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.
If New York is known for exporting restaurants, Los Angeles is developing quite the rep for its cult exercise classes. There’s Tracy Anderson, Barry’s Bootcamp, Yoga for Athletes, and many more. I was in L.A. this past weekend and, in between eating and beaching, decided to give the local fitness scene a spin.
I had heard great things about Pop Physique, a chain of stylish fitness studios specializing in ballet-inspired classes. I’ve been hooked on these thigh-shaking sessions ever since our barre class test-drive earlier this summer, so I signed myself up for one of Pop’s signature classes. Their whole vibe is very L.A., from the American Apparel-like models on the website to the zen-ed out lounge area at the studio. But there was nothing laid-back about the hour-long class: it had familiar arm work with light weights, thigh-shaking exercises at the barre, and ab-crunching curls to finish. By the end, my legs felt like Jell-O and I swear my arms looked more toned. Best of all, the class was $20—not inexpensive by any means, but a definitely less than New York studios. On my next trip, I’m planning on trying out Yoga for Athlete’s hybrid yoga-cycling—two of my favorite things in one class!
Read our roundup of the best ballet-style exercise classes—plus tips for preparing for your workouts!