Out of all the tough workouts I’ve ever sweated my way through, I have to say Pure Barre is right at the top of the list. I’d taken a barre class years ago, but it wasn’t until I downloaded the Pure Barre app that I fully and vividly remembered that this brand of the low-impact workout is labeled “high-intensity” for a reason.
Inspired by Pilates, barre, and yoga, Pure Barre takes all the best (and most exhausting) elements of each exercise modality and rolls them into one tough-as-heck full-body workout. The classes aim to help you build strength and improve flexibility through targeted movements, stretches, and other ballerina-esque moves — all of which are designed to leave your muscles feeling like jelly.
While a membership to a brick-and-mortar Pure Barre studio starts at $79 a month for four classes, the app — which was rebranded in 2020 to include an on-demand option called Pure Barre Go — is $29.99 a month after a free trial. Once you become a virtual member, you get access to its entire catalog of classes you can do at home. I tried a few different options, and... let’s just say I’m still recovering. Here’s what my experience using the Pure Barre app was like.
What You Get With Pure Barre Go
You can use the Pure Barre app to sign up for in-person classes, track your goals and progress, and attend livestream sessions. But you’ll want to toggle on over to Pure Barre Go to find on-demand videos. With a membership, you’ll gain access to a seemingly endless supply of pre-recorded Pure Barre classes that make it seem like you’re right there in the action — even though you’re actually curtseying alone in your living room.
Each workout is 30 to 45 minutes long and features instructors who encourage you to push yourself. Look under the “New On PBGO” section to find brand new videos, or scroll through the Classes tab to find something more specific. The latter is where you’ll find options like full-body workouts that incorporate weights and other tools, for example, along with other sections like “Intensive,” where you can zero in on a certain muscle group. There’s also an “Empower” section that features more cardio-based workouts, and “Foundations” classes where you can learn the basics.
There’s also the Programs section of Go that features reform classes with a focus on resistance training, as well as a Collections tab where you can choose a workout from a favorite trainer. And, for those that crave the feeling of a more IRL sesh, the app also offers live classes that you tune into at a specific time.
Taking A Pure Barre Go Class At Home
While the instructors are kitted out with a ballet barre, a mat, light hand weights, a double tube, and a small ball, the cool thing about Pure Barre is you don’t need any equipment to take a class at home. All I had was a mat and a chair, and I was able to make the most of it.
The one that really did me in was a “New On PBGO” class called 30 Min. Thigh Intensive with instructor Shantani Moore. I clicked on it thinking, “Hmm, 30 minutes... I can totally handle that.” But two minutes in and I wanted to lay on my floor and never get up again.
The class started with a quick warm-up featuring heart-rate-boosting leg lifts plus planks that left me wondering, “Wait, this is the warm-up?!” After that, we moved on to bicep curls and pliés, followed by a 10-count series of curtsy lunges, side stretches, and other barre work. To make each exercise extra challenging, Moore suggested lifting up onto your tiptoes for the last 10 counts.
Each move in a Pure Barre class is meant to be small but intense. You isolate certain muscle groups by pulsing: think lifting a leg back behind you, and lowering it up and down before it touches the floor. Moore motivated me to keep going by saying things like, “How do you want to feel after your workout?” Since I wanted to feel accomplished, I pushed myself, even though it burned. By the end, my muscles were positively shaking. But you know what? I did feel accomplished.
As someone who tends to focus on jogging and spin classes, it was cool to hit a whole new set of muscles with a different type of workout. The tops of my thighs? My hips? The middle of my back? These areas felt very specific to barre. Add in the fact it was also a great way to stretch, and I can totally see myself using these classes to round out my usual workout routine.
Should You Get The Pure Barre Go App?
If you’re looking for a tough at-home barre workout, Pure Barre Go will give you that. For less than the cost of a single drop-in class, you’ll get dozens of videos right on your phone that you can come back to again and again. If you still aren’t sure, the seven-day free trial is an ideal way to test barre out before committing. Whatever you decide to do, just make sure you have a foam roller handy.