After shoulder surgery and 6 weeks of inactivity, I decided it was time to raise the fitness barre. I rallied and purchased a one-month class pass for $99 at the River Oaks Pure Barre Studio to get myself back into shape. I chose Pure Barre because the doc refuses to let me do cardio and I knew the classes would be leg/core focused with manageable stress on the upper body.
It’s kind of crazy that this post hasn’t been written before. Last summer, I sampled a Pure Barre class in the Heights and then did 6 weeks of barre classes at The Bar Method in Montrose. Coming up on almost a year since my first barre class, I find myself squeezing and tucking and kinda almost sweating in a barre studio all over again. This is what I learned from my first week of barre classes, and what I can assume you’ll find in yours.
You’re gonna get your seat handed to you.
Every class pretty much as the same format in this order:
- To warm up, you do some knee kicks and some crunches
- Then, a set of planks and pushups
- Standing arm exercises with light weights 2-5lb- do a bunch of quick reps in a bunch of directions
- Next, you head to the bar for a leg set that consists of lots of squats and lunges and leg lifts
- Then, ab work with your shoulders pressing against the wall, then you do ab work lying on your back
- End in active bridge pose
Are you ready to barre so hard?
In class, you use a combination of weights, stretch tube, mat, and ball to target your arms, legs, and core. You’ll hear lots of words like “tuck” (bring your hips under and lengthen your back), “squeeze” (press your target area closer to your body), “lift” (go higher than you were before), and “lengthen” (stretch out – it’s amazing how the body relaxes into a slightly bent position). Despite being associated with ballet, the class doesn’t really require any dance technique (praise the lawd!).
Don’t be afraid to raise the barre
As they say in barre class, “the higher the heels, the thinner the thighs.” VOM. But likeeee also, the higher you come onto your tippy-toes, the more likely you’re going to shake. And shake you will during your first (and for me, second) week of classes. The movements are small and targeted, so you’re only using one muscle group at a time. So even though the movement is really small you do like a million repetitions of it and by the end of it you’re totally dying and sometimes your muscles just break out into spasms of shakes. Don’t worry, you’re not having a seizure, that’s just your muscles saying their getting stronger…apparently.
Between every set of exercises, there’s a stretch to loosen up your muscles. These 10 second stretches are by far my favorite part of the class. They target exactly what you need, let your heart rate calm down a bit, before you head back to the bar for more
Despite it being a super challenging class at times, I didn’t really sweat. The Pure Barre audience is definitely women about to get married and those who just had babies–they even have 3-month boot camps for these types of situations. Expect lots of fat rings, lululemon and coordinating Pure Barre sticky socks in your class. That being said, Pure Barre reached out to me many times to make sure I was enjoying my experience. They sent multiple user surveys via text, several welcome emails, and even a handwritten postcard to my house! They even have a hashtag to commemorate people’s first class and provide a community of suppor. I can see how this class might become some people’s fitness addiction. That being said #ISurvivedPureBarre and am going into my third week of classes and looking forward to it!