Crash Course: Biker Barre is a boutique studio specializing in–you guessed it–spinning and barre classes. The Open Barre class is 60-minutes of ballet-inspired exercises with a heavy focus on attacking hard-to-reach areas in the glutes, abs, arms, and thighs. Props include bender balls, free weights, and mats. Music plays a large role in the class and helps set a fun environment and upbeat tempo. The workout is hard but extremely low impact. Don’t expect to sweat up a storm. While barre is difficult, and you will certainly feel it the next day (or two), this isn’t a high-intensity cardio workout. The good news? It’s effective and a great low-sweat option for workday lunch breaks or before happy hours. Click here for a full schedule of classes.
[line] [left]where? 738 7th Street SE, blue and orange line/Eastern Market metro
bring? all props provided, socks with grippers optional
perks? shower with towels and products provided, lounge with free wi-fi, drycleaning pick-up/drop-off from The Press
sweat score? 3 out of 10 [/left] [right]wear? spandex pants, comfortable top, socks optional
how much? first class free with code CLASSONUS, drop in rate is $22
instructor? Kelly H. [/right][line]
Biker Barre has a cult following, and after one class it’s easy to see why. The high-energy studio offers fun classes, a cozy and chic setting, and a “welcome to the family” community feel. The location can’t be beat either: just one block from the fun of Barracks Row and a short walk from the Eastern Market metro.
From their website:
Biker Barre is a first of its kind studio on the Hill. Offering intense, music-driven classes on bikes and at the barre, we’re bring our own breed of intense, effective workouts to our favorite neighborhood in DC.
Owner Jane Brodsky opened Biker Barre in May after closing Red Bow Studio and partnering with Katie Fouts, a cycling enthusiast who added the “biker” to Brodsky’s experience at the barre. The combo has been a hit and the studio has quickly become a go-to spot for ladies and gents from around the district.
Drop your gear off in cubbies stationed by the front desk or upstairs outside of the barre studio. Changing space is provided in the lobby or in one of the two bathrooms. There’s ample space in the lobby-turned-lounge to hang out before or after class, and free wifi makes it an ideal spot to send those last-minute emails.
For barre class, head upstairs to the second floor. There you’ll find a second set of storage cubes and a full bath complete with all the necessities. If you want to shower after class, leave your do-dads and bottles at home. Towels, shampoo/conditioner, hair dryers, straightening irons, bobby pins, etc. are all provided.
The most beautiful feature of the barre studio is a large window occupying the entire front wall of the room. Students have a great view of classic Capitol Hill row houses, trees, and blue sky as they tuck, lift, and plie their way through class. It’s a small and intimate studio, but the abundant natural light really does wonders to give the space an airy and open feel.
The 60-minutes started with a music-driven warm up of aerobic-based exercises, including marching in place, high steps, and push-ups. Because barre is low-impact, there was no jumping and all of the moves were gentle and effective.
One of my favorite parts of the class was the seamless transition between stages. Before you knew warmup was over, you had free weights in hand and your arms were burning from a series of curls and presses.
Another highlight was the music selection. In this particular class, the instructor kept the volume control in hand and worked the volume around her instructions. The music was the perfect mix of soft when you needed to hear her and blasting loud to distract you from your shaking legs and burning buns. After attacking the arms, we moved to the barre for the main event.
I’ve been to barre classes that seemed built for ballerinas only. The moves were so complex and the target muscles so obscure, it was disheartening. But consider this the goldilocks of classes. We did all of the signature dips, tucks, plies, and leg lifts without any extras. It burned without bumming you out. After the barre, we finished class with seated abs using the bender ball. If you’ve never used one, I can sum it up in one word: ouch.
After class, we were given refrigerated towels soaked in some sort of cucumber-eucalyptise solution. These could be used to wipe off faces, bodies, and mats. It was a cool and refreshing finish…if only it could extend to the burn in my abs and legs.
Kelly H. taught this particular class. She was awesome, and her likeness to Natalie Portman a la Black Swan is uncanny. She’s a former dancer who brings precision, poise, and a contagiously upbeat attitude. That’s saying something when you teach at 8 a.m. on a Saturday. Kelly’s music selection also gets an A in my book, with moves set to the likes of Cat Power and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. They delivered a strong beat without being obnoxious. All in all, it was a great class and I’ll look forward to coming back to the barre with Kelly in the future.
With such a great experience, crashing Biker Barre spin class is high on my “to-do” list!
Have you tried Biker Barre yet?[line]