WATCHUNG, NJ – The Pilates Design Studio opened in Watchung in November 2011 and the fully-equipped studio offers Pilates for fitness and rehabilitation for all age groups and physical abilities. Additionally, the Johnston Drive studio is the only place in New Jersey that offers BioCored: System of Corrective Movement, a neural science-based, multi-weighted bungee cord suspension system that incorporates neuroplasticity to aid in the rehabilitation process.

“We work with every population from children to the elderly, athletes/non-athletes, injured/non-injured and everyone in between,” said Green Brook resident and Pilates Design Studio owner Danielle Conner. “Everyone benefits from Pilates, it doesn't matter what walk of life you come from or what stage of your life your in; there is something for everyone in Pilates.”

Pilates is a system of exercises that uses special apparatus designed to improve physical strength, flexibility, and posture, and enhance mental awareness and Pilates Design Studio offers one-hour, one-on-one instruction as well as group classes, each customized to fit the individual needs of every client.

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“Our goal is to supply the best instruction so that each session leaves you feeling connected, grounded, and completely invigorated,” Conner said. “Those who do Pilates regularly feel they have better posture, are less prone to injury, and experience better overall health.”

Aside from being a great form of exercise, the origin of Pilates was actually a form of rehabilitation and the Watchung studio specializes in rehabilitative Pilates. “Through our exercises, we realign the body and activate muscles that are inhibited as to create efficient movements and eliminate inefficient movement patterns that are causing pain and keeping an injury from healing,” Conner said. “When there is a chronic condition in the body, like spinal stenosis, Pilates strengthens the body as a whole so it can help slow down the progression of a chronic condition and allows the body to have full functionality with minimal to no pain.”

Pilates Design Studio also prides itself on being the only establishment in New Jersey to offer the BioCored: System of Corrective Movement, a neural science-based therapeutic suspension training system that utilizes various weighted bungee cords to aid in the healing process. Through the use of the  visual, vestibular, and proprioceptive systems, the studio’s instructors can create new neural signatures to help stop chronic pain and keep it from returning.

“Through BioCored, we activate the sensory motor system, enabling us to assist in healing anything from brain injuries to a pulled muscle. By changing and creating new neural signatures in the body, we help eliminate chronic pain, and allow for healthy and efficient brain functionality to return,” said Conner, adding that for athletes and fitness clients, BioCored “helps create more efficient movement patterns in the body, which, in turn, builds more strength and improves performance.”

The benefits of Pilates and BioCored, said Conner, are vast and range from helping clients stay active and healthy to eliminating chronic pain. “My certified instructors and I are very well versed in anatomy and how the body moves. Whether you come to us because of injury or for fitness, we teach you how to work within your body to achieve the goals you want,” Conner said.

When working on a client with an injury, instructors at the Pilates Design Studio will focus not just on the alignment but also on the body as a whole. “When there is an injury or a chronic condition, the body starts to compensate in order to avoid pain. However, that compensation creates poor, inefficient movement patterns that actually adds to the pain of an injury or adds to the progression of a chronic condition,” Conner said.

“Through Pilates and BioCored, we can eliminate those inefficient movement patterns and create efficient movement patterns so an injury can heal and we can slow down the progression of a chronic condition so that it becomes manageable and no longer debilitating, which, in turn gives people back their quality of life,” she added.

At Pilates Design Studio, all clients new are offered and encouraged to take a complimentary private class. “This is beneficial not only to the new client but to the instructor as well. That one-on-one time gives everyone the chance to meet each other and to get a complete assessment of their body so we can create a program for them to achieve their goals,” said Conner, adding, “This way, they get the most out of their group classes because we will then make sure there are specific exercises taught in the class for their body.”

Conner brings to her studio over 35 years of experience in dance and over 17 years in Pilates. She began dancing at the age of three and by first grade dreamed of being a professional dancer. In 1993, she graduated from the dance program at Somerset County Vo-tech and four years later went on to earn her BFA from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Conners began doing Pilates at the age of 19 and, at the age of 25, turned to Pilates as a means of rehabbing from chronic bursitis and tendonitis in her shoulders.

“My therapist used Pilates to rehab me and it worked. I haven't had any repeat occurrences since,” said Conner, adding “I love everything about Pilates. I love that it is a form of healing and strength building all in one. It can completely reshape your body and eliminate pain.”

Conner retired from stage in 2008 but continues to train and performs whenever time permits. She opened the Pilates Design Studio three years later with the goal of helping people to live healthy and pain free and also feels Pilates can also be very grounding and centering.

“There is a lot of emphasis on focusing on your body and how it is moving that if you come in really stressed from your day or just life in general, you leave feeling calm and peaceful because it gives the mind a break from the stress,” she said.

Pilates Design Studio, located at 7 Johnston Drive in Watchung (near the Watchung Circle), is open seven-days a week and was recently named the New Jersey host site for Body Arts and Science International, one of the various organization’s Conner is certified through in Pilates. In this capacity, licensing and certification courses are taught at the Watchung studio while students are also there completing the hours required to earn their certifications. For scheduling and class times visit or call (908) 731-5987. To find out more about Danielle Conner and Pilates Design Studio, visit