Exercise Powers

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

601 West 26th Street (212-366-1003)
Pros: This massive studio in theStarrett-Lehigh building is the ultimate room with askyline view. Teachers keep things varied, using everypossible apparatus. A single session is $70 ($50 forfirst-timers); pros can do a DIY hour for $30.
Cons: The West Side Highwaylocale 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 Avenuesuggests, clients here are mostly Upper East Siders inleotards, and therefore less intimidating than aroomful of downtown hipsters. Owner Hila Paldi learneddirectly from disciples of the method’sinventor, Joseph Pilates. Sessions are $80.
Cons: The clinical décor gives the feelingof a dentist’s quarters rather than a mind-bodyoasis.
Rating: Three stars

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

114 West 14th Street (212-414-2922)
Pros: Owner-dancer Jennifer Kries—aPilates celebrity thanks to her popular video seriescalled “The Method”—draws some ofthe best instructors. Good for those who don’tmind mixing in a little yoga philosophy, as Kries is amaster of balancing both. Sessions are $80 to$125.
Cons: The brick-walled open space is homey, butsimultaneous classes can be distracting.
Rating: Five stars

Sal Anthony’s MovementSalon
190 Third Avenue, near 17th Street (212-420-7242)
Pros: A good number of clients (and virtuallyall of the instructors) are working dancers, whichgives the place and the shabby-chic location(it’s the former home of Fat Tuesday’sjazz club) major street cred. Sessions are the bestvalue in the city, starting at $55.
Cons: No frills. If you require a post-workoutsteam or a changing room full of candles, this is notthe place for you.
Rating: Three stars

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

33 Bleecker Street (212-420-9111)
Pros: Owner Brooke Siler, author of ThePilates Body, who originally opened the studio in1997 with model-actress Michele Hicks, has a celebrityfollowing, so don’t be surprised if you seeAmber Valetta doing leg lunges on the Wunda Chair nextto you. Teachers (again, mostly former dancers) areadept at tailoring instruction to your needs.Individual sessions range from $70 to $100 for timewith Siler herself.
Cons: The equipment is plentiful but inconsiderably worse shape than the newerstudios’.
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.

Exercise Powers