Pure Barre

Last night, I caught a class at Pure Barre’s super cute Rittenhouse studio. I recruited a couple of friends to go with me for my first visit, since I’d never taken a Pure Barre class. We had such a good time and my butt is still sore from the workout! Keep on scrolling to get all the details.

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The Studio: You can find the Center City location on 17th Street between Walnut and Sansom, just up from the Vince store. Take the elevator up to the 4th floor and you’ll see the Pure Barre logo welcoming you into the small, yet well-appointed lobby. I loved the chandelier lighting in the lobby and the studio itself – so cute! I gave my name at the front desk to check in, then stashed my stuff in a cubby by the door. I was lucky to snag one, as the studio was packed with back-to-back classes during the post-work rush. They have a bathroom, but no shower at this studio (However, I wasn’t very sweaty after this class. I totally could have gone back to work or out to dinner.). You’ll want to bring your own towel or buy one there.

The Format: Pure Barre is based on small, intense movements to get that deep burn for a great sculpting workout. Each class is different, depending on the instructor, and may incorporate props like a ball, rubber resistance tubs with handles, and small weights. The workouts combine some standing work with the weights, ab and butt work on the floor, and classic ballet-inspired sequences at the barre. The instructor both demonstrates and verbally cues the different exercises, as you move to the beat of the music pumping through the sound system. The lighting is soft, and gets dimmer as the class goes on, finishing with a relaxing stretch in the dark. For this workout, you’ll need to wear grippy socks in order to get traction on the carpet flooring. I bought some on amazon and they sell them at the studio too. Get ready for 55 minutes of small movements that pack a big burn.

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The Workout: We started out with a standing warm up in the middle of the floor, including some squats and lunges timed to the beat. For most of these exercises we used one of the rubber “tubes”, basically a hollow band, around our legs or held in our arms. Then we moved on to some standing weight work using 3-5 lb barbels. To round out the warm up portion of the class, we did a few ab exercises – think planks and push-ups. After a quick stretch, we moved over to the barre. Again, we used the tubes often to wrap around our legs or to attach to the barre itself to grab onto. These tubes add a lot of resistance to the classic lifts, squeezes, tucks and holds that you find in the typical barre class. We did a good amount of one-legged work as well as a wide-second series. After another quick stretch, we moved on to ab work under the barre. We positioned ourselves sitting on the ground with our backs to the wall in order to work our abs and arms simultaneously. We did a series of leg lifts while pressing away on the rubber band tied on to the barre above our heads. Finally, we finished with more ab work, this time lying down on the ground. This series incorporated classic crunches and pilates-style moves. The class ended with a brief stretch in the dark with quieter music. My legs definitely had that jell-o feeling at the end!

The Pros: The sculpting work in this class will challenge you no matter your fitness level! I was surprised at how quickly each exercise fatigued my muscles and how often I had that “shake” happening. I also loved that we stretched each muscle group right after we worked it. Most classes wait until the end to do a full stretch, but I appreciated the dynamic stretches sprinkled throughout. It left my body feeling more balanced and restored since I was getting that immediate release after intense work. Additionally, the instructor was very attentive. She offered plenty of modifications and went around to most of the students to personally help them with form. She knew I was new to class, remembered my name and made sure to give me extra attention throughout, without being bossy or intimidating. I really appreciated the personal touch!

The Cons: While this workout is great for sculpting, my heart rate didn’t get up very much. There is no cardio incorporated in the classic Pure Barre classes. They do occasionally offer a class called Platform, which incorporates low-impact cardio, but it’s not on the schedule often or consistently enough for this studio to be a one-stop shop for me. I prefer to do cardio several days of the week and chasing the one class around the schedule isn’t a solution. I hope to try Platform as soon as its offered at a time I can attend!

The Pricing: Though there’s no free class for new clients, they do offer a new client special at only $99 for one month of unlimited classes. Regular monthly unlimited plans begin at $225/month for one month commitment and decrease in price the more months you commit to in advance. A single class is $23 and a 10 class pack is $200. BONUS for other brides out there: I spoke to someone at the studio who let me know about their pre-wedding special package! It’s $400 for 3 months of unlimited classes so you can feel your best on the big day. #sweatingforthewedding I plan to make another visit to Pure Barre soon!

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