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What is Barre?

Pure Barre has become one of the most popular workouts for those seeking a dynamic, low-impact workout. Despite its popularity, many still find themselves wondering - what exactly IS barre? Read on to find out the history of barre, and more about the Pure Barre workout. 

History of Barre

Did you know barre has been around for nearly a century? Started in London in 1959 by dancer Lotte Berk, the barre workout draws inspiration from the namesake ballet “barre” routine. It’s not a dance class, though! Although some of the movements are sourced from ballet, the workout also incorporates exercises from pilates, yoga, and rehabilitation exercises. Barre takes its name from the stationary ballet barre, used for strength & flexibility exercises in classical ballet. 

After Berk suffered a back injury, she combined her rehabilitation exercises with her barre training to create a unique fitness routine. Her approach aimed to strengthen muscles while maintaining the grace and flexibility of ballet movements. The method quickly gained popularity, and over the years, it evolved into what we now know as Barre fitness.

What is the Barre Workout?

The Barre workout is a low-impact but highly effective exercise routine that combines elements of ballet, Pilates, yoga, and strength training. With focus on small movements, It typically takes place in a studio equipped with a stationary horizontal barre, although some variations can be done using a chair or otherwise stable flat surface. 

Barre focuses on engaging specific muscles until they reach fatigue, followed by stretching to create long, lean, and toned muscles. By targeting your muscles through isometric movements (think tiny, controlled pulses), barre is an effective way to build total body strength and improve your flexibility. 

What is Pure Barre?

Pure Barre is the leading barre fitness program, with over 600 locations around the world! Our proprietary technique focuses on small movements that create big change, in both body and mind. Pure Barre has 4 signature class formats (Pure Barre Classic™, Pure Barre Empower™, Pure Barre Align™ & Pure Barre Define™). Although each class differs in the style of workout, they are all low-impact, full-body workouts that strengthen & tone your muscles! Most classes also incorporate the use of props, like a small weighted ball, a resistance band “tube” and dumbbells. 

Our signature technique focuses on small pulsing movements, sequenced to target all your major muscle groups. All of our class formats are taught by experienced, highly trained teachers who are passionate about barre and movement. Pure Barre was founded in 2001 by Carrie Dorr, and since has grown to encompass thousands of members from different backgrounds. We pride ourselves on our diverse and supportive studio communities. 

What are the Pure Barre Class Formats?

Pure Barre offers four different full-body class formats to cater to different fitness levels and preferences. Find out about each class below!

What is Pure Barre Foundations?

If you’re new to barre, this is a great place to start. Pure Barre Foundations is a small group class that guides you through the basic movements of Pure Barre and their names.  This class will help build confidence as you discover how our technique works and all the benefits barre has to offer.

What is Pure Barre Classic?

Pure Barre Classic is our original barre class. It is a musically-driven 50-minute low impact, full body workout. Using our proprietary technique, you are guided through a series of low impact, high intensity isometric movements. This workout is designed to improve your flexibility, while strengthening and toning your entire body. 

What is Pure Barre Empower?

Pure Barre Empower is a more high-intensity variation that incorporates dynamic movements and cardio bursts to elevate the heart rate and enhance cardiovascular endurance. It is a 45-minute class that uses hand/ankle weights and a plyometric platform, and the barre.

What is Pure Barre Align?

Pure Barre Align combines our classic strength-building barre technique with flexibility and balance training for a restorative full-body experience. If you like yoga, you’ll love Pure Barre Align! This 50-minute class moves at a slower pace with various flows of stretching to improve your joint mobility and range of motion!

What is Pure Barre Define?

Pure Barre Define is our newest class, focused on weight-based strength training. By using a wider range of weights (up to 20 lbs!), you can expect to build muscular strength & power while still enjoying our classic barre technique. While most of our classes are cued to the beat of the music, we encourage you to find your own pace in Pure Barre Define! 

What are the Benefits of Pure Barre?

Pure Barre offers numerous benefits that keep people coming back for more:

Full-Body Toning: The isometric movements help sculpt and tone muscles throughout the body, leading to defined, lean muscles. 

Improved Flexibility: The stretching incorporated into each class enhances flexibility and promotes better range of motion in your joints.

Increased Strength: By engaging in regular Pure Barre workouts, you can expect improved muscular strength, especially in the core, arms, thighs, and glutes.

Low Impact: Pure Barre is gentle on the joints, making it accessible to individuals of all fitness levels and ages.

Mind-Body Connection: The focus on form and alignment during each exercise encourages a stronger mind-body connection, promoting mindfulness and concentration.

Stress Relief: Like any physical activity, taking a Pure Barre class can reduce stress and promote a positive mood. 

Supportive Community: Pure Barre studios foster a sense of community, creating a supportive and motivating atmosphere for participants.

Who Can do Pure Barre?

One of the beauties of Pure Barre is that it’s suitable for anybody and every body. Whether you're a fitness enthusiast or a beginner, the low-impact nature allows people of all fitness levels, genders, body types, and ages to participate safely. Pure Barre is the workout of choice for many people recovering from injury because it provides an effective strength-building workout without placing additional stress on your body. 

Pregnant women can also engage in Pure Barre classes, with some studios even offering specialized prenatal classes. As always, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new fitness routine, especially during pregnancy.

No matter where you’re at that day, our teachers are trained in modifications to help you safely perform the movements during class. Be sure to talk to your teacher before class with any concerns you may have. 

Is Barre the same as Pilates?

Barre and Pilates share some similarities, but they are distinct exercise methods with different origins and focuses. Both workouts emphasize core strength, flexibility, and muscular endurance. However, modern Pilates often involves working on specialized equipment like the Reformer while Pure Barre primarily utilizes the barre.

Moreover, Pure Barre tends to focus on smaller, isolated muscle groups, while Pilates often involves more full-body movements and a broader range of exercises. Because Pure Barre is musically-driven, it can often be more fun than a Pilates workout because of the dance-inspired movements!

How do I get started at Pure Barre?

If you're ready to get started, fill out the form below to find a studio near you and get a FREE Pure Barre Foundations™ intro class! This class will help you familiarize yourself with the movements and techniques. Once you gain confidence and experience, explore other class formats to keep your workouts exciting and challenging. Be sure to arrive early to purchase a pair of sticky socks before your first class!

Whether you're a seasoned athlete or a newcomer to the fitness scene, Pure Barre offers a supportive and welcoming environment to help you achieve your fitness goals and become the best version of yourself. 

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