Back in 2001, Burr Leonard incorporated The Bar Method, a ballet-inspired, body-sculpting workout.  Classes are extremely low-impact and focus on isometric holds combined with small range of motion movements to work each muscle group to fatigue, followed by stretches to elongate the muscles. When a Pure Barre studio opened up in my neighborhood and I learned that The Bar Method is perfect for all body types–even if you don’t have a background in dance or an amazing body like American Ballet Theatre prima ballerina, Misty Copeland‘s, —I jumped at the chance to treat my body and try out this technique.


The class is a 55-minute ride of pure challenge focusing on the all areas of the legs, the core and the gluteus maximus;  it’s a full-body workout. You are working your biceps and triceps, abs, glutes and of course focusing on the entire leg while squeezing and tucking in your booty. “Tucking’ forces you to engage your abs thereby creating the “full body” aspect in the workout.  It’s extremely hard but holistic in that you are mostly using your own body weight with a help of a few props.

“In my opinion,The Bar Method accomplishes everything you need in a short amount of time,” says Penda N’diaye, an African American instructor at Pure Barre in Brooklyn. “The areas that are most difficult to change and define are targeted and you can actually feel them melting away. After 55 minutes you definitely know you got a good workout in. The music is driving and forces you to connect your mind to your body. You can’t coast through a Pure Barre class. For 55 minutes you are completely focused on your goals and pushing yourself further. In other fitness methods it is easy to lose sight of why you are working out. Pure Barre reminds you that working out is your time, your body, your health and your results.”

N’diaye encourages Black women to try The Bar Method. “I would definitely recommend The Bar Method for African American women and our particular body concerns. The magical part about The Bar Method is that you are lifting and toning. You slim down in all of the right places. You can achieve your ideal body shape without sacrificing the areas you already love. Pure Barre helps to burn fat and slenderize problem spots so, in turn you accentuate areas that you have worked hard to lift and keep tight! For African American women in particular, this workout method will only enhance our God-given gifts. African American women should try it, and [will] love it!”

The Bar Method is described as being a personalized workout in a group setting. “It will challenge you but it will be well worth it. It is not catered to a specific body type and there are several modifications you can make if you have difficulty achieving any of the forms throughout class,” says Nidiaye.

“What made me fall in love with Pure Barre were the immediate results in my own body, says Tiffany Currid owner of Pure Barre Brooklyn. “I had never participated in a workout that visually changed my body so quickly. The continuous and rapid results kept me going back!”

I can definitely agree with that. In the last 6 weeks of going to Pure Barre classes, I’ve noticed a significant change in the slimming in my thighs and arms and the lifting of my glutes. It’s still a beast of a workout. I’m still shaking non-stop. I still make modifications and I’m still sore (in a good way), but the results are real and worth It!

–Crystal Whaley



Do you want to step up to the barre and give it a try? Here are some tips before taking your first barre method / fitness class:

•    Format:

Classes follow the same sequence with a variety different exercises to insure classes are never the same. Class starts with a quick cardio burst, upper body, shoulder, tricep & bicep work flowing into a core work. It then moves into an intense thigh, calf, hamstring set. Goes back to core work a final burst of glute work. Class ends with a final meditative stretch.


•    Equipment:

A ballet bar attached & bolted to the wall with a ball (sometimes a weighted ball) 2, 3 or 5-pound hand held weights, a cable for stretching and a mat.


•    What to wear:

Fitted pants below the knee, breathable top that wicks sweat, and socks with sticky traction at the bottoms for grip.


•    What to Bring:

Bring a bottle of water and a towel – You’re going to sweat!


•    Be prepared to get your SHAKE on:

Meaning, your legs will without a doubt start to tremble and then shake immediately into the thigh and glute portion of the workout.  It’s normal and encouraged by the instructors to shake. If you’re working correctly to the point of fatigue you will shake uncontrollably and you’ll see results quickly.


‘I love watching clients change in so many ways. Many times, clients will begin coming to class and Pure Barre will have a domino like effect in their lives. They begin addressing many other areas besides just exercise. For example, making healthier food choices, ending unhealthy relationships in their lives, addressing their mental health and caring more about their overall health than ever before.,” says Currid


The holistic, mind body connection that the barre method offers, plus the reshaping of my glutes, arms and thighs will keep me coming back for more. The latest barre method fitness trend is a win win for my summer curves!