Apparently, the the last year or so, barre classes have been all the rage. Until recently, I had yet to try one.
Barre classes are basically ballet-inspired workouts designed to improve balance, flexibility, and range of motion while developing lean muscle mass. Studios have been popping up all over the city so early in 2014, a friend and I decided to give Barreworks a try at their midtown location.
Most classes are about 1 hour in duration and they have a really big variety of types from basics to mixed level to one focused on arms, abs, and ass, they even have one with more of a stretchy, yoga type focus. Since we’d never done it before, we signed up for a 1 hour Barre Basics class on a Saturday morning, though they seem to offer the Basics class a number of times each week.
First off, I LOVED that we could sign up online. I am a bit socially awkward and I absolutely HATE conversing using the phone, so this was a big starting point for them. We got there about 15 minutes beforehand and the front desk staff were extremely helpful in showing us where everything was and talking us through how the studio operates. The studio space was really clean and nicely decorated, though the locker rooms were a little small for my liking, with only two showers. But maybe I’m just used to bigger, less-niche gyms.
The instructor (Carly) was super nice and introduced herself to everyone and asked us all about injuries before we started the class. I am skeptical of people that are genuinely this happy and sweet, but that is a me problem, I digress.
We started with a light warm-up and then got to work. As a first class, I didn’t find anything overly challenging, except for the whole, being coordinated part. I have a feeling the point of this class is to take things slow and learn the basic movements so that you can go into a higher level class feeling confident. We working through the various muscle groups, starting with lower body, then moving into arms. A cardio break followed before abs and a stretch, so it was a pretty standard workout. The barre was incorporated in about 50% of the movements I would say. One thing that did throw me off was the amount of equipment used in these classes. There were small weighted balls, big light balls, matts, and resistance bands. Not being used to something like this, it was a little off-putting and felt like a lot to keep track of.
I went a second time to the exact same class a week later. I was happy to see that it wasn’t the exact same class as the week before. I upped my weights and got a tighter resistance band and definitely felt like I was getting a better workout in over the week before. I still didn’t feel like the cardio portion was giving me much.
Overall, it was nice to change things up and try something new. Is this something I’d do regularly? Probably not, but I can see the appeal for others.
Cost: If its your first class, you can either pay $10 for a one-off or sign up for two weeks of unlimited classes for $40. I chose the latter, but regretted it when I didn’t end up getting out of it what I thought I would. If its not your first time, drop-ins are $21, though you can buy multiple class passes here, which are a much better deal.
Levels recommended for: Beginner right up to advanced. If you’re a beginner, I’d start with the Barre Basics class and see how that goes. It definitely seems like they have some more challenging classes available that I didn’t get a chance to take.
- Bring water
- If you don’t like working out in bare feet, buy a pair of grippy socks or those silly little studio shoes that the sports companies are coming out with.
- Take a basics class first – it will allow you to assess where you are and get an idea of what to expect in harder classes