Thanks to an awesome promo deal for Fitmob (which I’ll review at a later date), I’ve been able to try different studios and classes around town. At the top of my list was a barre class. If you’ll recall, I went to a barre fitness class at Castle Hill last summer, which had a little bit of pilates and cardio mixed in. Pure Barre was more of what I was expecting, and it still thoroughly kicked my butt.
First thing to know is that you need to have socks. They sell ones with the rubber grips on the bottom, but I brought regular sport socks and that was fine for a first-timer. The grips help for a couple exercises where you’re standing in a lunge or similar posture on the carpet. All other props that you need are in the studio – light weights, a rubber ball, mat and a stretchy tube band.
Classes at Pure Barre are always a predictable format. There’s a warmup session at the start of class in the middle of the room, followed by some arm work using the light weights. Then, you’ll move to the barre. The class rounds out with abdominal work and a cool down. I was a sweaty mess by the end.
Barre classes are all about the tiny isolated movements – maybe only an inch or two in any direction. This was really tough for me to figure out! The teacher would say lift and squeeze and tuck, and I tried to find whatever muscle was hiding under my waistband to slightly contract my hips forward and back. As we were doing these movements, I thought about the workshop I took with Kino MacGregor that was all about mula bandha and trying to isolate small contractions on muscles you can’t easily see or feel.
At the barre, we did small leg lifts and used the ball behind our knees for more resistance. My standing leg was shaking and burning, and I didn’t even get on my tiptoes like others were! My glutes were exhausted by the end of that part of the class, making the counter stretches we did feel so much more therapeutic.
I don’t know how much the mirrors really helped me as I was looking around to see what exactly everyone else was doing so I could figure out what I was doing. All I know is that at the end of class, I looked a mess and not an elegant ballerina. Haha! That was some workout. The next day, my abs all the way down to my pubic bone were all sore. We worked those lower ab muscles to do the “waistband tuck” so many times; I really had no idea how deep the soreness could get. I’m reminded when I sneeze or cough though.
I think with a few more classes under my belt, I should get the hang of what to lift and squeeze and tuck. Oh, and somewhere between the arm work and ab work, my triceps are crazy sore and tight. I don’t even remember using my arms in such a capacity, but it must’ve been the micro-movements.
Pure Barre is located in Westlake, down the street from Trader Joe’s. They’re currently running a new client special with 4 classes for $40 within 14 days. Normal walk-up rate is $22.
3267 Bee Caves Rd.
Austin, TX 78746