As you know from reading my blog, I froze my Classpass account for the past month to do the new client special at Pure Barre NYC. I’m well-seasoned in barre and Pure Barre specifically, but I hadn’t had a change to try their cardio offering, Pure Barre Platform. Per the website description, Platform is “designed to optimize cardiovascular results and increase total body strength. This heart-pumping class combines quick bursts of high intensity, yet low impact cardio work with periods of lower intensity muscle-sculpting movement.” Since that’s basically marketing jargon that tells you nothing, I’ve decided to review the class for you. You’re welcome.
The structure of Platform is more or less the same as your standard Pure Barre class: warm-up heavy on abs; arms; thighs; glutes; more abs (read my initial review of Pure Barre here). As you’d expect, almost every exercise in this class revolves around the mini platform, which is basically a smaller version of your mom’s step box from her 80’s aerobics class.
- Warm-Up: You’ll warm up with some step exercises a la 80’s aerobics, then take it to the floor where the remainder of the warm-up mirrors that of your standard Pure Barre class. Push-ups and planks are done with your legs on the platform, which makes a huge difference!
- Arms: Moves are bigger and more dynamic, and you’ll add leg work to your exercises (think lunges or pulses in second position).
- Thighs: Unlike your standard Pure Barre class, you’ll do more than three sets of thighs; instead, you’ll move non-stop between 3-5 exercises, all of which utilize the platform in some way. Each exercise is first done slow, then up to tempo, then double-time (which looks and feels ridiculous). The instructor encourages you to make moves bigger than in your regular PB class–pulses will be down a few inches, up a few inches (rather than just one inch). Between each different series, you’ll have a cardio sprint consisting of some sort of bigger movement – think bringing your knee into your chest or elbow and then back behind you at 2x tempo.
- Glutes/Seat: The seat series follows the same structure as thighs (nonstop, 3-5 exercises, move at three speeds), but your cardio breaks consists of kicks and jumps off the barre, aka what you see in the header image for this post. This is the most fun part of class in my opinion, and it’s totally #grammable too. It’s a fun exercise and you’ll feel like you’re flying, but you’ll definitely be out of breath afterwards if you’re doing it right!
- Abs: In lieu of abs under the barre, Platform class will slow things down by bringing things to the center of the room, where you’ll work your seat in pretzel position while using the platform for support. I really loved this; it’s one of the more effective ways to do pretzel. Most people can’t get their leg off the floor without some sort of support, and the platform really helps. From there, you’ll move into abs in the center of the room, which are not much different from your standard Pure Barre class.
What I Liked
- Most moves in the class utilize the platform, which is great–I think we all hate when the teacher gives us 25 props for class and you barely use them.
- Effective cardio if you’re doing it correctly. A great solution for the Rebel Wilsons out there.
- Jumps off the platform- because you can flyyyy! *cue me singing R. Kelly*
- Seamless transitions – Some barre classes have lots of down time to transition between exercises. This is not one of those classes! The non-stop approach to thighs and glutes is killer.
What I Didn’t Like
- Too fast, halp! Some of these moves, the double-time ones in particular, are done so fast that you can’t control the movements and properly work your muscles. Also, some of the cardio sections are done so quickly that you’ll feel like you’re flailing. Sure, this gets your heart rate up, but aren’t there more effective ways to add a cardio portion to class?
- Fast cuing, hard to understand – With super fast moves come super fast cues. I’ve taken TONS of Pure Barre classes and I still found myself confused at times during this one.
Overall, the platform is a fun prop and I love the jumps. As a Pure Barre member for the month, after taking this class 3-4 times, I’ve come to really enjoy it. However, if you’re a studio hopper, there are lots of other barre classes in NYC that incorporate cardio and don’t have as much of a learning curve–any class at Physique 57, Flexbarre at Flex Studios, and Flybarre Sport, to name a few. Definitely check this class out, you might love it–I do! But if you don’t, there are other options, too.