Why we’re doing MoveBetter at Ten

"In the fitness industry there’s way too much focus on the intensity and challenge of workouts and nowhere near enough on the quality of the movement within them"

article-joJoanne Mathews, Founder, Ten Health & Fitness


If you’ve been into one of our Studios recently, or followed some of our posts on social media, you’ll probably have come across references to our #MoveBetter campaign.

By ‘MoveBetter’, what we mean is an emphasis on quality of movement, and the benefits it offers, including:

  • being able to move with more strength and power
  • moving more freely, without impingement or pain
  • moving with better technique – with greater control and alignment to minimise injury
  • moving more efficiently, so you can maximise the benefits of exercise

So you may be wondering, why are we talking about this? And why us?

It’s personal.

It’s always easier to get behind an idea if it makes sense on a personal level. And #MoveBetter is hugely relevant to me personally.

Ten came into being after I was injured in a car crash. I was in another accident just over a year ago, and was injured in that one too. (I really hope there’s not a pattern developing.)

I got away from both pile-ups relatively lightly – considering what could have happened – and I’m lucky that I spend my working days with some of London’s best Trainers, Pilates Instructors, Physios and Massage Therapists. But in each case, my injuries were bad enough to make the following months painful and difficult, and to limit what I could do physically. And though I’m pretty much recovered, I’m still dealing with some of those limitations today.

But even without the accidents, I’m guilty of scoring my share of musculoskeletal own goals.

I’m as fond of impractical shoes as the next girl (though I own more pairs of flats these days than I ever did before). I still carry a handbag the size, and often the weight, of a washing machine – my handbag essentials frequently include a laptop, two notebooks, a hairbrush, several calculators and a couple of sets of keys.

And lastly, I’m not 21 any more.

All those factors have a bearing on why I can’t run for a bus in stilettos any more, why things hurt that didn’t used to, how easy it is to pick up a niggle or a muscle strain, and why I don’t have the quality of movement that I had in my twenties. (I’m hypermobile so I still have the range – and that’s an issue on it’s own.)

But from what I see, it’s not just me.

And I know I’m not alone. When I watch our Trainers going round a class checking for injuries or areas of weakness, almost everyone’s got something – if not an actual injury, then a niggle or a restriction of some sort. And talking to our Physios, most of the people who say they haven’t, generally have – either they just don’t know it yet, or they’ve had it so long it’s become their normal.

And while I was talking about this with my team, it got us thinking that whilst it’s great that we’ve seen such a boom in the fitness industry in the years since Ten first opened its doors back in 2007, there’s still way too much focus on the intensity and challenge of our workouts rather than the quality of the movement within them.

And given the way most of us live today – 8 hours plus at a desk, evenings slouched on the sofa binge-watching Peaky Blinders (it can’t be just me), high heels, handbags, phones, laptops and all the other musculoskeletal no-no’s that we just can’t live without – that approach is just a recipe for disaster.

Don’t just move more. Move better.

So we decided that it was time to remind ourselves, our clients, and hopefully, the fitness industry at large of the need not just to exercise more and with greater intensity, but to move better.

Because of the reasons that Ten was set up in the first place, our focus was always on quality as well as intensity of movement.

As a result, our whole approach, the classes we offer, and the way we teach them, allows us to focus on form and correct alignment, and it’s why our class sizes are kept small enough for our Trainers to get round the class to provide hands-on correction to as many clients as necessary, whenever necessary. (Just try doing that with 50 people in a darkened room.)

We’re also lucky that Dynamic Reformer Pilates – the discipline we’re best known for and that still makes up the majority of our class schedule – is ideal for setting and reinforcing correct, efficient and safe movement patterns.

Just saying …

So we decided it was time to be more explicit about our focus on quality of movement– and so our #MoveBetter campaign was born.

It’s not just a reminder for us about the importance and relevance of what we offer. It’s also about the opportunity to help our clients move more effectively, freely and safely in your other workouts and in everyday life – that’s why we’ve introduced our specialist classes, Pilates for Runners, Pilates for Cyclists, TenStretch, TenYoga and our 7 Principles of Movement Masterclass.

Whilst our prehabilitative approach makes #MoveBetter a very ‘Ten’ concept, we all want the ability to remain fit, strong active and injury-free for as much of our lives as possible, so I really hope it catches on with the wider fitness industry, and with other providers’ clients.

I hope you agree. If you do (or even if you don’t), we’d love to know what better movement means to you and your thoughts about the campaign. Join the conversation on Twitter by mentioning us @TenHealthFit and tagging your post #MoveBetter or email us team@ten.co.uk.

Find out more about our Move Better campaign and book specialist classes and services on our Move Better page