generously model the movement as best they can from the floor while repeating themselves loudly and then walk around the room to kindly correct, spot, and improve each person’s position.

What are Bodyrok Instructors Like?

I’m not sure where they find these people, but they are prime examples of what a person could look like if they lived on lettuce and protein, and embody the result of excessive exercise euphoria. They are drenched in positivity, which I’d like to think is a product of taking many, many Bodyrok classes, but unlike them, I don’t leave class floating on a “runners high”. Oh no, I drag myself to my car feeling like I’ve been worked over from head to toe with giant hulk like fists and dream of spending the remaining hours of  my evening on a heat pad or soaking in a magnesium infused warm bath.

Unlike me, these instructors bounce around the class like little exercise fairies. The giant smiles on their faces temporarily blind us, giving us a false sense of confidence that yes – we can support our entire body’s weight on our pinky toe while simultaneously squatting and doing some kind of overhead press. In recent classes, they’ve even started learning our names and seem to know exactly when you’re about to throw in the white, Bodyok towel. They choose that moment to call out your name along with some much needed positive reinforcement (all lies) that fuels you with another few seconds of strength before you collapse on the machine in exhaustion and intense self-loathing. Overall, their energy and enthusiasm is impressive and provides a much needed distraction from the pain of holding endless planks.

How Do Bodyrok Classes Work?

You’ll want to arrive at least 5-10 minutes early, dressed to work out. You’ll want to wear stretchy leggings that aren’t too tight and don’t have any pockets or weird seams on the backside, because you may be laying down on the reformer. I’ve tested a lot of activewear and wrote a post with my top picks for pilates leggings, but if you want the elevator pitch: these leggings are my absolute favorite. They are buttery soft, stretchy, super flattering, don’t roll down, allow your body to move and breathe, and are super affordable.

Once you get there, stow your shoes and belongings in a cubby, grab a towel, and go choose an open reformer. If you happen to be attending a class where a gaggle of cool girls are going together, you may have to take whatever machine isn’t saved. While Rowhouse uses an app based machine selector so you know exactly what machine you’re on and Club Pilates doesn’t allow you to save machines for friends, Bodyrok seems to have  embraced these groups of friends going to get their sweat on together. To get an idea of what you’re in for, head to their Instagram and check out all the “sweaty selfies” that people post after their workouts.

If that doesn’t scare you away, make sure you bring your water to your machine. You’ll need to stay hydrated, unless you like passing out. Once the class starts, the fast-paced, club music is turned all the way up and the instructor uses a mic to project their voice over the music and it’s go time. Don’t expect a leisurely warm-up or even a starting stretch. You won’t get one of those here, in fact, if you need a little warm-up time, come early and do it yourself, because once class starts you are thrust straight into an exercise that a cold body is going to protest strongly against (at least mine does). So, don’t be afraid to make modifications and take water breaks – at your own discretion. The pace of the class is quick, with very little time between exercises. If you’re feeling a little lost, just remember that nobody else is looking at you, because they are entirely focused on not falling off their own machine. That being said, Bodyrok delivers on their mission to give you a 60-minute workout in 45-minutes.

What are Bodyrok Classes Like?

The exercises are done in timed cycles, not by reps, and usually the cycle will have something like one minute of an exercise, followed by a hold with tension, and then you’ll do the entire exercise again for a period of time. By the second time you’re doing that exercise, you feel that muscle group really fatiguing and it can also feel a little repetitive. You can make modifications, but you’ll need to know how to make those adjustments if you want to stay with the flow of class, so listen to your body and do what you need to do.

Even with modifications needed for my shoulder, I find that I sweat a lot more in these classes than I do in other workouts. That alone tells me that my body is working harder, which is exactly the reason I am there to begin with – even if the experience is less than pleasant. And, after just a short time of being a member, I am seeing changes in both tone and muscle strength.

So, if you are looking for a hard workout that is going to challenge your body, push your limits, and give you results – and you’re willing to suffer a little bit for it – then Bodyrok might be just the class you’ve been looking for.

What Bodyrok Classes Are Offered?

bodyrok review

Bodyrok classes are named by the type or muscle groups they focus on, but the most important thing for you to know is that all of them have a strong focus on abs. And I don’t just mean one or two ab exercises. These classes work the abs more than I’ve ever worked my abs in my entire life. So, understand that when you read the descriptions of the classes, mentally add in the phrase, “Heavily ab focused”. And, if you’re in one of these classes and wondering how the heck you’ll finish it – you’re not alone. One class was so hard, a girl that looked like she was in much better shape than me actually waved the white towel and said she was done five minutes before class was over. So, if  you think you’re the only one on the verge of collapsing, don’t worry, everybody feels that way.

Other than that, here are the different class types offered that you can choose from. There is not much of a difference between levels 1 and 2, in my opinion, but that’s probably because they all equally make you wish you were dead. Check with your local studio to see what the current schedule is.

bodyrok review

You can see that some classes focus on certain areas of the body (plus abs), while others like “Core + Cardio” use the jumpboard, which is my favorite. Classes that don’t have a specific zone of focus are going to be heavily ab focused (there it is again) with full body.

What Bodyrok Memberships Are Offered?

The best way to experience Bodyrok is through one of their memberships, which will save you money on the individual class price. This is certainly not a cheap workout to do and you’ll pay more for 12 classes a month than an entire gym membership. But, for people like me that aren’t going to go to a gym anyway, it’s a better fit and a workout I’ll actually go and do.

Contact your local studio to find out about any promotions or offers and try out a class before making any decisions. The more you buy, the cheaper the classes are, unless you pay for unlimited and go less than 2x per week. I have always been on the unlimited plan with Club Pilates, for me it’s less than $200 a month and I go 3-5x a week. This brings my per class price down to $10-15 a class. For Bodyrok, I signed up for the 12x a month plan, because the unlimited plan in my area was over $200.

If you’d like to do pilates, using free YouTube videos, and your own reformer, check out my post where I find the 6 best pilates reformers for your home pilates workout.

How Hard Is Bodyrok?

Okay, imagine a plank. Now, hold that plank. Now do several variations of that plank on a weighted carriage that moves. Now add some mountain climbers, some side planks, some pike planks, and some inch worms. Tired yet? Too bad, because you’re about to do even more planks. This pretty much sums up my first Bodyrok class. Out of the 45 minutes I was on the machine, I would say over half of that time was a variation of a plank. As a person with chronic shoulder inflammation and inflammation in my hands/wrists (courtesy of my old friend Lupus), this is my actual nightmare.

I took a picture of the sequence of exercises from my last class to share with you. These are projected on the wall for each class, which I like, because then I can see with my own eyes what my future demise looks like.

bodyrok review

I know a lot of these sound fancy, but let me simplify each of these exercises for you, starting at the top of the left-hand column:

  1. Plank
  2. Another type of plank
  3. Forearm plank/ab exercises
  4. Lunge
  5. Inner thighs
  6. Lunge
  7. Abs with body weight on forearms
  8. Abs with body weight on forearms
  9. Abs with arms outstretched like a plank
  10. Bicep Curl
  11. Shoulders/Back
  12. Lunge other side
  13. Inner Thigh exercise again (same one)
  14. Lunge other side
  15. Abs with body weight on forearms
  16. Abs with body weight on forearms or outstretched arms like a plank
  17. Lat pull
  18. Abs with body weight on forearms
  19. More planks

As you can see here, this Rok Your Body 2 is really a Rok Your Plank 2 with a little bit of other things mixed in. The amount of body weight supported by your arms is where my shoulder inflammation starts to tap me out. There are a lot of other ways to work abs without supporting body weight on the arms, so I would love to see Bodyrok mix it up.

So, why do I go back? Two reasons really. First, if I’m going to write about something, I want to be well-informed. I told myself I’d try enough classes, for long enough, to have an educated opinion before writing this review. Second, after I recovered from that first class – emotionally and physically (it took a few days) – I felt things in my abdominal muscles I haven’t felt for ten years and since before my first c-section. It was enough to make me curious about taking more classes and seeing if I could wake up more nerve endings. I mean, why not? I’d survived that first class somehow, I could do it again.

And, turns out, every single class has been completely different. Some are much more plank heavy than others, but it’s not a guarantee that is going to happen and I am always delighted when a class has a lot more legs or a better balance, since that’s where I have more strength. This constant change keeps my body and muscles guessing and has resulted in small, but noticeable, changes in my physique and muscle strength in a short amount of time. Which, I’ll be honest, are the main reasons why I work out.

Bodyrok vs. Club Pilates: What’s the difference?

club pilates

A Club Pilates gym

Well, I could write a whole post on this one, but I’ll try to be concise. There really isn’t that much in common between these two workouts, even if they both say they use pilates style workouts. Club Pilates is certainly closer to a classical pilates class and their reformer is similar to the original design. Club Pilates workouts are going to flow at a slightly slower pace, with music that is loud, but not overly so, and instructors who typically talk in a calmer, steady voice. The classes are darker, which I like, and give you a feeling of privacy (usually), although some exercises will have you closer to your neighbors than you might like. I see people at all stages in their health journeys at Club Pilates, too, so no matter your age, weight, or physical fitness level, you won’t feel out of place at all. There’s never been a cliquey vibe and I think all the members appreciate that.

Bodyrok really isn’t pilates. There’s very, very little strap-based exercises or classical pilates exercises used here. It’s a lot more like HIT based exercises that move quickly and utilize a lot of body weight positions. The music is loud, the instructors are very energetic, and the people come to class to work out hard. Also, Bodyrok very much has a cool girl vibe. This does bring a lot of positive energy and excitement to the classes, but for members not in the “group”, it can feel a little isolating. Sure, they’re nice about it when they tell you that reformer that looks empty is being saved for their friend, who hasn’t even walked in the building yet, but it doesn’t create the most welcoming vibe. The instructors, too, seem to gravitate towards these lithe, weightless, Lululemon clad members, or maybe they’re all related and sprang from the same genetically blessed gene pool. Regardless, I tend to keep to myself, particularly when I’m about to embark on 45 minutes of pure torture, so it doesn’t bother me to feel like an outsider.

That being said, I’ve seen more results with Bodyrok than many other workouts, which is refreshing and keeps me motivated to go back, even though I hate it. And, I’ve yet to take the same flow of exercises twice. Having been in many Club Pilates classes where the instructor was not prepared or just repeated the same flow for weeks of classes, this level of enthusiasm at Bodyrok is noticed and appreciated.

Bottom line: Club Pilates classes are slower, often easier, and calmer. Bodyrok classes ooze energy, work you hard, and get you results – your instructor will make sure of it.

Is Bodyrok beginner-friendly?

I have to be honest with you and say that no, I do not think that Bodyrok is beginner friendly. By beginner, I mean you are not currently strength training or working out. If that’s your situation, you could probably survive a Bodyrok class, but it wouldn’t be pleasant and it might be so discouraging you don’t go back. I would recommend improving your baseline fitness before signing up. If you can do a couple minutes of planks, some hard cardio, and basic strength training, you’re probably going to be okay, but still expect it to hurt. If you’ve been doing Club Pilates or Pure Barre, you’ll be more prepared than most for some of the exercises/positions, but go in knowing that it still won’t be easy.

I did read some reviews on Bodyrok before attending my first class, and I’m convinced those people must be Olympic level athletes, because it was way harder for me than I thought it would be. That’s why I’m keeping it real for you here.

What is the Bodyrock Reformer Like?

bodyrok review

Again, I’d like to reiterate that their machine takes a lot of liberties with a traditional pilates reformer. There are some things I like, and some things I really don’t like, about the Bodyrock machine. Let’s start with the good:

I like that there are so many strap options here. They do rotate between them and each one gives you a little bit of a different experience. I also appreciate that the handle bars move and lock into place in various positions. This allows you to customize the hold for the exercise and my wrists need that. I also appreciate how the jumpboard easily goes in and out, unlike the Club Pilates one that requires a lot more effort to put in, tighten, or take out. The way the jumpboard stows under the carriage is quite clever, too. In addition, the padded and larger areas on the front and back platforms is really nice. When doing standing work on a traditional reformer, it doesn’t give you enough foot space and that can lead to injury. This one has ample space to stand and kneel. I also like how the shoulder rests come in and out. This gives a lot of flexibility for different exercises. The machine is clearly well thought out and the instructors are well-trained on how to maximize use of it.

But, nothing is perfect. First, allow me to complain about the position of the handlebars. They are well outside the range of most people’s shoulder width. That means when you are using the straps attached to the side of the machine or are supporting your weight on the handlebars, your arms are permanently in a v-shaped position. This really does a number on your shoulders, increases tension on your neck, and quickly fatigues the outer arms. If you have weakness in that area, frozen shoulder, or any kind of inflammation in your shoulders like I do, it makes it really difficult and painful to support your body weight in that position for any length of time. This is my number one complaint.

My second issue with this machine is the little straps across the platform and carriage that you are supposed to latch your feet or arms into to keep yourself from falling off. This could be a height based issue for me (I’m 5’5) but to get my foot latched under that strap and have another foot on the platform, I’m already stretching myself out quite a bit and then to do any type of exercises beyond that starts to strain my body. I don’t feel I’m able to get the full value or do the full range of motion for the exercises in that position, so I usually choose to not use the strap. But, obviously, for safety reasons, the instructor will come around and remind you to use it. Maybe if I were taller or had longer legs (I mean, obviously I would love that for many reasons), it would make the location of the straps a better fit for me.

Overall, I think everyone will probably have their own opinions about Bodyrok’s take on the reformer and it is just going to take going to a few classes to see how it works for you.

Is Bodyrok Worth It?

Personally, I think interjecting some Bodyrok workouts into your routine will work your body in new, challenging ways and help you get over some fitness plateaus or slumps. Be prepared for it to be discouragingly hard, but if I can do it, there’s a really strong chance you can make it through a class, too. I would recommend trying a few classes before you decide, because that first class might just make you never want to come back, but a few classes will build your strength and confidence.

Originally, I was thinking of doing an unlimited membership, but I don’t think my body can do more than 2 or 3 classes a week, so I would recommend a membership that gives you 8 or 12 classes a month. If you have the physical fitness levels to do more than that – bravo to you – then you can always upgrade to unlimited.

While it’s been an interesting experience trying out Bodyrok, I will probably cancel my membership because of the strain the body weight exercises put on my shoulder – and that’s really the only reason. However, I keep saying that and then go to another class. There’s something addicting about results.

Update: I did cancel my membership. I took a class after writing this review that flared up my shoulder so bad I couldn’t go back for a week. Be advised that they do have a 30-day return policy. I wrote my cancellation request email 29 days before my next payment and they reminded me of the return policy, but because my studio is new, they extended me some grace and considered that a 30-day notice. So, plan ahead if you’re going to cancel, so you don’t get charged for another month.


Have you tried Bodyrok? I’d love to know your thoughts below.

Have a fabulous day,




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