Pvolve Fitness review | CNN Underscored

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As a longtime fitness writer, I’ve tried dozens of home gym workouts, including HIIT, bootcamps, yoga, barre and spinning, to name a few. So, when I came across Pvolve, a low-impact home fitness program endorsed by Jennifer Aniston, I couldn’t wait to try it out. However, I honestly didn’t think this functional exercise method — which focuses on a more holistic approach and mimics movements you do in everyday life — would challenge me in the same way as a bootcamp class or a HIIT run.

Boy, was I wrong.

After testing the system for several weeks, I can confidently say that Pvolve is a fantastic alternative to traditional strength training. Not only does it sculpt and tone your entire body, but the resistance-based classes are also designed to improve your mobility, stability and flexibility. Although Pvolve is a little pricey compared to other home workout programs — with equipment bundles ranging from $200 to $625 and a monthly subscription fee of $15 (which is average when it comes to these types of subscriptions) — here’s why we think it’s worth every penny.

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This home fitness program, which is endorsed by Jennifer Aniston, is a surprisingly challenging fitness regime that uses streaming classes and pricey equipment to sculpt and tone your entire body.

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I started out by ordering the Signature Bundle ($200), which includes a P.ball, P.band and a precision workout mat, along with a 30-day free streaming membership subscription. Everything came packed in a stylish black tote bag, perfect for stashing equipment away and out of sight when it’s not use.

At first glance, the bundle seemed, well, basic. Especially for the price. The P.ball is a medium rubber ball wrapped in thick straps that you can wrap around your thighs, legs or ankles. The P.band is a resistance band designed with makeshift “gloves” to secure your hands in place during upper body workouts. And the precision mat is essentially a square yoga mat divided into a numbered grid to help you follow along when the instructor calls out cues.

However, as soon as I took my first strength class, I quickly realized this bundle is anything but basic. The P.ball is miraculous at isolating those small, hard-to-reach areas like your inner thighs. I couldn’t believe how my legs quivered during the first streaming class. Arm workouts were just as effective at targeting my shoulders, biceps and triceps with a resistance band instead of my usual free weights. The precision mat was also invaluable for helping me keep up during fast-paced workouts thanks to the handy numbered grid.

Two extra accessories I ordered were super helpful as well and included two gliders and a light ankle-weight band. The gliders are a pair of round plastic discs that you place under your feet to slide back and forth on the precision mat during workouts. These challenge you to stay stable and engage your core and inner thighs. The ankle-weight band, on the other hand, is similar to using light weights on your legs, without all of the fuss of keeping them balanced in place. Trust me when I tell you that it may not feel like you’re doing much, but watch out the next day. You’ll definitely feel the impact on your legs and inner thighs!

Though the system was interesting overall, it was the wide variety of classes that put Pvolve above many other fitness regimes I’ve tried. There’s full body sculpt classes, progressive weight training, mobility classes, pre- and post-natal classes and even menopause and pelvic floor classes. There are also dozens of programs focusing on everything from strengthening your core to opening your hips to eliminating lower back pain.

I tried at least half a dozen streaming workouts during the test period, and my favorites included the full body sculpt and burn classes, the mat core sculpt classes and the mid-day meditation classes. But my absolute favorites were the live classes, where you reserve a spot on Zoom to work out with a small group led by a live instructor.

During these classes, the instructor can watch your every move and help make adjustments via the two-way camera — just like an IRL class. Not only did this motivate me to try harder, but the instructor’s tweaks helped me correct moves I hadn’t realized I was doing incorrectly on my own. Although I’ve taken other live classes on Peloton and Daily Burn, the novelty of Pvolve limiting live workouts to a small group — not anyone who logs in at the start time — also kept me engaged, thanks to the real-time attention from my instructor.

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“The Pvolve Method is an effective, holistic modality that balances both aesthetic and physical benefits,” says Dani Coleman, Pvolve director of training and head trainer. “Your workouts should change just as your physiology does throughout your lifetime, and that’s what Pvolve is all about. Coming from an extensive fitness background, this science-led method is unlike anything I have ever experienced before and gone are the days of breaking your body for your workout.”

Pvolve’s advisory board includes endocrinologists, gynecologists, physiologists and physical therapists who provide scientific expertise to help create content to address women’s health and wellness in a holistic way. This means instructors are trained in a lot more than how to get a six-pack or gravity-defying glutes. They’re well-versed in the mental and functional benefits of the Pvolve system too.

“The beauty of the Pvolve method is that it can support anyone no matter where they are on their fitness journey,” explains Coleman. “It’s high intensity but low impact, which makes it broadly appealing to people of all ages and levels. We go through extensive training as instructors to make sure our workouts are accessible and offer modifications and progressions throughout the classes so that members can adjust their movements based on what feels right for their individual bodies.”

Unlike competitors like Peloton and Alo Moves, you can’t queue up workout stacks in advance to easily transition from one class to the next with Pvolve. Since most classes are around 30 minutes, I missed this feature on days where I had a lot of time or energy and wanted to take several classes at a time.

It would have been nice to keep the momentum going without having to stop and browse through the library for a new class mid-workout. That said, you can sign up for series like Signature Strength & Sculpt or Jen’s Picks (Jennifer Aniston’s faves) which will notify you of which class to take next every time you log into the website. But this feature obviously isn’t the same as a custom-built playlist based on your individual interests and goals. It also doesn’t give you the freedom to combine classes from multiple collections.

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There are a few classes like full body strength and stretch and full body burn that you can take without any equipment. However, these workouts are few and far between. To get the most out of the program, you’ll need to invest in the Pvolve bundles to make subscribing to these classes worthwhile. And, even if you do purchase the signature bundle ($200), be warned that you still won’t be able to take all of the classes because many of them require even more equipment.

I quickly became frustrated after my first week of workouts because I didn’t have ankle weight bands, gliders or a slant board. This meant I was somewhat limited in my workout choices. I eventually decided to order more accessories, but not everyone has the budget to spend $625 on the total transformation bundle or invest in extra accessories. So, pssst, Pvolve, maybe offer a few more classes with little to no equipment needed.

Most of Pvolve’s competitors like the Peloton App+ ($24/month) and Beachbody on Demand ($30/month) also require some equipment, like free weights or a yoga mat. But because the exercises aren’t as specific as Pvolve moves, you don’t need to invest in as many expensive accessories.

That said, monthly subscriptions for both Peloton and Beachbody cost more than Pvolve and aren’t designed with the same science-based expertise. Pvolve also offers a free 1:1 session to discuss your workout goals and interests with a live instructor with the purchase of all of their equipment bundles, a perk that is not available from either Beachbody or Peloton.

Although I was initially skeptical about how well Pvolve would work for me, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I felt stronger and more flexible after just a few weeks of classes. Regardless of whether you’re recovering from an injury, just starting out on your fitness journey or tired of constantly feeling fatigued from high-impact workouts, Pvolve’s functional fitness philosophy is a great alternative to traditional strength-training workouts. Just don’t be surprised if you wind up looking and feeling like an A-list celebrity along the way.

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