Exhale Upper East Side

New YorkBarre,


byRebecca Licht, September 24, 2017

Core Fusion Barre is Exhale’s original fitness class and it is a relaxed, zen take on the barre exercise genre. This was an open level class for a small group on a Sunday afternoon, and we really liked the relaxing vibe. Exhale’s Upper East Side spot (Madison Ave) covers a huge area on the second floor of an office building and the fact that it’s removed from the hustle and bustle of the street makes a big difference. Instructor Emily led us through a good toning workout that felt primarily focused on glute strength, though it left us missing the chance to get a little sweatier. We’ll return to the Exhale Upper East Side studio for sure.



The Exhale Core Fusion Barre class requires different props in each of the classes we’ve been to. In this case, it was a set of weights and a green stretchy band to go over our thighs. As with other Exhale classes, we saw people take surprisingly heavy 6- and 7-pound weights. Emily, our instructor, asked us to come to the middle of the carpeted floor and began with some standard knee lifts. We were just realizing how tight our hip flexors were when it was time to move from standing warm-up into plank runs. Oh no, was this just going to be like our barre cardio classes? Mercifully, we only stayed in plank for three minutes or so and then it was on to arm weights and exercises.

Arms at Exhale is usually short but intense, and Emily’s class was no exception, beginning with triceps kickbacks with the eight-pound weights we’d chosen and then transitioning into lat rows and alternating biceps curls. We got back down on the ground for pushups and tricep dips and all of us in class were shaking a bit after just a few minutes. We then got up and stretched our hamstrings and hip flexors (ahhhh) at the barre in anticipation of our legs series.

Thighs and glutes were the bulk of this class, and we felt it was a well thought out series. We started using a green playground ball between our thighs and did a number of small pulses, creating a good thigh burn, then branched out into calf raises and toe taps facing towards the middle of the room. Thighs also included a water ski position that had us bending backward almost till our bums were on the ground, which made it impossible to get up again but only in a good way. The glutes section was split into a round back chair pose that also worked our lats and arms, then an extended fold over series and then finally a number of clamshells on the ground. We flowed smoothly from the barre portion to abs, which started with some flat back exercises against the wall. We raised and lowered our toes and dragged our feet inwards so that our obliques and upper abs were working. Class was rounded off with a set of bridge exercises and then we were set free to continue on our Sunday evening.


Emily Royston is an enthusiastic instructor who brought good, low key energy to this Sunday evening class. She passed our first test for a good instructor: she explained the flow of class to any newcomers and introduced herself, asking if anyone needed modifications. The class was small enough that she could provide hands-on corrections to our positioning, which we also appreciated. Emily gave directions that were a little rushed and mumbled sometimes, and confused right with left on a couple of instances, but her music was the right tempo for this class – some slowed down Top 40 and interesting remixes that we enjoyed. We were left feeling like she plans a great class and is most of the way there on the execution. We hope that as Emily gets more classes under her belt, she continues to provide excellent hands-on direction and plans out the flow of her class, while honing the clarity of her vocal instruction.


Exhale’s Upper East Side studio is huge and we loved it. There are three studios with ample room to spread out, all of which have soft carpeted floors, barres at varying heights for short people like us, and plenty of props. The boutique area is large and more focused on spa accoutrements (lotions, candles, etc) rather than exercise attire like in other studios. The locker room was also large and well stocked and a great haven for before or after a barre class or a massage, with a steam room and four showers. There are razors, deodorant, white tea and orange-scented bath and body products and – this earned a million points in our book – heated towel racks. Located on Madison Ave, UES might be our favorite Exhale location.

Exhale Upper East Side

980 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10075
Upper East Side Barre $$$$

Exhale Upper East Side

Upper East Side Barre, $$$$

980 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10075

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