What the Tuck is Pure Barre Anyway?

PureBarreLogoIf you know me, then you saw this post coming. I am a devoted Pure-Barrbie. I have been going to my local Pure Barre studio for a year now.  I have tried lots of other types of exercise in the past– running, Zumba, Body Pump– and I liked them all, but none have done for me what Pure Barre has. I didn’t have much weight to lose, I just wanted to get in better shape. (That’s not to say, that it isn’t a weight-loss type of activity, because it is for sure a high-calorie burning exercise.) PB toned, tightened, and lifted everything that needed toning, tightening, and lifting. Seriously. It worked better in the first two months than years of running and gym memberships combined. Overall, I feel overall stronger and healthier since I started going, not to mention calmer and happier.

Pure Barre is a shoes-off, Pilates meets ballet class set to modern pop and rock music. The studio provides the equipment that you will use for class: a tube, a ball, a yoga mat, and some optional hand weights. It is a low impact workout that is perfect for women of all ages (seriously). It is a total body workout that focuses on women’s trouble spots, and although they say it takes you 10 classes (2 weeks) to see results, and 4-6 weeks for others to start noticing, but you will be feeling the results after the first class. That’s really what Pure Barre does for me; it makes me feel better. That may even be the best part about this particular workout–  it takes a great deal of mental concentration, so for the hour a day that I spend there I am able to clear my mind, relax, re-focus, and re-center.

To be honest, I was quite intimidated after my first class. All of the other attendees seemed so long, lean, graceful, and flexible. I have practically no dance training. I am not very flexible, and I am notoriously uncoordinated. So, I stumbled through my first class and woke up the next day aching in places that I didn’t even know existed. I decided to keep going, and I am glad I did. When I started my Pure Barre journey, I couldn’t do one full-body push up, much less plank on my toes for 90 seconds, or get my legs anywhere close to “hip height.”  I have come a long way, and I always feel awesome at the end of class. There are modifications that can be made to practically every part of class to make it match your fitness level, so whether you can’t touch your toes, or you are a fitness guru, Pure Barre can still help you out.

Pure Barre has its own lingo– you’ll hear the word “tuck” often (very often–hence the title of this post), you’ll be told “the higher the heels the thinner the thighs,” you will learn new workout positions called “flat back” and “round back”– and if you are anything like me, after your first class you will be wondering what does it all mean, and am I doing it correctly? I still repeat each thing the instructor says in my head when I am setting up for a new section of class. My first class went a little like this:

Now, on to the second part of warm-up. (Wait, that was just a warm up?) Find your place at the barre. Feet should be hip width apart and parallel? (How wide are my hips anyway?) Rise up to your highest pair of high heels. (I don’t own any very high heels. I’m a tall girl. But, ok, Pure Barre instructor, I’ll pretend.) Sink your seat. (How far? Should I drop it like it’s hot, or bring it back  up a little?) Now, tuck, tuck under. (Am I tucking too aggressively? Ouch, this hurts.) For our next thigh exercise… (MORE thigh exercise? My thighs want to die thankyouverymuch.) Lie on your mat for back dancing. (What’s back dancing? OOOH! I see…)

But, AFTER my first class I started seeing the results. So, I have been going back for more ever since. Better posture. More confidence. Better flexibility. Toned body. Lean muscles. Mental clarity. Relaxation. That’s what Pure Barre does for me. Any questions?

I’m not going to lie, it isn’t a cheap workout. But, your first class is free, and it is well worth the investment after that. It took my husband a little convincing to justify spending the money, but I think he has noticed the difference in my attitude and mental state when I am able to go. I am really thankful that he has been supportive of it– and it has required a great deal of cooperation from him, not only financially, but he is also really good about watching our son even when I leave them fending for themselves for dinner so I can go to the Barre. I am better able to take care of my family, after I have taken a little bit of time to take care of myself.

My Tips for First Timers:

  • Sign up (for free) for your first class online. It will save you time, and guarantee you a spot in class.
  • Arrive on time, and tell the instructor that it is your first class. Every instructor I have every had has been very helpful and gracious.
  • Wear yoga pants, and whatever type of top you will be comfortable in.
  • Be prepared to work out in your socks. If you have socks with grippers on the bottom, those are preferable. Most people wear the black socks that are available for purchase at the studio for $15/pair. (Don’t wear your shoes on the studio floor.)
  • Bring a friend. It is always better to try something new with a buddy.
  • It’s okay to feel foolish. Some of the movements in Pure Barre were so new to me at my first class, that I felt completely foolish. But, it’s okay. Everyone is so focused on her own movements that no one will even notice if you are doing it right or not, and like I said, the instructors are super helpful and will walk around the room to correct your positions.
  • Hang around after your first class to ask questions.  The instructors are there to help, and will gladly explain the terms and the positions to you. It really helps you get the most out of your workout.

29 thoughts on “What the Tuck is Pure Barre Anyway?

  1. I just started barre yesterday… I’m a clumsy uncoordinated retired athlete, and I wanted to try something new to get back in shape for my wedding so when a new studio opened up I tried it. I felt very self conscious because like you, I’m tall, and definitely not flexible. I signed up for a month new client membership and going back today. I feel like this is a good challenge to give myself. Your article helped me feel a little better about my awkwardness 🙂

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