Clifford Studios in NYC : Class #1 = BARRE

During half term, I travelled to New York with my husband Tom for our honeymoon. Having visited in October 2014 for my 30th (you might have gathered I quite like the city!) the tourist list was already ticked off. So what else to do with our time than sample the fitness scene across the pond? Luckily Tom is as keen on exercise as I am and was game for giving the various classes a go.

First up was a barre class at Pure Barre, Cobble Hill (Brooklyn). Pure Barre is a franchise that has studios all over the USA and their classes are extremely popular. It was mid term break for schools in New York as well as here but the 9.30am Thursday class was still very popular.

We started with a warm up off the barre –  and I was lulled into a false sense of security with knee lifts and arm raises. Within seconds we were then straight into planks and crunches! In the warm up! Already it was very different from BarreConcept where we do a more cardio/dance warm up and then head straight to the barre. Next up at Pure Barre was a killer arm sequence, still in the centre, using weights. The formula/method here was the same as for BarreConcept – a series of moves changing very slightly after each 8-10 reps and finishing with very small movements that feel like agony having held the same position for so long!

It was after this we moved onto the barre for our calf, thigh and glute sequences. It felt like we spent relatively little time on the barre in comparison to the classes I teach however I was keen to get off when it was time! We used double loop bands throughout the barre section and again followed the 4 part movement, 2 part movement then 1 part movement formula.

The lights were then turned off as we stayed holding on to the barre but were sitting down for abs. This was the only part I found ‘easy’ – most likely due to my core strength from so much Pilates. Lastly we were in the centre doing more back and ab work before cooling down.

The 55 minute class went very fast – most likely because I was having a hard time adjusting to the American accent giving instructions! Kate – our teacher- did wear a microphone too which I found novel and am thinking about investing in to save the voice by the end of term!

I really enjoyed the class but think that it would definitely be something that I could only do once a week as the repertoire is limited and therefore the variety we have at BarreConcept would be missed. Karen is currently teaching our Thursday evening Barre classes and her training is more similar to this style – it is undeniably effective which I found to my cost when dragging my suitcase from Brooklyn to Manhattan as we were changing accommodation!