Mon-Thu, 7:30am-9pm; Fri, 7:30am-2:30pm; Sat, 8:30am-1:30pm; Sun, 8:30am-5:30pm
F, G at 15th St.-Prospect Park; F, G at 15th St.-Prospect Park
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Ellie Herman, a former dancer turned wrestler, discovered Pilates in the late eighties recovering from a knee injury delivered in the ring. Her small, bifurcated space looks like a cross between a medieval torture chamber and a Gymboree. Menacing pulleys, gears, bars, and bungees, and also balls, mats, and hoops are among the many accoutrement that line the floors and walls. Students stretching on the padded, spring-loaded wooden Reformers or the larger, boxy Cadillac look like they're being drawn and quartered. But the movements are not painful; they are focused and precise, using resistance to work muscles. Instructors are anatomy experts—they spot and correct the most nuanced irregularities in their charges’ poses. This is good because it can be hard to tell if shoulders are cascading, trapezii are relaxed, and pelvic floors are engaged. Classes are small so you get the attention necessary to ensure these and other subtle adjustments are made. A $45 private intake session is required to place new students into appropriate levels. From there, options are one-on-ones or classes of varying size and intensity. The practice is a long-term investment in core strengthening, flexibility and muscle tone; what it is not, is a last-minute bikini season calorie-burn.Pros
Students willing to commit to longer time horizons will see results in flexibility and tone. Those who need physical therapy or rehabilitation can benefit greatly from the careful muscle-strengthening exercise.
Beginners will have a hard time getting started as many movements feel unnatural and complicated. Exact placement of body parts is important both to reap the benefits and to avoid strain. But the detail necessary leads to a steep learning curve.
Indoor surfing, spinning lovefests, a luxurious pig-placenta facial, and more.