Targeting those obliques at Physique 57. Photo: Well and Good NYC.
I’ve tried more than a few barre-style classes in my day, from LA’s cool kid Pop Physique to New York’s entire range of ballet-inspired workouts. I love these thigh-burning sessions since they precisely target small muscle groups (and hard-to-tone areas like inner thighs). But while I always left with jello legs and arms, I never got the same euphoric feeling I get from a long run or Tabata class.
That’s all about to change, thanks to a slew of new cardio-meets-core classes. After testing out these options, I can report that these updated workouts tone your body and get your heart rate up. Here are my favorites.
Physique 57 Cardio: Cult fave Physique 57 just launched a revved up version of their signature barre workout. The hour-long class gets your heart rate up with a mix of lunges, push-ups, and dynamic squats, and mixes in plenty of the brand’s signature thigh and butt work. I left feeling energized (albeit with shaky legs) and was sore for days. They recently debuted online workouts too, which means you can get your squats and plies in wherever you are.
SLT: It’s hard to argue with any class named Strengthen, Lengthen, Tone (who doesn’t want that?). Taught on a Megaformer (basically a padded bed with bungees and springs), SLT has shades of pilates but ups the intensity in a big way. Case in point: you may find yourself doing backwards lunges while simultaneously trying to stop the sliding platform from zooming away from you—ouch.
Pilates ProWorks: I popped by this year-old studio to try one of their Pilates Pro class, taught on a FitFormer. I loved the airy space and pop-tastic soundtrack, and left the workout with super sore (in a good way) arms, thanks to all the push-ups and tricep dips.
Exhale Core Fusion Cardio: This update on Exhales already-tough barre class is no joke. It intersperses mountain climbers and planks with the usual thigh-burners—whenever I go, I leave dripping in sweat but feeling triumphant.
After all that cardio, you’ll want to refuel with something delicious. Try this healthy chocolate smoothie from goop.