I’ve been taking Flybarre classes since I lived in the DC area, when I followed a couple of teachers from a small studio to the noted chain. Flybarre is a more athletic approach to barre than some competitiors, likely because it’s meant to complement their spin program, Flywheel (which they market a good bit more). Anyway, I’ve taken a number of Flybarre classes in a number of locations, so I feel knowledgeable enough to review the class.

The Studio

leaving the Flywheel studio like

In NYC, I’ve taken Flybarre class at the Upper East Side, East 60th, and Lincoln Center locations. Each of these locations hosts both a Flywheel and a Flybarre studio, so go in knowing that you’ll be sharing your space. The Upper East location is in the same building as The Fhitting Room and SLT, and the wheel and barre classes are on different floors, thus minimizing post-class crowding.  I’m a fan of this. Lincoln Center has their barre studio in the basement, again minimizing crowding. My least favorite location, by far, is the 60th Street location. I came to a 6:30pm barre class and must’ve arrived right as a wheel class let out, but it was body-to-body in there. I felt like I was shopping at the Herald Square Macy’s rather than attending a boutique studio. It was nearly impossible to find a working locker, and at one point I saw a man in a shower towel and nothing else shove his way into the locker area–this isn’t your house, buddy! I found that entire pre-class experience appalling, to be honest. The Upper East pre-class experience was much nicer, and for the record, I’ve taken 6:30pm classes there, too.

Nearly-naked-man aside, Flybarre does have nice amenities. All of their locations have showers and lockers, as well as free bottled water and towels. Locker rooms are stocked with Bliss products so you can pamper yourself before or after class. Also, free apples and bananas!

pre-class at the UES location. Mood: concerned about the number of weights needed.

The Instructor

The instructors at Flybarre in general are great–before class, they always go around to each and every student and ask if they have any injuries, which is fantastic. In NYC, I’ve taken class with Angela Sauers, Lisa Donmall, and Michelle Brugal. Lisa is definitely the peppiest of the three and she has an awesome British accent. She kept the class very motivated. Angela and Michelle were  a bit more  technical in their instruction but were still incredibly encouraging and welcoming. My only instructor-related issue at Flybarre was that Michelle’s playlist was very R&B heavy, which isn’t very energizing for a workout class, in my opinion. However, this was a few months ago, and I’m sure she switches it up a lot!
On another note, re: instructors, if you ever find yourself at the DC Flybarre, take class with Marisa – she’s awesome and has the best playlists.

The Workout

As noted, Flybarre’s approach to barre is a bit more strength based than some other studios. Class begins with a warm-up that includes stretches, planks, and push-ups. From there, you’ll move into Flybarre’s signature exercise, barre abs. You lie on your back, hook your feet under the barre, and do situps from here. It’s awful yet amazing and you’ll definitely be sore the next day. Once you’ve stopped crying / recovered from barre abs, you’ll work through all of the different muscle groups–arms, legs, glutes, and abs–but the order varies based on the instructor’s class plan. This is one of my favorite attributes of Flybarre; you never know when to expect each exercise.

Arm work at Flybarre usually includes tricep work using a strap on the barre, as well as shoulder work with light weights — both are super tough (in a good way). There’s only one set of glutework, but it’s about 6 minutes per side so you’ll definitely feel the burn. Thigh work usually includes a lot of inner thighs, and abs are always a mix but one set usually focuses on obliques. The Flybarre 60 class has a long stretch after glutework, which definitely helps you regroup for the second half of class. If you prefer a more consolidated approach, they offer a Power 45 class that omits this stretch, as well as a couple of other exercises (but it still hits every muscle group!).

The Vibe

Because Flybarre is connected to Flywheel, you’ll find a mix of barre regulars and spin students trying to mix it up. I’ve definitely seen guys in this class more than at other studios. Clients are a mix of ages and often wear fancy workout gear, but not always. The vibe here is a bit less pretentious than some other barre studios in the area.

The Damage

First class is $15! After that, classes are $34, which is a little steep for barre, in my opinion. The studio is also on Classpass, but be forewarned that studios block off some of the more popular class times (i.e., it’s very hard to find a 6pm or 6:30 class).