Union Square’s Flex Studios is making big moves this year, with a second location set to open in Noho this spring and the debut of its very own signature Pilates machine—the FlexFormer.
It’s a major growth spurt for the brand, which first hit the New York City fitness scene almost exactly three years ago when it opened as Pilates ProWorks, offering fast-paced Pilates and barre classes. It later broke with the national chain and emerged with a revamped brand and space.
Since then, says owner Jeanette Simon, classes at peak times have had lengthy wait-lists—a factor that contributed to Flex’s decision to expand. “Not only was there demand, it was important for the brand to grow,” she says.
Here’s what you need to know about how these two big developments at Flex may affect your core strength in 2015.
The new studio digs
Construction is just kicking off in the new space, located on the corner of Broadway and Bleecker, mere blocks from other Noho fitness hotspots like Cyc, Barry’s Noho, and Mile High Run Club. Simon expects classes to start in about three months.
The space will be similar in size and have the “same vibe and feel” of the original studio, she says. There will be 11 FlexFormers in the Pilates room, space for 12 in TRX classes and 14 in barre, plus a room for privates, and a lounge for community bonding. (Another very exciting amenity to look forward to? A shower!)
The new FlexFormer
You probably haven’t seen anything like the new tricked-out FlexFormers—they’re essentially a reformer and Pilates chair fused into one machine. They’re already in action at the Union Square studio, and Noho will feature the souped up versions, too.
Simon and her Pilates director (and superstar instructor) Jenn Seracuse worked with wellness-focused designer Eric Villency for over a year to design the FlexFormer, incorporating their favorite reformer and Pilates chair features into a space-efficient model that would allow them to intensify and add variety to classes (yes, it’s possible).
“I understand the value of an hour. We needed to make sure people were getting the most effective workout out of their 55 minutes,” Simon says. There are now a whopping 30 additional exercises that instructors can incorporate in their classes—most of which use the Pilates chair pedal and platform—and many allow for more specific muscle-targeting, she says. In a test class, I definitely felt the increased intensity, and the additional variety of moves made the session fly by.
“The reformer is still the main focus in class, but we hope this will bring it to the next level,” Simon says. —Lisa Elaine Held
For more information, visit www.flexstudios.com
(Photos: Jay Sullivan for Flex Studios)