We're all about healthy eating, but to live an overall healthy lifestyle it is critical to incorporate exercise into your routine. Staying active goes hand in hand with the dietary decisions we make, and choosing the best workouts is just as important as choosing the right foods.

Pure Barre

Mixing up your workouts makes exercising enjoyable and challenging, whether you are running, lifting weights, playing sports or taking classes. One of our favorite group classes is Pure Barre, the total body workout that incorporates the ballet barre to help women transform their bodies. The class focuses on specific techniques to burn fat, strengthen muscles, and create lean physiques.

The 55-minute class begins with a high-energy warmup get your muscles ready to go. Next up, the instructor leads you through a series of arm-sculpting movements that help lengthen and tone your arms and shoulders. After your arms, it's time for the barre, which is used for balance so you can focus on the specific leg motions to strengthen your thighs. The focus then shifts to the back of your legs, or your "seat", as the movements help lift and burn the backside of your leg muscles. The final area of focus is your abs, working to flatten and strengthen your upper and lower abdominal muscles. The class finishes with a cool-down, leaving you wonderfully sore, sweaty and satisfied.

Slender Seven had the opportunity to speak with Pure Barre studio owners Katie Chaffee (Bethesda, MD, Arlington, VA and Alexandria, VA) and Jill DeNinno (Rockville, MD) to learn more about the technique and transformation that happens during a Pure Barre class.

What is the goal of Pure Barre?

The primary goal of Pure Barre is to help women become stronger without adding extra bulk to their frames. The workout is designed to create long lean muscles by incorporating exercises that lengthen the muscles as well as stretches after each section of class. Pure Barre also aims to be accessible to everyone. It provides an easily customizable workout, so that clients who have taken 100 classes will get as much out of their workouts as clients who are trying it for the first time. Finally, we strive to create a supportive and welcoming community for all of our clients. Pure Barre is more than just a workout, it’s a lifestyle.

What does the class aim to transform?

Pure Barre aims to transform the areas of the body that women struggle with most, including the thighs, arms, and abs. Clients typically begin to notice changes in their body in just 10 classes!

What makes Pure Barre different from other workout classes?

While Pure Barre is done in small groups, the class format allows teachers to provide the sort of individualized attention to each client that is usually found in personal training sessions. Teachers are not working out alongside their clients, they are guiding them through the class with vocal cues while they circulate the room making hands on corrections and adjustments to help clients dig deeper into their muscles. Pure Barre is a low-impact workout, making it accessible to a variety of ages and fitness levels, and the technique can be modified for nearly all injuries while still providing a challenging workout.

Why use a ballet barre?

The barre allows us to utilize our own body weight and resistance to its maximum potential, and it allows everyone in class to challenge themselves as much as they would like to while doing the same exercises (by sinking a little bit lower, pressing into the barre a little bit harder, etc.). In some exercises the barre is there more for balance, but in many others the barre allows you to target a variety of muscles that are difficult to reach in other types of workouts. Pressing up into the barre or pulling down on the barre during an exercise can activate a larger range of muscles, engaging the entire body all at once rather than just a single muscle group. While you may be focusing on your seat in one exercise, the incorporation of the barre also keeps your abs and arms engaged. In addition to all of those great benefits, the barre makes the workout fun! Pure Barre continuously innovates its technique and incorporates the barre into the workout in new ways, which keeps classes interesting.

What are the functions of the equipment (barre, weights, ball, tube) used during class?

Barre - for stability, so you can use your own body weight as resistance. The barre allows you to take your body an extra inch when performing small, isometric movements.

Weights - for strengthening, so you can tone, burn and lengthen your arm muscles. Mixing light weights with small motions helps create that fatigue and shaking, forming the long lean muscles in your arms.

Ball - for resistance, so you can squeeze against something, further contracting your muscles.

Tube - for resistance and stretching, allowing your body to move that extra inch.

What is your favorite part about the PB class?

Jill's favorite section of the Pure Barre class is the abs work done underneath of the barre. She never realized how weak her abs were until she started taking Pure Barre: "This section of class was tough for me to grasp at first, but once it started to click I found that I was able to work my abs in a way that I had never done before." The exercises are very effective at targeting your lowest abdominal muscles, which can be hard to fatigue with other exercises (especially without bringing the work into your hip flexors). Visit Jill at her studio, Pure Barre Rockville!

Katie's favorite part of a Pure Barre class are the thigh exercises. She can feel her muscles changing, getting stronger and more toned with every thigh 'sprint'.  Additionally, she loves how the 55-minute class challenges you to use every muscle in her body, even the muscles you may not have known existed. She loves teaching Pure Barre because of the sense of community, as well as the quick results that her clients can see after spending time in the studio. Take a class with Katie at her Pure Barre studios in Bethesda, MD, Arlington, VA, and Alexandria, VA

Find a Pure Barre studio near you!

Here's how we recover from a Pure Barre workout:


Pure Barre Smoothie

1 frozen banana

1 cup fresh raspberries

1 lemon, squeezed

10 almonds

2 packets Truvia

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

dash of cinnamon

Combine ingredients in a blender and pulse until creamy.