for the first installment of our series, "WE ♡ NY", it felt right to start at the barre. we have spent a lot of time trying out and loving different barre studios around Manhattan, and we're excited to be sharing some of our favorites with you. read on for our suggestions for different barre workouts and why we love each one so much. enjoy!
we love leaving Xtend's classes with that same feeling of poise and good posture that you take away from a great ballet barre session. this is the most dance-influenced class that we've tried, in that the instructors give actual ballet terminology and moves. (think battement, plié, and attitude, for example). that said, every move is clearly demonstrated and explained, so if you don't have a ballet background, it's still super easy to follow along. try this class to feel graceful while getting a great full-body toning workout.
*sticky socks required
**TriBeCa location is the first Xtend in Manhattan!
just try leaving a flybarre class without feeling like absolute mush. it's virtually impossible, as this workout somehow gets you to a burning, quivering point almost immediately, as though you've already been holding that position for 5 minutes. what we mean - this is a super efficient, effective workout that targets deep, hard to find muscle groups and moves quickly enough that you don't really have time to focus on that burn too long. about the only thing this class has in common with ballet is the fact that there's a barre in the room, but it does have the appeal that many barre classes do : it's targeted, toning, low-impact exercise that can really change your muscles, improve stamina, and increase strength. one thing we really like about flybarre is that after a brief warmup, they usually start with an intense ab series. we always find this helpful, as it engages the abs early, and you can keep them active throughout the rest of the workout.
*barefoot or sticky socks ok
**fave location is Upper East Side
most fun, yet challenging
good music, energetic instructors, and a great group atmosphere make this one of the most fun barre workouts. and it's also one of the most challenging, in our opinion. but, like many others, it moves quickly enough to keep your mind off the effort and focused on your form. and speaking of form, the instructors are always helpful and hands-on, correcting your positioning when needed, so that you're always getting the most out of each move. they also place an emphasis on stretching throughout class and at the end, which is great when you're working some muscle groups that don't get typically get a lot of love. even so, expect to be sore after one of these classes!
*sticky socks required
**fave location is FiDi - if you position yourself right, you can see the NY Harbor while pulsing it out. NBD. Also - the showers / locker room are probably nicer than your apartment bathroom, so it's a nice place to get ready.
Exhale offers both traditional barre class and barre+cardio, and if you're up for it, the cardio version is killer (in the best way). this class is non-stop and keeps your heart pumping while incorporating light weights, playground balls, and all the barre tools to get a focused toning workout. make sure you bring lots of water and grab a towel - you'll be sweating within minutes of starting class. don't let it intimidate you - as with all classes we've tried, you can go at your own pace and take a break whenever you need, and it's a great way to challenge yourself to push it a little farther each time. and after class you feel SO accomplished!
*it's actually been awhile since taking this, but we think it's your choice - socks or no socks? don't hold us to that, though - check prior to class to be sure.
**fave location is Central Park South. the studio is large, they have a great retail section in front, and Central Park is across the street for a leisurely cool-down stroll afterward.
we've admittedly taken this class the least often of those on the list, primarily due to location convenience, but we're super excited for the new UWS studio opening soon! when we have taken this class, we've always found it really well-rounded, offering a great mix of toning, stretching, weights, and more, so you can work on your strength, stamina, and flexibility in each session. it's also really easy to follow along, with natural-feeling positions and detailed instruction. this would be great for a barre first-timer or a veteran looking for a fresh perspective on the workout!
*sticky socks required
**we'll be checking out the new UWS location soon!