Lisa led a good class in a beautiful part of the city across from the American Museum of Natural History. We appreciated her attentiveness and commitment to modifications others might need based on injury and felt that this class went by particularly quickly. The staff up front also deserve a shout out for knowing nearly everyone’s name who walked in; this is the kind of friendliness you don’t often find in Manhattan! We’ll be back to Pure Barre UWS.
Every Pure Barre class, regardless of studio, follows the same formula: standing warm-up punctuated by planks, then moving into arms with weights. This is followed by thighs, then seat, then two separate ab sections: one at/under the barre and then a section on mats on the floor.
In this class, Lisa led us through a whirlwind of steps to loosen up our arms and legs before a difficult plank series: 30 second hold, then straight arm plank, push-ups, and side plank all in one movement. Our arms and abs were burning less than ten minutes into class. We continued our arms section with some balletic lunges where we drew our arms over our heads and held an unbalanced pose for several seconds, which we really loved as we felt the tiny muscles in our chest and shoulders working – and burning – quickly.
The legs and seat sections of class both included a series with two looped tubes that we tied to the barre and used for lunges while standing on tiptoes. Holding onto the tube instead of the barre made us less stable and thus we worked a lot harder than we otherwise would have. We also did several knee bends in waterski position, helping firm the top of our thighs and our abs. For the bulk of the seat section, we were in the middle of the room on hands and knees. We did a series of leg lifts with the resistance of the band, and the section felt especially hard as we were asked to hold our feet in a flexed position, putting additional pressure on the base of the seat.
We moved into abs and especially liked the flat back section where we sat under the barre and dragged our feet from side to side, working the oblique muscles. Lisa kept the pace of the class rolling along quickly and frankly we were surprised to hear that it was already time to conclude class with our last set of bridge poses.
We liked Lisa a lot – she learned everyone’s name quickly, she was aware of and attentive to our classmates’ various needs for modifications, and she did the workout right along with us instead of standing up in front and shouting. The music she played was mostly remixed Top 40 and wasn’t heavily featured in class, which is good because at times she walked us through pretty complicated steps and we aren’t sure we would have gotten them if the music had been louder. Lisa helped everyone in class feel like they were getting a good workout in, and it was also clear that she cared whether or not we were getting a good workout.
Like all Pure Barre studios, the Upper West Side location lacks showers. The one bathroom in the back is incredibly large and I can imagine getting ready for work with the help of some dry shampoo. There’s also ample space to store your belongings; unfortunately, this is on the other side of the studio all the way in the back of the property. The front desk area feels a little crowded, with just a few racks of merchandise and one cramped changing stall. We did spy some coupons for teachers and students in between fancy water bottles, so we feel good that this studio cares about people and gives back to the community. Lastly, we just want to mention one more time that this studio is located on the same block as the American Museum of Natural History on 81st and Columbus – it’s one of the most beautiful blocks in the City to stroll along and there’s lots of stuff to do before or after class, whether that means saying hello to all the dinosaurs in the museum or waiting in line forever at Shake Shack.
412 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024 Upper West Side Barre $$$$
Pure Barre Upper West Side
Upper West Side Barre, $$$$
412 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024
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