These Are The Best Barre Classes In NYC

You sign up for a new barre class, thinking you know what you're in for: some ab work, lots of pulsing up and down, maybe something resembling ballet. Then, the next thing you know you're being instructed to tuck your pelvis, sit under a barre with your leg up, and "pulse" a muscle that you're pretty sure doesn't exist. Then the end of class rolls around, and you realize you feel strong, poised, and flexible — and it all seems way less intimidating.

If you're looking for a low-impact, strengthening workout that requires some finesse and mind-body connection, barre is an excellent choice. But there are so many studios out there with varying techniques and vibes, that it can be difficult to figure out which class is right for you.

Need a guide to show you the way? Here are the best barre workouts and studios in New York City, with insider advice about what to expect from each one. Grab your pair of fancy grippy socks, and get ready to pulse, tuck — and whatever else they may throw at you.

Pure Barre

The workout: All classes start with a choreographed warmup that involves lots of planks (and is surprisingly strenuous). Then, you use light weights for your arms, and then transition to the barre to work your legs and butt. You end with abs and a cool down.

Good to know: Some of the exercises require sitting in very specific, unnatural positions in order to target different parts of your body. There's definitely a learning curve, so go in with an open mind and pay close attention to the instructor. The studios are carpeted, so you have to wear socks, which makes sense. Come ready with your own pair — or be prepared to buy the $15 pairs they sell at the front desk.

The price: $34 a class.
Xtend Barre

The workout: Xtend's classes are slightly more ballet-focused than other types of barre, and they incorporate actual ballet steps like plies and curtsies. While you do hold the barre for some exercises, you can expect to move around a lot. In other words: There's more to the workout than just small pulses up and down.

Good to know: They use a range of equipment in the classes — from hand weights to poles and resistance bands. Grippy socks are required.

The price: $36 a class.
Pop Physique

The workout: The technique they use in Pop Physique classes is based on the Lotte Berk system, a old-school barre-like workout that was popular in the '70s. During the hour-long class, you'll use light weights, a ball, and a ballet barre for the exercises. In addition to your usual planks and pliés, expect to do smaller tucking motions to activate your lower abdominal muscles during class.

Good to know: The studio space is very cool, complete with neon signs and Warhol-esque patterned wallpaper. They also play excellent pop music during the classes, and the instructors are the epitome of Cool Girls.

The price: $32 a class.
FlyBarre

The workout: You'll use an inflated ball, resistance band, mat, and occasionally a barre in a FlyBarre class. FlyBarre is a little more athletic — less artistic and balletic — than other barre classes, so if you're not down for dancing, you may like it. That said, the creative exercises do require some coordination.

Good to know: They offer 45- and 60-minute FlyBarre classes, so make sure you know which one you signed up for before you get in the studio.

The price: $36 a class.
Barre3

The workout: As the name suggests, you flow through a three-step movement sequence in a Barre3 class. First, you hold a posture (like a lunge or plié), then you add one-inch movements, and then you transition to bigger dynamic movements. Barre3 is one of those studios that embraces "shakes and quakes," so don't be surprised if an instructor encourages you to to quiver (which, BTW, isn't always a good thing).

Good to know: Classes at the West Village location tend to fill up fast, so book your spot early. Going barefoot is encouraged, but you can wear grippy socks if you prefer.

The price: $35 a class.
Physique 57

The workout: Physique 57 workouts are designed around what they call, "interval overload." Basically, that means you work muscles in your arms, thighs, seat, and abs until you're fatigued, and then you stretch. You'll cover lots of exercises in the fast-paced, 45-to-60-minute class, and utilize an inflated ball.

Good to know: You use mostly bodyweight during a Physique 57 class, and you will have to do pushups. The technique also requires lots of pelvis-tucking in order to engage your abdominals, which might feel odd at first.

The price: $37 a class.
Exhale

The workout: You can pick your poison at Exhale, because they offer three different types of barre classes, including cardio and yoga-based barre, with different levels. Their straight-up barre class uses light weights and lots of core work. The cardio barre class incorporates cardio intervals of boxing, jumps, and mountain climbers, so it's more challenging.

Good to know: Socks are mandatory. While Exhale offers lots of fitness classes, it's also a chic spa. So, don't be surprised if you see people headed to massages.

The price: $37 a class.
The Bar Method

The workout: Timed to the beat of the music, Bar Method class is more regimented and choreographed than other barre classes. You warm up and do pushups in the center floor, then head to the barre for leg and butt exercises, and end in the center for core stuff.

Good to know: Classes are separated into levels, and as you go higher, the choreography gets more difficult. They also recommend wearing socks that cover your whole foot.

The price: $37 a class.
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