Barre in the Big Apple

Whether we’re talking refreshing cocktails or pulsing pliés, there’s no denying that I love to go to the bar/re 😉

Barre is one of my favorite ways to break a sweat and tone up. I think it’s safe to say that if you were to take a quick look at either mine or April’s ClassPass record (and my bank statement, unfortunately…), you’d probably see barre class after barre class after barre class. Luckily, there’s far from a shortage of barre studios in NYC and no two classes are exactly alike. If you’re ready to mix up your workout and dive head first into the barre scene, then this post’s for you. Keep scrolling for my take on barre studios in the Big Apple.

Physique 57: If you haven’t tried or at least heard of Physique 57’s Signature class, odds are you’re likely living under a freakin’ boulder. Not only is Physique one of the most popular NYC barre studios, but it’s one of the toughest and it’s become the holy grail of barre for me. Expect to kick off the class with exhausting arm work. Then you’ll waterski, courtesy lunge, clamshell (etc…),  your way to long and lean legs. Finally, you’ll bring it on home with brutally exhausting core work! Most instructors are really hands-on and super focused on making sure you’re executing each move correctly. I also really appreciate how instructors take the time to learn newcomer’s names and make encouraging shout-outs throughout the entire class! Try Leidy’s or Gali’s class if you want a real challenge! Gali’s music is awesome, which will help you power through when your legs begin to quiver uncontrollably! Sydney Lotuaco is also a boss babe. You literally cannot go wrong at Physique and I literally cannot run out of good things to say.

Exhale Spa: Exhale is similar to Physique in terms of class structure and exercises. It’s super tough, although you might not get as intense of a workout as you would at Physique. That being said, it’s absolutely worth throwing Core Barre Fusion classes into your weekly barre mix. Alexander’s class at the Central Park South location is our go-to! He’s got a great attitude, he’s hands on, and super attentive. He’s also one of the toughest, most organized instructors at the studio. All together now: inhale, EXHALEEEE.

Pop Physique: Pop Physique is another amazing studio to satisfy your barre fix. Their branding is on point, so be prepared to get the perfect Instagram after your class (the cherry and banana print wallpaper at the Bowery location are so amazing!) You’re taking Tracy’s class and I promise that she will exhaust your arms with simple arm work, make your legs shake, and completely burn out your abs.  She’s the reason I nailed down proper form, since she’s very hands on. If that’s not your thing, don’t worry, as she can verbally assist! Here’s where it gets tricky: While Tracy is amazing, the other instructors I’ve tried aren’t quite as difficult. You’ll still get a good workout, but you won’t get the same full body burn out. Then again, maybe I’m just a barre snob. Nonetheless, pop your Pop Physique cherry because it’s worth trying.

Flybarre: This is one of the least barre-like barre class I’ve ever taken, but I don’t hate it. In fact, I love it since their incredibly tough and the instructors are amazing. So, what do I mean by this? It seems like you only use the bar sparingly at Flybarre. You’ll use resistance bands, playground balls, and hand weights, bust mostly on the floor. They mean business in the 45 minute express class! You will break for a quick stretch between muscle groups, but you’ll essentially be going non-stop throughout the hour. They literally make every minute count!  I’ve never taken a 60-minute class, but April has and said it was really tough. Angela Sauers is super tough and you should definitely try her class.

Flex Studios: Flex has a ton of awesome classes, including a few hybrids like TRX/Pilates and barre/Pilates, which I think are super innovative and challenging. Barre at Flex tends to feel like a traditional barre class. I will say, however, that both individual portions of the barre/pilates class tend to feel a tad rushed. If you’ve never taken a barre or reformer class before, it may be a little hard to keep up. It’s definitely worth the challenge if you’re looking to mix up your routine, though! I would absolutely recommend their TRX class too.

Pure Barre: I would say that Pure Barre is a no-frills, “back-to-basics” kind of class that focuses on fundamental barre movements. The double tubing resistance bands threw me off a bit, and while some leg exercises had my legs shaking, I didn’t exactly feel like I was begging for mercy. Nonetheless, it’s definitely a well-structured class and the arm section at the beginning will have you feeling the burn in no time. I would suggest Pure Barre if you’re looking for a class that doesn’t have the cardio factor and that doesn’t totally burn you out. It’s also great for beginners!

The Bar Method: I was really excited to try The Bar Method because the studios look super sleek and I’ve read great reviews about Keagan’s class. Long story short, we (and by ‘we’ I mean me and Marissa aka @sweataddicts haaaay) ended up taking another instructor. The workout itself was decent, but I wasn’t exactly thrilled with my experience both at the bar and while I was waiting for the class. Being pulled aside to hear the rules was a slight turnoff for me. What about the class itself? Well, I just didn’t think the leg and seat work were tough enough. I also felt that the workout lacked variety and the arm circuit felt like it was about 5 hours longer than it had to be. One last note: the turnover between back-to-back classes is chaotic. The instructor started before half of the previous class got their locker keys off the wall and made it out the door.

Barre3: Good and bad news. Let’s start with the bad: there’s only one Barre3 studio in NYC, making it challenging to get a spot. And now the good: Dino’s class is AMAZING and you will actually be sore for days. This was the most unconventional barre class I’ve ever taken, yet I April and I  agreed that we loved every second of it. Barre3 is really intense and incorporates a few “dancey” moves, which is great because they definitely help you forget that you’re actually burning out your muscles. Just to give you an idea, we did a lot of lunging from side to side incorporating graceful arm movements. It felt bizarre. The thigh work, seat work and ab work (get ready to PLANK) were super challenging and I don’t think I’ve ever done that many clam-shells in a single setting. Unlike any other barre class, this class will make you literally sweat like you just did a class at Barry’s. I guess this might not be the best blow-out sustainable class 🙂

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