Pilates and cardio haven’t exactly been the best of friends. One is focused on slow and precise muscle-activating movements; the other on heart-rate-pounding, fast and furious ones.
But the just-opened Pilates ProWorks has changed all that. Its new-school Pilates classes on 14th Street combines both—all on a reformer the studio designed itself, called the FitFormer. (These tricked out reformers are becoming a big thing in fitness. After SLT, this is the city’s second studio that uses them.)
ProWorks is from San Francisco, where it has two booming locations. And it’s pretty confident New York City’s going to love it too: It’s offering an ambitious 50 Pilates Pro classes a week. (And another 50 in Barre Pro.)
The studio’s main attraction is the 55-minute Pilates Pro class. It’s fast-paced, set to thumping pop music, and done on FitFormer (the studio has 11). The class is interspersed with blasts of cardio on the floor.
I broke a sweat after a minute of lunges on the moving carriage (with free weights), a minute of step-ups on the floor, and a tough set of leg lifts with my calf in a pulley. But I couldn’t jump to the next move in time. This is not your ploddingly slow Pilates class.
“Even after a hard Pilates class, I used to feel like I needed to go for a run,” says Jeanette Simon, who runs the sun-filled NYC studio. This one’s going for muscle exhaustion. (And probably after mastering the machine, I’d get there.)
No doubt it’s efficient (and exciting), but should Pilates be this fast paced? “I kind of look at this like the progression of yoga,” says Simon. “It started with hatha, which was slow and spiritual, and grew into vinyasa and other sweaty flow styles, and now it’s been embraced. And there’s definitely room for both.”
Pilates traditionalists may bemoan the idea of New Yorkers standing on modernized, moving carriages in their Toe Sox. But are they right to worry about safety? “All the moves are based on Pilates—and every teacher hired has a formal Pilates certification,” explains ProWorks founder Oscar Sanin, who offers continuing education as well.
But that doesn’t mean I won’t wipe out. Although the allure of staying up—and with the group—is pretty compelling.
There’s an excitement of group reformer classes. It’s not just that you’re sharing the cost of typically pricey privates, but that helps. (ProWorks cost $35 a session; less with packages.) “The energy, music, and pace make it such a blast,” says co-owner Taylor Carter. “People can’t wait to get on the machines.” —Melisse Gelula
Pilates ProWorks, 47 W. 14th St, btwn Fifth and Sixth Aves., Union Square, www.pilatesproworks.com