On Wednesday, January 4, Pure Barre launched its newest class format, Pure Barre Align. It’s billed as a low-impact, full-body workout focused on flexibility and balance training. I took its inaugural class at my local studio in Raleigh.
Quick backstory: I’ve been taking Pure Barre classes since July 2011. I’ve seen how the OG Classic workout has evolved – and remained the same – over the years. I remember when Classic was 55 minutes and when they added the velcro tubes to it sometime circa 2014-2015. I remember when they branched out in 2016 with Pure Barre Platform (remember that whole confusing double-tap mess?) to compete with cardio workouts such as Soul Cycle. Both of those classes evolved into current class formats. Only level-4 teachers were able to teach the velcro straps class, so it kinda fizzled quickly before adding sliders and re-emerging as Pure Barre Reform in 2018. Platform, which also flamed out, invited wrist weights to the party and became the much better Pure Barre Empower in 2017.
I could be mistaken, but I believe Align evolved out of their stretching/restore Intensive class. Intensives are 30-60 minute classes that focus on one thing and are not a part of the weekly schedule but rather plugged into different time slots a couple of times a month. I’ve actually really enjoyed the few Intensives I’ve taken, particularly a fantastic one I took in July 2021 that was a Classic/Empower/Reform hybrid.
So, what’s the deal with Pure Barre Align? Well, if Platform/Empower was created as a cardio option and Reform for core and resistance, Align strikes me as a Pure Barre/yoga hybrid. (I know it’s probably a legal thing, but I always find it funny when Pure Barre borrows from other workout genres and tries to put their own spin on it, like we don’t know that piking our hips up to stretch is just downward dog lol.) Cheekiness aside, the first half of the class focuses more on strength and balance, including some Pure Barre-ized yoga poses (basic ones like warrior 1, tree, etc.) and gentle ab work. The second half of the class concentrated on stretching. I like yoga, especially hot yoga, but I definitely enjoyed the second half of class more than the first half. Maybe that’s because I don’t stretch as much as I should stretch and when you commit to it, stretching does feel really good. The first half of class wasn’t bad, I just liked the second half better.
The Align class I took was taught by one of my favorite instructors and she did a great job. My Apple Watch showed I burned way more calories than I expected to after a class where I didn’t break a sweat, so that was pretty neat. Overall, however, at this time, I don’t think Align will be a part of my regular Pure Barre routine. I generally buy the class packs, and since I only have a finite amount of classes I can take, I am going to stick to the classes that are more of a workout because that’s what I (personally) go to Pure Barre for. Even if I did do the 8-class per month membership, I absolutely would only use those 2 classes a week to take one of the other formats. If I had an unlimited class pack, I think I would supplement with it on a somewhat regular basis because I liked Align. But for now, I’ll stick to one of the other three class formats and save Align for when I’m really sore and need that specific type of class.
If you’ve taken Pure Barre Align, let me know what you thought!