Your heart starts beating stronger as you alternate bent-knee lifts. Quickly, then, you’re on the carpeted floor holding a high push-up position for what seems like forever, but oh, wait, here come the actual push-ups followed by more than a few variations on sit-ups. Your breath quickens, you start to sweat, your muscles begin to tremble—and this is just the first five minutes.
This is Pure Barre, an exercise so effective, intense, and wildly popular, it’s billed as not just a workout, but a lifestyle. Started by former dancer Carrie Dorr in 2001 in Michigan, Pure Barre incorporates elements of Pilates, yoga, and ballet with small isometric movements.
Lauren Wilson moved to Greenville from Charlotte, North Carolina, to open the first Pure Barre in the Upstate in 2012, and now has two locations on Augusta Road and Pelham Road. Greenville’s Flavia Harton opened the first Pure Barre studio in Asheville, North Carolina, last year. (There are more than 200 studios across the country—including one across the street from the headquarters, which are in Spartanburg.) The notion, however, of this being a workout for only the lithe and diminutive Black Swan–types isn’t one held by the studios or the owners who run them.