Sharing my thoughts on Pure Barre and barre3, the differences between them, and which one I like more. [Hint: it’s pretty much a tie.]
Hi friends! How’s the morning going? It’s been a good week over here. I taught bootcamp, went to choir (our concert is soon and I’m pretty pumped about it), and babysat for EJ and August last night. The mornings have been frantic as usual, and after a particularly crazy morning, it was so nice to get in a barre class before heading to a meeting.
After class, I was thinking about the differences between barre3 and Pure Barre, and which one I gravitate towards, depending on how I’m feeling. Since I’ve taken both formats for years now, I thought I’d write a post comparing the two barre methods if you’re considering giving them a whirl. (Also, fellow barre lovers: I’d love to hear your thoughts on your favorite barre studio and why!)
What’s the difference between Pure Barre and barre3?
Details on Pure Barre:
Pure Barre is a classic barre format, focused on small, pulsing movements, long lines, and isometric holds. The class begins with a warmup (usually marching with pointed toes and arm variations), a short core sequence (crunches, planks) and push-ups. After push-ups, you complete your weights segment (usually a set with a heavier set of weights and then lighter or no weights) before heading to the barre for leg work. The leg work has two sections. The first section includes quads, inner and outer thighs, and then a short stretch. Next, you’ll do glute work, followed by a short stretch. You’ll have an ab section (this can be anything, from seated work, floor work, or work at the barre), a back strengthening exercise, and finally, some type of hip bridge work to finish out the class. There’s a nice juicy stretch and you’re done!
The tools you use: weights, mat, barre, small playground ball, and a double resistance band tube. [Note: they also have other formats including different tools, but for this class, I’m focusing on the classic workout.]
The movements for Pure Barre are always different, but the cueing and language is always the same. You know that when they start a count of 10 that it’s the end of that set! (It feels like SWEET RELIEF when they say, “Last 10!”) The class is very music-driven (you match the beat of the music) but doesn’t have a cardio element.
Something I LOVE about Pure Barre:
This workout is always challenging for me. Also, I love how they’ve remained true to the class barre format over the years. I love classic barre -it’s one of my true workout loves- and I always leave class feeling challenged.
Something I don’t like about Pure Barre:
There are a lot of crunches in the ab sections, so if you have DR or are pregnant, this part could be tricky to modify without some extra guidance. (My favorite DR-friendly exercises are here, and my free postpartum core guide is here.)
Details on barre3:
barre3 is a mind-body workout that combines the elements of dance (ballet), Pilates, and yoga. Each class begins with a 3 deep breaths (usually reaching up overhead), a cardio warmup (this is always different but might be something like squat taps and hamstring curls with various arm movements), some type of yoga stretch (whether it’s a crescent lunge with a twist, moving figure 4 stretch, or warrior 1 to warrior 2) and then a plank hold. From there, you head to the barre for leg work (emphasizing the quads, inner, and outer thighs). After leg work, you have a short stretch, followed by combo work in the center of the room with weights, a cardio segment, and back to the barre (or to the floor) for glutes. After glutes work, you’ll stretch, move onto core work on the mat, followed by a short savasana and 3 deep breaths to close out the class.
The classes are always different but include a focus on breath, many modification options, and a reminder to be true to your body and how you’re feeling that day.
The tools you use: medium squishy playground ball, long resistance band, weights, gliders (occasionally used by instructors
Something I LOVE about barre3:
I love, love, love the mind-body element of barre3. There are hints of yoga sprinkled throughout class and the instructors always do an awesome job at providing options and modifications. Also, they have childcare! This is HUGE and can make or break a studio for me. (When the kids are on break from school, I usually ride the Peloton, take Les Mills On Demand classes, and do barre3.)
Something I don’t like about barre3:
I’m not in love with the cardio section. It just feels long and redundant to me (sooooooo many sumo squats with different arms and step taps). I know that participants probably love to get their heart rate up (and it’s so good for the brain and body to move laterally) but I’m just not super into it. Thankfully, it’s a very short part of class.
Which one do I like better: Pure Barre or barre3??
To be honest… it’s a tie. I genuinely love them both and have made both studios a consistent part of my routine. It really depends on what kind of mood I’m in. I know that Pure Barre will always leave me feeling shaky and challenged, and that barre3 gives me that happy heart and zen vibe.
Barre lovers: which studio is your favorite? I’ve heard awesome things about Xtend Barre. There are so many out studios there! Physique57 is another one of my faves.