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Exercise Powers

Muscling in on private, apparatus-based pilates, we separate the strong from the weak.

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Let's get physical: Up close and personal at Power Pilates.  

Stretch
601 West 26th Street (212-366-1003)
Pros: This massive studio in the Starrett-Lehigh building is the ultimate room with a skyline view. Teachers keep things varied, using every possible apparatus. A single session is $70 ($50 for first-timers); pros can do a DIY hour for $30.
Cons: The West Side Highway locale is far out of the way for most.
Rating: Four stars

The Ultimate Body
30 East 60th Street (212-319-6194)
Pros: As its proximity to Madison Avenue suggests, clients here are mostly Upper East Siders in leotards, and therefore less intimidating than a roomful of downtown hipsters. Owner Hila Paldi learned directly from disciples of the method’s inventor, Joseph Pilates. Sessions are $80.
Cons: The clinical décor gives the feeling of a dentist’s quarters rather than a mind-body oasis.
Rating: Three stars

Xercize Corp
566 Seventh Avenue, near 40th Street (212-997-5550)
Pros: Their version of Pilates, called IM=X, is done on an Xercizer, a souped-up version of the Reformer that provides a more cardio-centric workout. Sessions are $85.
Cons: No assessment of your physical history; atmosphere is nil.
Rating: Two stars

Balance
114 West 14th Street (212-414-2922)
Pros: Owner-dancer Jennifer Kries—a Pilates celebrity thanks to her popular video series called “The Method”—draws some of the best instructors. Good for those who don’t mind mixing in a little yoga philosophy, as Kries is a master of balancing both. Sessions are $80 to $125.
Cons: The brick-walled open space is homey, but simultaneous classes can be distracting.
Rating: Five stars

Sal Anthony’s Movement Salon
190 Third Avenue, near 17th Street (212-420-7242)
Pros: A good number of clients (and virtually all of the instructors) are working dancers, which gives the place and the shabby-chic location (it’s the former home of Fat Tuesday’s jazz club) major street cred. Sessions are the best value in the city, starting at $55.
Cons: No frills. If you require a post-workout steam or a changing room full of candles, this is not the place for you.
Rating: Three stars

Power Pilates
49 West 23rd Street (plus multiple locations) (212-627-5852)
Pros: The light-drenched studio makes for a very pleasant place to sweat and stretch. The machines are shiny and spanking new. Teachers are plentiful, meaning it’s not hard to score yourself a session, even at the last minute. Prices vary from $70 an hour to $125 for senior teachers Susan Moran-Perich and Bob Liekens.
Cons: Quality of instructors is uneven; the best are often booked with standing appointments.
Rating: Five stars

re:AB
33 Bleecker Street (212-420-9111)
Pros: Owner Brooke Siler, author of The Pilates Body, who originally opened the studio in 1997 with model-actress Michele Hicks, has a celebrity following, so don’t be surprised if you see Amber Valetta doing leg lunges on the Wunda Chair next to you. Teachers (again, mostly former dancers) are adept at tailoring instruction to your needs. Individual sessions range from $70 to $100 for time with Siler herself.
Cons: The equipment is plentiful but in considerably worse shape than the newer studios’.
Rating: Four stars

Insider Advice
Tips from Ari Weller, freelance Pilates instructor and personal trainer at Fitness Results.

1. Make sure your instructor asks about your physical history and injuries—you don’t want a cookie-cutter session.

2. Attention to detail is extremely important, from proper breathing to abdominal engagement—insist that your instructor monitor you closely instead of letting you go through the motions.

3. Commit to a studio and a teacher, and buy a pack of sessions to get a better deal; complement privates with semiprivates and mat classes.


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