The night before taking a Pure Barre class at Chapel View in Cranston, I did some pre-exercise prep by watching Center Stage and envisioned myself killing it like the closing scene’s lead girl in red. Little did I know that the full body workout I was about to experience would have me pirou-sweating instead of pirouetting… in the best of ways, of course.
Wearing bright pink workout gear (since I couldn’t find red), I arrived at my class just in time to grab one of the few remaining spots – right in the front (sorry to everyone who witnessed my completely out-of-sync movements). Being right next to our instructor, Mackenzie, ended up for the best, as she kindly adjusted my form so I could get the most out of the workout.
Class began with a standing warm-up in the center of the room. We started with some light arm movements, then moved into some not-so-light planks. I was feeling the burn of the past week’s terrible diet choices. Burn away, entire box of White Cheddar Cheez-Its! Burn away!
Fully warmed up, we progressed into our arm sculpting exercises using light hand weights. Is there a better body material to sculpt than that super fun part of your underarm that’s still partying after you wave? We continued “pulsing” our arms with the weights; these repetitive small motions are at the core of Pure Barre. They seem easy enough during the first few sets but gradually become harder.
We then approached the barre, shifting the focus to toning our thighs and our “seats.” This was the segment where the Pure Barre lingo really took off. There was plenty of “tucking,” moving “down-an-inch-and-up-an-inch,” and – my personal favorite – “LTB” or “lift-tone-burn.” Standing on tiptoes to start, we pulse exercised our thighs and calves. With alternating legs, we went back and forth with a point, flex, point, flex motion, which is similar to how I dance at weddings, so this was probably my shining moment. We later incorporated the “double tubing” bands that provide resistance during leg and toe lifts. What really “raised the barre” in terms of difficulty was adding a small rubber ball to the mix, tucked between our calves and back thighs during side leg lifts.
Although any sort of leg exercise done on tiptoes is a challenge, I was quite thankful for these small movements. Going down into a full squat from this position would’ve been my second epic fail of the class – the first being my “split” during a brief stretch. While I wasn’t the only one not in perfect split position (I think), my splits are more of a 10-inch above-ground kneel, with attitude. We then settled to the ground on our extra cushy mats for the final core and abdominal exercise portion.
Finally we came to the cooldown, a combination of stretching and very light yoga, where my legs and arms could’ve melted into the mat. I had just experienced my first full-body workout in a very long time, and though I didn’t get to wear a red Center Stage-esque outfit, my face actually ended up turning a similar shade, so it all worked out. Once fully cooled down after an extended child’s pose, I left the studio reminded of how great it felt to have endorphins flowing through my body again. Pure Barre just might be my new favorite cocktail-free happy hour.