Equinox | Pure Strength with Chris Norvell

class reviews

Pure Strength is structured exactly how it’s titled — this class is entirely a strength workout, where you lift heavy things for only a few reps at a time. I took the class at E. 53rd St. this morning with Chris Norvell, but I’ve also taken the class at E. 74th with Andrew Slane and at E. 92nd with Josh Vela and with Eric Cobb.


My grading system is from 1-10, with 1 being either the worst and 10 being either the best. For difficulty level, my assessment is subjective. For class size, small is less than 10 students, medium is 10-25, and large is more than 25.

equinox pure strength

QUALITY OF pure strength WORKOUT: 7

This class always leaves me sore, in a good way. The warm-up is about 5 minutes long, using resistance bands. After that, the class is split into 4 six-minute stations with a primary move and a secondary move. The primary move is the weight-bearing move, while the secondary move typically focuses on core. You do each primary move for 2-8 reps, as many rounds as possible — and it should feel hard. Today’s class looked like:

  • Incline pull-ups and leg raises
  • Weighted sumo squats and crab push-ups
  • Anterior delt presses and hip dips
  • Romanian deadlifts and a core move that I can’t name but involves sitting on your knees and, engaging your core, falling backwards

Pure Strength is capped at 24 students, and today’s class only had about 15. Typically, everyone has a partner with whom you alternate the moves.

QUALITY OF INSTRUCTOR (Chris norvell): 8

Chris had a really good amount of energy for a morning class — I didn’t feel like he was screaming at me, but he tried to get us pumped. I found that his assistant coach did more hands-on correction with the students, but I still felt that he monitored the room adequately and made sure that no one injured themselves. He also kept the class running on time, which is important before work.


Like many Equinox classes, Pure Strength is easy to adjust to your level. There are a variety of weights at each station and ways to modify the pull-ups for those who can’t do them. Since there are two instructors, students really get individualized attention, which is important in a class with heavy weights.


I like Equinox E. 53rd St. a lot. It’s very clean, there’s never a long line for the shower, and the locker rooms are modern and well-equipped. My biggest gripe with the studio is how many floors it has — so many stairs!

  • Be friendly and find a partner at the beginning of class!
  • Make sure that the weights you’re lifting aren’t too easy — you shouldn’t physically be able to do more than 8 reps of any move at a time.


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