Thursday, August 28, 2014
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We tried it: Pure Barre

Based in ballet principles, Pure Barre utilizes a ballet barre to perform a series of small isometric movements that tighten and strengthen your muscles, creating that lean physique that most women strive for.

We tried it: Pure Barre

When I was approached by Pure Barre to try out their patented “Lift. Tone. Burn.” method at their newest studio in Haddonfield N.J., I thought, being the avid exerciser that I am, I was totally prepared for this workout…. I wasn’t, at all!

Let me preface this by sharing that I workout 6 times a week. (Crazy I know, since I’m the health and fitness producer here at Philly.com!) But never, have I ever, seen my muscles shake the way they did at that barre.

Based on ballet principles, Pure Barre utilizes a ballet barre to perform a series of small isometric movements that tighten and strengthen your muscles, creating that lean physique that most women strive for.

“While men are more than welcome to take our classes, we really target the areas that women struggle with the most, to tone, lift and tighten the hips, thighs, seat, abdominals and arms,” said owner Noelle Zane, who brought the Pure Barre franchise to the East Coast in 2010 when she opened her first location at 17th and Walnut Streets.

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Adding weights, an exercise ball and resistance bands, you’ll blast away the fat while barely moving a muscle! (You’re sold aren’t, you?)

Each movement is so small, that in the beginning of our 55-minute class, I briefly wondered if I was going to get anything out of this at all. However, the keyword there was briefly, because not long after the thigh segment began, my muscles were shaking with a vengeance.

The class, set to great tunes, is fast paced, but that’s actually a good thing — because Pure Barre moves so quickly, you don’t have time to focus on the never-ending burn deep in your muscles.

“We find smaller movements are more effective, so you’re dragging your heel a tiny bit or lifting your leg only an inch or two to make sure you’re targeting the right muscles,” said Zane.

Correct form is key to the effectiveness of these small movements. Fortunately, Zane doesn’t expect you to master excellent form on the first try. Until you can demonstrate the perfect relevé (the dancer’s equivalent of being up on your toes), Zane and her crew are there to constantly readjust and guide you to help you get the most out of your workout.

“Pure Barre is almost more of a personal training session than it is a group class. Our instructors are all very hands on,” said Zane.

Make no mistake, barre is a tough workout — but don’t let that discourage you because this method truly is perfect for all fitness levels! “The Pure Barre technique is low-impact, protecting your joints by avoiding any bouncing or jumping,” said Zane, who offers a ton of modifications throughout the class.

The ultimate goal of Pure Barre is to bring the muscle group you are targeting to fatigue. If your muscles are shaking with every new sequence, then you know you're definitely doing it right! Each move is a full body workout and for a full 55 minutes you’re lifting and toning everything!

So if it’s the enviable physique of a dancer that you’re striving for, you'll definitely want to join one of 20 daily Pure Barre classes held at three different studios in Center City, South Jersey, and on the Main Line in Wayne. Your muscles will thank you later!

Individual classes are priced at $23, while monthly/yearly bundles, as well as special unlimited packages are also offered. Visit purebarre.com/locations to sign up.


Read more Sports Doc for Sports Medicine and Fitness.

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Whether you are a weekend warrior, an aging baby boomer, a student athlete or just someone who wants to stay active, this blog is for you. Read about our growing list of expert contributors here.

Kelly O'Shea Sports Medicine & Fitness Editor, Philly.com
Brian Cammarota, MEd, ATC, CSCS, CES Partner at Symetrix Sports Performance
Desirea D. Caucci, PT, DPT, OCS Co-owner of Conshohocken Physical Therapy, Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Michael G. Ciccotti, M.D. Head Team Physician for Phillies & St. Joe's; Rothman Institute
Julie Coté, PT, MPT, OCS, COMT Magee Rehabilitation Hospital
Peter F. DeLuca, M.D. Head Team Physician for Eagles, Head Orthopedic Surgeon for Flyers; Rothman Institute
Joel H. Fish, Ph.D. Director of The Center For Sport Psychology; Sports Psychology Consultant for 76ers & Flyers
R. Robert Franks, D.O. Team Physician for USA Wrestling, Consultant for Phillies; Rothman Institute
Ashley B. Greenblatt, ACE-CPT Certified Personal Trainer, The Sporting Club at The Bellevue
Eugene Hong, MD, CAQSM, FAAFP Team Physician for Drexel, Philadelphia Univ., Saint Joe’s, & U.S. National Women’s Lacrosse
Martin J. Kelley, PT, DPT, OCS Advanced Clinician at Penn Therapy and Fitness, Good Shepherd Penn Partners
Julia Mayberry, M.D. Attending Hand & Upper Extremity Surgeon, Main Line Hand Surgery P.C.
Jim McCrossin, ATC Strength and Conditioning Coach, Flyers and Phantoms
Kevin Miller Fitness Coach, Philadelphia Union
Heather Moore, PT, DPT, CKTP Owner of Total Performance Physical Therapy, North Wales, Pa.
David Rubenstein, M.D. Team Orthopedist for 76ers; Main Line Health Lankenau Medical Center
Robert Senior Event coverage, Sports Doc contributor
Justin Shaginaw, MPT, ATC Athletic Trainer for US Soccer Federation; Aria 3B Orthopaedic Institute
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