Hello all and welcome to Barre Week! Barre Week, what is Barre Week you ask? Well, the latest and greatest craze in fitness are barre workouts, that is workouts aimed at strengthening and lengthening your body so you end up with a body resembling a dancer. These workouts are generally a combination of pilates, yoga and traditional dance moves. The name “barre workout” comes from the fact that most of these classes use a ballet barre to perform many of the toning moves. So now you know what barre workouts are, so what is Barre Week? It’s when I give you all the information you need to know about barre workouts: where to workout, what DVDs to use, what moves to expect, what to wear and what music to listen to! Are you excited yet?? Well, let’s get started with the Best Barre Classes in NYC!
The Best Barre Classes in NYC
The Bar Method comes in at Number 5 on my list of the Best Barre Classes in NYC. The Bar Method is based on the traditional Lotte Berk method. Lotte was a former dancer who fled Nazi Germany and developed this form of classes utilizing ballet technique combined with rehabilitative exercises she had been recommended for a back issue. One of her students was Burr Leonard, the creator of the Bar Method. Originally Burr taught the traditional Lotte Berk method but eventually she reshaped the exercise program into the Bar Method. This interval class focuses on arms, legs, bottom, abs and core. The instructors here are very concerned about form and technique. If you are a Lotte Berk devotee or love focusing on technique (like a traditional ballerina), then this class is for you.
The studio is clean and well lit and the best news for you non-New Yorkers is that there are studios all over the country! From Cali to Washington, there is a class for you. Check out The Bar Method’s website for more info.
(Photos uploaded from The Bar Method HQ’s Facebook Page)
Exhale is where my love for Barre classes started way back in 2007. I reviewed Core Fusion for you guys earlier this year so you can read about it more in detail! Like the Bar Method, this class is also based on the Lotte Berk method but with a modern twist. This class works deep into your muscles till you are absolutely shaking. Start out with a light weigh (2-3 lbs) for arms, the hit the floor for pushups before moving to the barre to annihilate your thighs. Lots of pulses and waterskis! Next we take a bit of a break and move onto the bottom, which is focused on very small and precise movements. Finally hit the floor to perform some ab exercises under the barre and then hit the mat to polish off those abs.
Exhale will keep you going back because the studio is literally a spa. With awesome amenities including a steam room, rain showers, and access to massages to relax those overworked muscles, this is not your typical workout experience. The instructors are all very knowledgeable and the music is upbeat. The 60 minute class has you shaking until the end. Like The Bar Method, Exhale has Core Fusion classes throughout the nation so be on the lookout for a class near you!
Pure Barre is my newest experiment. Pure opened their NYC studio only recently and I tried it out just last week, so it’s impressive that Pure Barre has managed to rank 3rd on my list of Top Barre Classes in NYC! What sets Pure Barre apart from other Barre workouts is the variety of equipment and exercises. The Bar Method and Exhale both rely on weights and a playground ball to tone and shape your body. Pure Barre also uses weights and a slightly smaller ball but they also use tubing, which is quite effective at creating resistance for the ballet inspired moves. After class my body felt weak and fatigued (i.e. it was a great workout!).
The studio is bright and clean and the instructors are motivated and focused on correcting your form. The only drawback is that the NYC studio does not have showers and the change area can get a little cramped. However, the muscle burn factor is enough to overlook the lack of showers. There is not as much cardio at Pure Barre as my top two favs but there is enough of a muscular workout to rank Pure Barre at Number 3. The 60 minute class has heart pumping, upbeat music that makes the time fly by. Pure Barre has locations throughout the U.S.
FlyBarre ranks in at number two on my list of Top Barre Classes in NYC. Located at one of my favorite cycling studios in NYC, Flywheel, FlyBarre is a funky and fresh version of a Barre class. It ranks high at Number 2 on my list because it is a different spin on the traditional Barre class. The class adds a bit more dance choreography and is less based on the traditional ballet moves and more on modern hip hop moves. The class also has an interesting structure in that it disperses the arm toning movements throughout the class. There is also less of a focus on the barre (although it is used for abs and thighs) and more on working “in the center” (i.e., away from the barre).
FlyBarre is really more of a cycling studio than a Barre studio but there are still some good amenities, although not as extensive as Exhale or my Number 1 choice! The instructors are really upbeat and committed and the music is fun. The burn factor in this class is fairly high and there is a great cardio component largely due to the fact that there are some dance moves added in and a lot of use of the weights. LIke the above mentioned studios, FlyBarre is available at multiple locations throughout the nation, so you don’t need to be living in the Big Apple to experience it!
(Photos are from FlyBarre’s Facebook page)
And the Number One, top Barre class in NYC is my much loved, Physique 57! Physique grabs the Number One spot because of its burn factor– the toning and cardio combination in this class is unreal and I’ve burned as much as 600 calories in an advanced class–and the variety of classes. The traditional Physique class is much like The Bar Method, Core Fusion and Pure Barre but Physique takes it one step further by offering other classes based on the same barre-training principles but switching up the choreography. Physique Mat has a great pilates-focus with the same burn as the original Physique 57 class, although the structure of the class has you on the mat most of the time. Formula 57 is Physique on steroids with toning the major focus in this class. Physique Stretch is one of my favorites because it is a great compliment to the toning classes. The variety here is what keeps me going back.
Also contributing to Physique’s Number One spot is the clean, amenity-laden studio including everything from shampoos in the bathroom, towel service, mints for class and green apples to go after class. The instructors at Physique are all so upbeat you wonder what they’re eating for breakfast and the pace of the class is go, go, go! The music is Top 40 (my fav).
Physique has a ton of class options so there is always a time of day for Physique! The choreography is constantly updating so there is no change you will get bored or your muscles will get used to the workout. Even after years of Physique, I still walk out of there with dead legs from all the shaking in class. I used Physique to tone up for my wedding and I can’t recommend it enough. Unfortunately for all you readers outside of NYC, Physique is only available in New York and L.A. 🙁 But there are other Physique options so stay tuned! 🙂
(photos uploaded from Physique’s Facebook page)
So there you have it! My Top Barre Classes in NYC to kick off Barre Week! Stay tuned tomorrow to find out more information on all things barre related!
Readers, what’s your favorite barre class?
Want to see my updated list? Check it out here!