Fitness Class Review: CoreBlast at Reformation Fitness

Be prepared to work hard for those six-pack abs.

During a CoreBlast class at Reformation Fitness, class-goers are instructed to perform yoga and Pilates exercises with a Swiss Ball. Similar to the end of a yoga class, students perform wheel pose with the ball resting underneath. Photograph via Shutterstock.

This past weekend, it hurt to laugh.

A sneeze left me keeled over in pain, and a cough had me whimpering. No, I wasn’t sick. I was the victim of CoreBlast, one of the newest fitness classes offered at Reformation Fitness.

The 40-minute class is led by Misook Issa, formerly of Peloton DC who joined Reformation Fitness in August. The name of the class is no exaggeration: Issa seriously blasts your core—and entire body, for that matter—into serious shape using one weapon: a Swiss ball.

Yes, that same ball that your coworker happily bounces on as her desk chair. The same one that’s more often used as a fun toy than a serious piece of gym equipment.

I had no idea what I was about to put my body through upon entering the 7 AM class Friday morning. Regular class-goers smiled at me as I mentioned it was my first time. I had the feeling behind their friendly demeanors masked the pity they had for this wide-eyed first-timer.

We began with a quick warm-up of rolling our Swiss balls along our yoga mats while lunging from side to side. As we attempted to feel one with our bouncy ball, Isa began taking us through some common Pilates and yoga moves, including seated chair while holding the ball over our heads and V-ups, where we moved the ball from our feet to our hands while lying on our backs.

Each movement got progressively harder, and on more than one occasion I threw Issa an incredulous look: “You want me to do what?!” I mentally asked her with pleading eyes. Attempting to balance my knees on top of the ball without the support of my hands or feet on the floor seemed impossible. Yet, I watched with amazement as my fellow class-goers managed to balance on one knee.

“It’s amazing the difference between your first time and your second,” Issa assured me post-workout.

It helps that classes are capped at eight, which allows for one-on-one personal training in a small group setting. Issa runs around the room, ensuring safety among each individual and offers plenty of support and modifications to particularly difficult moves. You’ll find that in all classes at Reformation Fitness, which this fall expanded next door and doubled the amount of classes offered to include CoreBlast, barre, MetCon, and studio pointe.

Says Issa: “The guys who are regulars here, it’s been great to see them progress in this class. They’re so supportive of one another.”

In other words, you’re bound to make friends. After all, you need all the support you can get as you attempt a headstand while holding the Swiss ball between your legs.

CoreBlast at Reformation Fitness. 1300-1302 Ninth St., NW; 202-813-3647. $18 for a drop-in studio class.