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Workout of the Week: Pure STS

Today's blogger: Marissa Stephenson, Shape's senior associate fitness editor

Abs burning, triceps aching, and rocking a satisfyingly sweaty brow—that’s how I left the new Pure STS (as in “suspension training system”) class at the Real Pilates studio in TriBeCa. The workout involves doing traditional Pilates and strength-training exercises with the TRX system—basically long straps with handles that enable you to use your bodyweight as resistance. Studio owner Alycea Ungaro—an instructor who’s worked with celebs like Uma Thurman and Claire Danes—designed the session to complement traditional Pilates classes.

We began the 45-minute workout with one-legged squats, holding a strap in each hand to help us balance. Next up: biceps curls. By standing closer to the straps’ anchor point, I could make the move tougher; when I moved farther away, the resistance decreased. That concept really came into play when we did standing push-ups: I held the straps’ handles in front of me, and eased into a plank position; by scooting my feet closer to the anchor point and pointing my elbows straight back, I really felt the burn in my triceps. We wrapped up by putting our feet in the hanging straps and doing a series of planks that left my entire body shaking.

Even though you’re not using weights, your body provides plenty of resistance during this class. And because you can customize how challenging you want a move to be, it’s good for strength-training newbies and experienced lifters alike. If you’re not in Manhattan, go to to purchase a TRX kit and try this kind of sculpting at home. And viva la resistance!  












These straps made my muscles ache!








Balancing in the straps made it even tougher to do a push-up


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