As a small group of editors and instructors milled about the lobby of Pure Barre's West Hollywood location, I couldn't help but notice that one phrase seemed to ring out repeatedly: "I'm nervous." But the collective sentiment was understandable—we were all there to preview the company's new cardio-geared class, Pure Barre Platform, and, as anyone who has taken one of Pure Barre's traditional classes knows, it's certainly tough enough without a high-octane spin.
"Is it really hard?" I asked instructor Shalisa Pouw, who helped develop the class and would be leading the preview for editors and L.A. instructors alike. "I wouldn't say it's harder, but different," she said. I wasn't exactly mollified.
Pouw went on to explain that Pure Barre Platform was designed specifically for people who feel that barre alone isn't enough of a complete workout. Instead of supplementing their classes with cardio, now they'll have a one-stop shop. "It's the same kind of method, but we're really keeping the heart rate elevated. It's fun—there's a lot of jumping," she said.
As we filed into the studio, we were each paired with a small platform, similar to what you'd see in step aerobics. As we got into the thick of the class, that correlation continued—we stepped and jumped on and off the platform a lot. The usual format of the class was still in place—we progressed from arms to thighs to seat to core, all with the usual muscle-quaking movements. But there were also little "sprints" throughout, as we stepped and did each set of exercises in double and then triple time. During one memorable portion, we trapeze-ed ourselves off of the platform, using the barre as support. Pouw was right—there was a lot of jumping, and it really was fun. (Wait, did I actually just ENJOY cardio?! I said to myself after the 55 minutes had flown by.)
One of the reasons why really tough, really sweaty Vinyasa yoga classes have always been my workout of choice is that by the time you realize how hard you're working, you're already moving on to the next pose. Pure Barre Platform was seamless in this way—which means that while it certainly caters to those who were seeking to amp up their usual barre regimen, it also works for people like me who avoid the treadmill like the plague. And that next-day, hurts-so-good soreness? Oh, it's still there—in spades.