Founded in 2001 by dancer, choreographer and fitness expert Carrie Rezabek Dorr, Pure Barre® is an exercise form in the genre with Fluidity®, Barmethod®, Barre3®, BarreAmped® etc that uses a ballet barre and isometric movements to tone, strengthen and stretch the whole body. From their website: “Pure Barre is intelligent exercise. The technique protects your joints as it does not involve any bouncing or jumping. Each strength section of the workout is followed by a stretching section in order to create long, lean muscle without bulk. The workout launches a full blown attack on the areas of the body all women struggle with: abs, hips, seat and arms. It defies gravity by tapering everything in and lifting it up.”
Today, I tried my first barre class at the Pure Barre studio in Baton Rouge. Open since July 2012, it is located in the Southdowns area on Perkins near the overpass. The space is cozy and warehouse cute. A simple space with exposed ceilings, coarse carpeted floor, and two long walls mounted with barres from end to end (one mirrored for form checks). The front of the room opens to the reception area with large glass doors allowing good sunlight inside.
The attire for the class is comfortable coverage with no shoes or bare midriffs. Everyone wears socks and they sell socks with traction on the bottom. I had on regular socks and my feet kept slipping during some of the moves where I didn’t have the strength to hold my body in place. Everyone was very friendly and there was a good bit of chatting in the workout area until the instructor started the bumpin music, everyone moved quickly to position and it got serious. We started with some high knee movements for a warm up and it seemed as if we did not stop moving till the end of the class. There was not a lot of chit chat from participants during the class. (I don’t care for classes where students hold social hour by chatting with friends the whole time.) Most were quiet, concentrating. I was probably the most vocal student in the class with “Oys”, “Wow” and the occasional “Are you kidding me?” slipping out as I tried to keep up. The class can be intense. Not Biggest Loser or Insanity kinda intense where people are near passed out or vomiting in the corner. It was gently intense. Most of the movements are small, very focused and intentional. A person watching from a bit off might not be able to see the movements at all. But your muscles get a heck of a workout.
The class is fast paced. You go from one movement to another with no rest in between (only the time it takes to get your body in the next position). Five minutes into the class, I was wiping perspiration (ok sweat) and my heart rate got up several times in the hour. Next time, I might wear my heart rate monitor to see how elevated it gets.
We worked out isometrically and used hand weights, bands, little squishy balls, mats, the barre and the wall. The instructor Jamie was EXCELLENT with queuing, body corrections and motivation. I’m stealing one of her encouragements “You came here to finish” for an in my head mantra when running or pushing thru a hard part of a pump class.
I thoroughly enjoyed the class. You can’t help but notice the influences of Pilates, yoga stretches and some good old exercise moves from high school PE, but the required body positioning and way the moves were put together was unique. Coming from a place of burn out from the months of marathon training the variety was a breath of fresh air. The low impact stretching and strength movements of Pure Barre also seem to be a good counter balance for running. The best part for me? Just being at the barre with my toes pointed was a nod to the wanna be ballerina dreams I had as a chubby inactive child.
Gotta think through the details, but I plan to add barre classes to my workout rotation. Thumbs up (or pointed toes?) to Pure Barre of Baton Rouge.
3033 Perkins Road, Suite B
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
Baton Rouge, LA 70808