116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Maybe you haven’t worked out since before COVID — or in, well, never. Or perhaps you’re looking to add a new way to strengthen and tone without building bulk. Pure Barre might be the low-impact workout you’ve been searching for.
The small, controlled movements are barely visible to anyone watching, but your body will feel every second. You’ll sweat and feel the burn even though you’re not hopping up and down or lifting heavy weights. How do I know? I tried it.
“The thing that really attracts people is that it’s all low-impact; it’s a very small movement. So, it’s low-impact, high-intensity,” said Becky Reddick, owner of the new fitness studio in Cedar Rapids.
“They will walk out of the studio and say, ‘Wow, that was intense, but I loved it,’” Reddick said. “They’re sweating, but they’re smiling when they’re coming out.”
What: Pure Barre
Where: 5300 Fountains Drive NE, Suite 112, Cedar Rapids
Contact: (319) 383-7234; purebarre.com/location/cedar-rapids-ia
Details: Classes are held seven days a week. Wear pants, leggings or capri pants (not shorts) and a workout T-shirt or tank top. You’ll need socks that grip. Bring a water bottle.
Reddick brought the Pure Barre experience to Cedar Rapids and opened her studio on July 12. Now, highly trained instructors offer classes for all fitness levels, seven days a week.
“The other thing about Pure Barre is that it’s not just the fitness, but it’s really about forming a community with your members,” Reddick said. “One of the things that I’m really trying to do is provide a holistic approach to health, not just the fitness.”
The word “barre” might make you think of ballet’s pliés, and feet splayed in awkward positions. But barre exercise, while inspired by ballet, also includes elements of Pilates and yoga set to high-tempo music.
You may use resistance bands, hand weights or exercise balls and, of course, the barre. That’s the horizontal bar attached to the wall along most sides of the classrooms. It’s great for assisting with balance during specific exercises.
Every workout is different but follows a pattern, Reddick said.
“You’re going to do your warmup. You’re going to do four thighs, three seats … but the exercises you’re doing for each body part is going to be different,” Reddick explained.
Teachers trained in the Pure Barre method choose the exercise combinations and music.
“Their classes have to be different. A lot of our members come five days a week. They don’t want to do the same class because it’s boring. And your body gets used to that same thing, so you don’t get the results,” Reddick said.
Members of Pure Barre talk about the shake. That’s what happens when you work your muscles in a new way, then hold and contract in that position. The longer you hold the position, the more active your muscles will jerk and move.
And it doesn’t matter how fit you are. Shaking is just your body telling you it’s doing something new, “especially when you’re working your seat and your thighs,” Reddick said.
But don’t worry about overdoing it. There are modifications to almost every exercise. If you’ve got an issue with a knee, you can talk to the instructor before class, and they can give you modifications for that exercise, she said.
“The teacher, she doesn’t just stand up in front, and you’re mimicking her. She’s moving throughout the class to make sure you’re doing it accurately to make sure you’re doing it with the correct form, so you’re not going to injure yourself. You’re getting the best workout you can,” Reddick said.
Sorry if you’re used to being yelled at your entire workout, but you won’t be getting that at Pure Barre. Instead, the teacher talks the class through which exercise to do or hold — without screaming over too-loud music common at some gyms.
Instructions are essential for the mind-body connection: you’re not just moving your body but also contracting your muscles to work the correct muscle.
“We offer everybody a free class, and it’s called the Foundations Class,” Reddick said.
Most members start at Pure Barre with this free 50-minute, small group intro class. An instructor begins by talking to you for about 10 minutes to explain the terms and exercises. Then, you’ll go through a shortened workout. Afterward the instructor will discuss classes and membership.
Although men are welcome, most participants are women. Members include those with a very wide range of fitness levels, including the extremely fit.
“But interestingly enough, some of those who are very fit, if they’ve never done it before, they are also amazed at how … they can feel it. They are surprised at the results,” Reddick said.
“Some of the hardest working members are the ones that you’d be surprised that they are even here, but they do awesome.”
Tall and lean, Reddick looks like she’s been doing yoga, Pilates and attending spin class every day of her life. But she admits to not being consistent with working out before Pure Barre. She liked the workout the first time she tried it.
“You don’t know really know that you’re doing as much as you’re doing while you’re doing it. It is addicting,” Reddick said.
Why Pure Barre?
Reddick wasn’t looking for a new workout when she discovered Pure Barre. Instead, she was searching for a business opportunity to start during her retirement. She wanted to bring something new to Cedar Rapids.
About six years ago, she was shopping with her daughter in Chicago when she noticed Pure Barre studios everywhere. She was intrigued, did her research, then started to fill out a franchise application.
There are more than 500 Pure Barre studios across the country. Reddick sought out an absentee owner franchisee to ask about how owning a studio might blend with working elsewhere full-time.
That franchisee told her it would be difficult, that Reddick would need to take off at least a month from work for the studio opening. Working an executive position at Transamerica made taking that much time off impossible. Then her son, Mike Hobart, who was going to be the general manager, was deployed with the National Guard, so he wouldn’t be around to run the studio. So Reddick delayed moving forward until she was closer to retirement.
She signed a franchise agreement in 2020 and then COVID-19 hit and everything shut down. Pure Barre worked with her as she slowly navigated finding a site and training staff.
Now she loves being in the studio so much that her children have to urge her to go do something else.
Reddick’s loves the community they are creating.
“We welcome everybody and anybody. Those that aren’t as fit as somebody else are the ones that I admire — because they’re here, and it’s not easy,” Redick said. “If you’re out of shape, it’s not easy to walk into a gym. Going into what I call a big box gym, it’s very intimidating.”
Members at Pure Barre are encouraging, not competitive.
“We want a community. We want people to make friends. We want them to look forward to coming here, not just for the workout but to see their friends. That’s what makes it so much fun,” Reddick said.
During a free 50-minute Foundations Class you’ll be introduced to terms used during Pure Barre classes. Don’t worry about memorizing the terms because class teachers walk around and help members with their form.
Tuck: A movement that involves contracting the abs back causing the hips to rotate forward to elongate the spine.
Heavy tailbone: A position that is held by engaging the core and bringing the spine to neutral, creating a straight line from the head to the tailbone.
Hold: A movement held in its deepest, tightest, lowest position to achieve isometric contraction. May be used with downhold, lifthold, squeezehold, circlehold, etc.
Bend stretch: A tiny quiver in the joint followed immediately by an extension and contraction of the muscle being worked.
Pulse — A downward movement from the lowest point, to the Pure Barre tempo of the music.
Down-an-inch-up-an-inch: A one inch range of movement in a slow, controlled motion. Slightly larger than a pulse, smaller than a full range of motion.
Pressback: Typically refers to a movement of the knees backward while keeping a heavy tailbone position. The two motions create the opposing forces at work to lean and tone the muscles.
Low-impact: A low impact exercise is one that keeps at least one of your feet on the ground at all times.
LTB: Shortened version lift, tone, burn.
Bend Stretch: A tiny quiver in the joint followed immediately by an extension and contraction of the muscle being worked.