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The Great Debate | Battle of the Barres

Yesterday I took my final class at The Bar Method from my 6 week trial. With all the different barres popping up I wanted to do a comparison between Pure Barre and Bar Method, the two that I have tried and used the most. Also, I attended both of these studios on my own dime and really wanted to do this review for you! 
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VS. 

I wont give you a run down of how they started or their histories but rather my results, feelings and attitudes between the two. The great part is that the set-up is the same so comparing them will be fairly easy.

Cost

Full costs can be found here:
Pure Barre
Bar Method
Both are not cheap and for this reason I chose to do the "new client specials." Although with Pure Barre, Gary did buy me a pack of classes to use after my special ran out. 
Bar Method: $100 for 6 weeks unlimited
Pure Barre: $100 for one month unlimited
Obviously you get more bang for your buck with Bar Method and if you use it like I did, at least 3-4 times per week, you definitely get your money's worth. There is a discount for both businesses if you're a student. 
Single Class Cost:
BM: $26
PB: $23
Monthly Membership:
BM: $180 or $150 if you purchase before your unlimited classes run out
PB: $225
*The bright side to the new client special with Pure Barre is because of the franchising you can use the new client special at any new to you location!! I was able to do this with the Boston and Brookline locations. I'm not sure if the same is true for Bar Method, but the other location is not a viable option for me, but I know they are franchised as well. 
** These costs are Boston based and can vary by location!! 

Warm-Up

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You still have the lifting of the legs to get your heart going with both. The biggest difference between the two classes is that with Bar Method, it's up to the teacher to decide which arm warm-up they choose to do with the weights. I believe they have a variety to choose from each month and they each try to change it up in every class. Just when you think you've caught on to what to do - they switch it up. With Pure Barre the warm-up stays the same for a month or two so that you really get into the rhythm. There is more emphasis on push-ups in Bar Method so if you don't like those it's sort of a pain! Also, if you're not a fan of the plank - not to worry because Bar Method does not have one built into every routine and if you do have to do it - it's only one minute, not 90 seconds. 

Thigh Sprints

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This is standard in both versions. The biggest difference for me is that the seven minutes of continuous work in Bar Method always, and I mean every single class, got my legs shaking, to the point where I looked around the room to make sure no one noticed how terribly they were shaking. The majority of thigh work was centered around the bar for both classes, but I can count maybe four times over the course of the six weeks when we used the ball between our thighs or in any part of the workout. With Pure Barre, it's standard and used almost exclusively in the workouts.

Seat Work
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I found both PB and BM to be almost identical in this portion of the class. For seat work I really enjoy the PB way of teaching because they really emphasize that the movements come from your seat (butt) not your leg, which wasn't really emphasized with BM instructors. Since I'm an old pro, I knew where to squeeze from - totally kidding! 


Ab Work
Part one against the wall: Again this portion of the class is very similar with both. The biggest difference being the emphasis on breathing with BM. The deep breathing comes from your diaphragm which helps shape those pesky six-pack abs!! Also once the wall session is complete you go into another round of push-ups! 

Part two on the mat: I like to think that PB has a more conventional way of doing ab work - as in it's something I would do alone at the gym. For BM it's completely different and positions I would have never thought to try that target the entire abdominal wall - if that gives you any indication, it's painful, but in the best way!!

Stretching

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I like to think that stretching is pretty hard to mess up, but when I was in the BM classes, the instructor would always correct my hip or arm placement and I have to say it made the stretches feel like they were going much deeper! In both PB & BM you stretch after each section, but there was much more emphasis on the bar in BM. I felt like a ballerina in one part of the class because you lift your leg onto the bar to really get a deep side and leg stretch in - I'm not the most flexible, but it worked! 

Miscellaneous

 Instructors 
Both PB & BM have wonderful instructors, but the biggest difference for me was that BM instructors know every single person's name in the class and they are constantly calling names out to either correct or praise. I know the PB instructors pay a great deal of attention to names, but I don't think it was to this level. 

Technique
Technique is emphasized so much more in BM and the correction of technique occurs more - the instructors are not afraid to come up and really realign you to make sure you're getting the most out of the exercise. I'd say words are emphasized more in PB as in lift, tuck, down a little, up a little, and so on - BM doesn't have any key words that they drill into you. But trust me you will have dreams about lifting that seat regardless of which class you choose. 

Music
Hands down the winner here is PB. The music is louder and pumps you up in the best way! In BM it's used more so as background noise and don't really psyche you up to work harder. 

Final Thoughts
What I liked most about BM was the class times! Since they actually have two studios at the location I attended, class times were every half hour instead of once an hour, which made getting to a class that much easier, as opposed to PB with only one class offered every hour. For me cost weighs heavily in decision making and if I had to choose a studio to attend on a month to month basis it would have to be BM - for convenience and also cost. I was really worried about the instructors not being as nice as the PB girls, but they are just as nice and really take the time to make sure all your movements are correct, which I had no idea I was doing wrong to begin with!! 

The environment I enjoyed most was at PB - the girls are all friendly, I felt like it was easier to make friends in the class before the class started as well - as there is usually a 5 minute waiting period before the instructor came in. At BM the classes often ran over their hour time slot and you would rush into to class to start.  

Overall, the results I saw at BM were much better than the ones I saw with PB, but to be fair knowing I had an unlimited amount of times to take the classes made it easier and not having to worry about a 12 pack of classes running out. I made it to BM on average at least 3 times a week and felt like my legs and arms toned the most. Not to mention I was sore after each and every single class - there were no exceptions!! So there you have it, my thoughts on the two programs!! 

Do you like this type of workout? Have you tried Pure Barre or Bar Method?

Thank you so much for reading - I know this was a long one!! 

xo,
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56 comments

  1. This is such a great review! I have heard of both methods, but never knew which one to pick. They are costly, but it seems like they are worth it! I am all about more bang for my buck, so I'm going with your choice!

    Maggie
    www.PolishedClosets.com

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  2. This is the post I have been waiting for! Thank you so much for this review. It is very well done and helpful. I'm looking for a different type of workout, and this is next on my list to try.
    xo, Whitney and Blaire
    Peaches In A Pod

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  3. i love any workout that makes you work hard and you feel wasted afterwards. unfortunately, while i would LOVE to do a class, the ONLY one closest to me is 45mins away. ain't nobody got time to drive that far!!

    -kathy
    Vodka and Soda

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  4. This is awesome! I really love the variety of topics you cover on your blog. The classes really just aren't in my budget right now and the time to get out of the house would be super tough to find. I am definitely going to order the pure barre videos I've decided. It will be my christmas present lol. XO

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  5. i tried a different barre company in chicago (bar bee fit) and they did a lot of mat work -- it was a killer! xo jillian - cornflake dreams

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  6. So interesting! Thank you for sharing! I've been to a few different barre studios, but not bar method yet. I agree with quite a few of your thoughts on Pure Barre. I did their intro package but wasn't a fan enough of the studio near me to buy more classes.

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  7. I've really been wanting to try a bar(re) class but just haven't had the opportunity yet (I live in the middle of no where). I'll stick with running for now but maybe when we move to another more civilized city I'll get the chance!! Thanks for such an in depth review!!

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  8. Thanks for the thorough review! Definitely helpful when trying to decide between the two methods. Will you be signing up again?

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  9. This is an awesome review, thanks for comparing the two programs! I attended one Pure Barre class at the health club where we are members, and I just couldn't get into it. I'm assuming that's because it was one of the health club instructors teaching it, and not a "true" trained Barre instructor. I'm sure if I went to a studio it would be a much different experience. After one class, I could understand why you girls have such toned legs and arms!

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  10. It's so interesting to read the differences between these two classes. I rally love ballet inspired workouts and have been curious what these classes actually entail for quite a while. This was an excellent review, I think if I ever decided to try one I'd have to go with Bar Method. Have you ever read or tried Ballet Beautiful?

    prosecco in the park

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  11. Umm love this review! I've never tried Pure Barre, I don't think there's one in my area, but I've tried Bar Method, Barre 3 and Barre 54. I love that you tried both consecutively so you had a better comparison. I did mine months apart so I didn't really have much to compare it to. I think I need to start taking a Barre class again soon!!

    <3, Pamela
    sequinsandseabreezes.blogspot.com

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  12. I know I would loooooooove this work out! (But I didn't ever realize there was a difference in pure barre and bar method!) I'm DYING to try this but no one in my small town offers it :( I would have to drive an hour one way to get to a class, which is SO difficult with a toddler! Someday, someday I will try these workouts!

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  13. I used to be a ballet dancer and I have heard good things about these classes! I really need to check them out! So up my alley!

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  14. I haven't tried either (such a slacker) but this is such a great review! I can't get over the cost of these classes though... so crazy!! Love the idea of gifting them!

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  15. What a great review of both methods! I've actually never taken a bar class because the closest is 45 minutes away, but now I really want to give it a try!

    <3 Shannon
    Upbeatsoles.blogspot.com

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  16. Thank you for your reviews!! I will have to try a barre class some day. I hope that you are having a great day so far!!

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  17. I LOVE barre workouts! There is only Barre3 where I live and I am dying to try both of these. I really love when they know your name and make it personal, and good tunes make it or break it in my opinion!

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  18. this is a great review of both. so which one did you really enjoy more, BM? they are so expensive, there is no way KC would let me (not that I need his permission but you know) pay $150 a month or even $200, eep. My gym is $10 a month, you know? jeepers. Maybe I should do it once and then start doing it online or something.. do you still go? there are 2 locations of PB in my city so I could go to both locations, but there are no BM :(

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  19. I have been wanting to try out any type of barre workout. Maybe after baby is here that will be my motivation to get fit! This is a great comparision!!

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  20. Thanks for breaking it down lady, I've never tried either so this is very helpful!

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  21. Great review! I want to get back into it. I didn't love the studio near me unfortunately. It was a weird, clicky vibe. Wish there was more near me.

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  22. There is a PB right near me that I really want to try.

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  23. I have heard so much about barre workouts and would love to try them someday, maybe when the budget is a little more free! I did ballet as a kid and loved it so I imagine this would kind of take me back to that in some ways! Thanks for sharing!

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  24. There is nowhere near me that offers this and I think I would love it! I grew up taking ballet so I just feel like it would be right up my alley!
    www.amemoryofus.com

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  25. Thanks so much for posting this, Biana! I have been considering giving these a try, but I had no idea which one.

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  26. Such a great and informative post!! Maybe I'll try it one day.. when I have a job lol. Looks like a great toning workout!

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  27. Thank you for this post. It's so informative and honest. I have been wanting to try PB for awhile now. Thanks!!

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  28. Thanks for sharing! I have been wondering about this myself!

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  29. I've been wanting to try a barre class but wasn't sure if i would like it/it was worth the money! Thanks for sharing your experience with both, it will definitely help my decision!

    Emily at Style Cubby

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  30. I think I would die in this class... I'm so not flexible. I wouldn't get in half the poses.

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  31. This is really interesting. I love how you really broke it down in detail about each method. I think I would agree with you on the Bar Method. I'm all about more bang for my buck. I should tell my other mommy friends abut this. This would be fun to do together (plus I would need the motivation)!

    www.taffetaandtulips.com

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  32. I'm sooo intimidated by these classes, but Amanda, and now you, help ease the fear a bit ha. The results speak for themselves, I'll say that !

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  33. I would love to try either method though the BM seems more my style. I will have to look to see if there is one closer to me, I know the PB ones were too far to just pop in for a class.

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  34. Great review! I love that you gave us real info! I have been nervous to try either, as I didn't want to spend the money without knowing anything about either!

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  35. I LOVE love love Barre classes. I have only gone to Xtend, but I love it. And your review is spot on.
    Deidre Emme

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  36. oh interesting! This is so informative, I had no idea there was even a difference!

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  37. Such an informative post, thank you!!! I have yet to try either, because of our current personal training schedule and the nearest being 30-45 min away, I just can't fit one in. But I would like to try one eventually!

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  38. Definitely a great post! I've done Pure Barre and I love it.
    xo!

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  39. Wow! What a great breakdown. We don't have barre method here and we are just about to get a PB within a few weeks, so beggars won't be choosers around these parts :) Can't wait to get into barre classes!

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  40. This is a great breakdown! I've been taking barre classes with FlyBarre at Flywheel Sports because I decided to take their six week challenge and because I spin with Flywheel. However when my challenge is up I've been thinking about checking out Pure Barre and a few of the other options in Charlotte just to see what's out there. Oh and I totally hear you on the coat part, it's pretty brutal!

    xoxo,
    Meghan

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  41. I'm so glad you did this! After you first mentioned BM, I looked into it as an alternative to PB, but it's actually a lot more expensive here for some reason & they don't offer as many different packages after the first 30 days. I'm not a push up person at all, so PB sounds like it appeals to me a little bit more. This was awesome, thank you!

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  42. This was a great review! I've been wanting to try a barre class so bad but my husband would divorce me if I signed up for a month. I don't think we have the Bar Method in Charleston but I'm sure it's coming. I started doing a YouTube bar video and it's great but seems nothing like the actual class. Either way it's free and works for now!

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  43. i've heard so much about barre classes and finally found a place offering some free beginner classes to try out next week so I'm going to check it out and see if i like it!

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  44. What a great breakdown - I love a good detailed review so thank you for providing! I've been saying for months now that I've wanted to try a barre class, but being in central NJ, I only have a Pure Barre close to me (which I guess I'm lucky to have any at all - haha!). The schedule of the one by me could be a little bit better, but since they have weekend classes, I really have no excuse!

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  45. LOVE this post! I've been wondering what the differences were between the different barre classes. I've been doing Barre3, and actually just went to a class today so I'm pretty tired/sore but the good kind of sore. These classes are no joke and will leave you "quaking", but the results are amazing! I just wish they weren't so expensive!

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  46. I have wanted to try these classes for variety but the cost is something that I don't really like. The detail you provided between the two was great because I have seen them and wondered what was the difference between the two. I think it is great that the instructors remember people's names to help with form but I love loud music to get me going.

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  47. Love your comparison. I'm definitely obsessed with Pure Barre, and thought it was interesting what you said about the instructors at Pure Barre. They definitely know our names and correct us, so it seems much more like your experience with Barre Method. Keep up the good work girl! :) xo

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  48. You know I love all talk Barre no matter what the make model year ;-) I think it all really depends on studio by studio. Even within PB the studios vary by the instructors etc. My Method studio is like in the worst location (by the mall) so the traffic is atrocious. I tried it once and went back to PB. I'm glad you love Barre and are seeing results! I just love how low impact it is!

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  49. Such a great post! I've been taking classes at Pure Barre and have wondered what other studios are like... thanks for this post! xo

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  50. I'm a Bar Method girl so i'm so glad to hear that you loved it. I tried the Dailey Method once and it was absolutely awful! So awful that I only went to 2 classes out of my one month trial. Bar Method is the best and I love the results and never get tired of the routine :)

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  51. Great review! We just got a Pure Barre and I'm so excited to try it post baby! It's our first and only barre studio so I'm excited to give this technique a try.

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  52. Thank you SO much for writing this review. I was a ballet dancer for a pretty large part of my life (and I miss it like crazy) so I've been wanting to try barre for so long. I never felt stronger in my body than when I was dancing and was certainly never more flexible or able to move. I have both studios local to me as well as another studio and want to give all three a try, but they're definitely too much $$$ for me to experiment with single classes for too long. This review helps a ton, thanks!!

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  53. love this comparison! i didn't even know there were 2! thanks for doing all the hard work--literally--for us!

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  54. I've been waiting for this post. I haven't tried Barre Method yet but I did Pure Barre when I originally lived in Dallas. There were certain instructors that I LOVED and made it easy to jump out of bed for a 6:00am class and there were certain instructors that I just didn't like their style of teaching. I love that you love barre so much and that you are seeing results!
    ~Elise @ highheelsglitteringeyes.blogspot.com

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  55. I love love love barre and got so lucky that they started offering it at my gym as part of the membership. I have taken classes at a place called Barre Evolution here too and I really enjoyed it...but the cost is hard to keep up with. So I normally just take the classes a few times a week at my gym in addition to my strength-training schedule. I'd love to become a certified Barre instructor. We do have a Pure Barre, but no Bar Method. I am glad you are getting into barre though - it really does amazing things for your body!

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  56. Wow girl, this was such a great post! I've been wanting to try one of these places, and I think Bar Method is the best option. Thank you so much, love all of the information you gave us!

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