Pure Barre: A Review of Pure Barre Exercise Classes in Dallas
Tuck and Squeeze Your Way to a Sleeker Physique
Barre workouts have been gaining in popularity over the last few years, promising to burn fat, tone muscles without building bulk, and even lift your backside. The method, adapted from ballerina Lotte Berk’s exercises meant to develop “core stability,” fuses a mixture of Pilates, yoga, and ballet barre exercises into what becomes an intensely high-energy class for something that involves only minimum movement.
Because I hate exercising (and subsequently never do it), I wanted to try something other than running on a treadmill or endlessly pedaling to nowhere on an exercise bike. When I heard that Pure Barre in Dallas has a special $100 new-client fee, I signed up for a month of unlimited classes and showed up the next day with a water bottle and a towel. I continued to do Pure Barre three to four times a week for the next four weeks. So, did I see results? And how was the overall experience? Read on for my thoughts on and review of Pure Barre workout classes in Dallas.
The Warm Up
Barre classes at Pure Barre are held multiple times a day, from around 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., so it was easy for me to find a spot that fit my schedule. I showed up on my first day with a towel, a water bottle, and a pair of sneakers, which I turned out not to need—all of the Pure Barre exercises are done in socked feet. Many of the other women present wore gripper socks, but I didn’t find that I needed those to keep my traction.
The class started promptly at the scheduled time, with the perky instructor going right into it—the music (a mix of trendy hits with a good beat) blasts and everyone stands and marches in place to warm up, followed by stretches. The night class was crowded, and I consistently found some of my neighbors a little too close for comfort during some of the exercises.
The remainder of the warm-up period included crunches and planking, which I found a bit hard on my back—my lower back muscles were twinging by the time we finished.
After warming up, we took small hand weights (two pounds, three pounds, or five pounds), and started working our arms with small, repetitive movements—holding our arms straight up at chest level and moving the weights up and down about an inch, holding our arms at right degree angles and moving the weights up and down about an inch, etc. I started with a three-pound weight because those movements don’t sound that challenging—but they were. I couldn’t complete several of the sets, and my arms were shaking like Jell-O by the time we were done. For the first time in a workout, I really felt like I had done something that would tone my arms if I kept it up.
From arms, we moved into leg and seat exercises, working one side at a time. I found this part of the class to be the most challenging (and the part that brought the most results over the four weeks I did Pure Barre).
For most of these exercises the class moved to the barre along the wall—again, because it was so crowded, I sometimes had a difficult time finding a comfortable spot on the barre. Using a resistance band, a small ball, or just the weight of our bodies, we did thirty-second sets of exercises that again consisted of small, measured, and repetitive movement. For instance, we faced the barre, leaned backward, stood on our tiptoes, and propelled ourselves slowly up and down. In another exercise, we leaned into the barre, extended one leg behind ourselves, and drew tiny circles in the air with our toes. During all of this, there was a little of hip-tucking and thigh-squeezing to make it even more challenging. Again, by the time each set was done I was shaking (if I even made it to the end of the set).
The instructor also walks around the class at this time and corrects form, as well as giving encouragement. If you’re doing it wrong, you know, because your muscles aren’t burning—and as soon as you hit the exact right position for the exercise, you’ll know it’s working because your muscles will start screaming.
A Tip from Pure Barre
I found this part of the class to be the least effective and the least interesting. A mixture of crunches and returning to the barre to pull in your abs while lifting your legs never seemed to work for me—I could very well have been doing it wrong, and in the end my abs were the only part of my body where I didn’t see a difference.
After the ab exercises, the class segues into backdancing and then tones down the music for some soothing stretches.
My Rating for Pure Barre in Dallas, Texas
Pure Barre makes changes in your body by breaking down the muscle (that’s the shaking you experience during the exercise) and then keeping the rebuilt muscle lean by implementing frequent stretches in between sets of exercises. I found that Pure Barre both did and did not live up to the hype I’d heard—let me explain.
For my seat and thighs, I thought that even in a month Pure Barre worked wonders—with my dedication to attending class, and without any changes in my diet, I lost six pounds and noticed my thighs becoming trimmer and firmer. My arms also became more toned relatively quickly. Unfortunately, either because I wasn’t doing the ab work right or because all the weird pulling on the barre and grunting isn’t effective, I didn’t notice any difference in my stomach at all.
I enjoyed the friendly, knowledgeable instructors, and the concentration the barre exercise requires as well as the music makes the class pass quickly. It was also a very non-threatening environment to exercise in, which is great if you're self-conscious. There were women of all sizes, weights, and abilities in the room, and the instructor can help you modify the exercises to fit your strength level (the barre class is touted as safe and excellent for pregnant women, as well). In short, Pure Barre almost made exercise fun. Unfortunately, after the introductory rate it was $20 a class or $175 a month for unlimited attendance, and that’s just not in the budget. However, if you can afford it and dedicate a few months to the class, you’re likely to achieve a leaner, stronger body.
Pure Barre in Dallas, Texas
Pure Barre studio in Dallas, Texas. Located at the corner of Greenville Ave and Southwestern Blvd