Allison Slapnicka is shaking up the Austin fitness scene.
By Kat Barlcay, Photos by Brian Flannery
In a town that embraces fitness, it’s not surprising Pure Pilates Austin is continuing to gain traction since Owner Allison Slapnicka first introduced the Lagree method to Central Texas in 2013.
Originally from California, Slapnicka first discovered the Lagree method, a high-intensity form of Pilates, while traveling for work. After joining a studio near her home in San Francisco, she was quickly talked into teaching classes on the weekends.
“They asked me if I had ever thought of teaching and I said, ‘No, I have a full-time job. I don’t have time to teach,’ ” Slapnicka recalls. “Then I really started to think, ‘This is really cool. Maybe I can make it work.’ ”
When she moved to Austin, Slapnicka knew it was time to say goodbye to her job in the consulting world, and decided to open Pure Pilates Austin with her boyfriend, Cameron Drummond. The pair opened the first location on the University of Texas’ West Campus in fall 2013, a second location the following year at The Domain and a third studio off South Lamar Boulevard in January 2018.
“It’s funny because when I was in college, I never understood my friends who wanted to be entrepreneurs,” she says. “I’d always ask them, ‘Why do you want to be an entrepreneur? Just work for a company and let them pay you.’ It’s funny how things work out that way.”
While the Lagree method is similar to traditional Pilates, rather than using a reformer (a machine with pulleys, springs and a gliding carriage), Lagree utilizes a more advanced machine called a megaformer that makes transitions from each position smoother and faster. For 45 minutes, Slapnicka’s students perform exercises designed to tone and sculpt the core, legs and upper body while also increasing the heart rate. And although Lagree is a full-body, high-intensity workout, each class has little to no impact on the joints.
“It’s something I never would have thought I would do,” Slapnicka says of opening her own business. “But it’s extremely rewarding.”
Pure Pilates at home
While it’s not the same as experiencing a class at Pure Pilates Austin, Slapnicka shares a few moves that can be mimicked at home. For each of these moves, you’ll need a smooth, hard surface and either a small towel or a paper plate.
Pike to plank:
- Place your hands on the floor and your toes on the towel.
- Start in a plank position with your hips in line with your shoulders and abdominal muscles, and squeeze in.
- Lift your hips toward the ceiling while keeping your heels high and your legs squeezed together.
- Tuck your head between your arms and gaze toward your thighs.
- Return to the center plank position and repeat. You should feel your lower abdominal muscles engage. If you feel the exercise more in your quadriceps, lower your hips closer to the ground.
- Repeat the exercise for one minute.
- Place one foot on the floor and the other foot on the towel.
- Bend your knees and shift your hips down and back into a deep squat, keeping your torso between your legs.
- Most of your body weight should be in the heel of the foot on the floor. Keep your abdominal muscles engaged, your back flat and gaze forward, keeping your neck long.
- Holding the squat position, move your foot that was on the towel out and in.
- Continue to think about sitting deeper into the squat through the entire exercise.
- Repeat continuously for as long as two minutes.
- Come down to all fours in a tabletop position on your forearms.
- Lift your right leg into the air and form a 90-degree angle with your hamstring and calf muscle.
- Flex your foot and push the sole of your foot to the ceiling, engaging your glute muscles. Keep your knee at or above hip level for maximum engagement.
- Repeat the exercise continuously on the right side for one minute and then do the same on the other leg.