I have enjoyed taking Flywheel spin classes and was excited to get the opportunity to try Flybarre classes, which started at the Back Bay location in February 2015. I was given a 5-pack of classes in exchange for my review. I have taken a lot of classes at other barre studios (Exhale, Bar Method, and Pure Barre) so I was curious how Flybarre would compare in intensity and style. I was also excited to try it as a pregnancy workout because it’s a good way to keep up strength in a low-impact, modifiable way.
Photo Credits: Flywheel
After I made my first reservation, I received an email with the following information. This is helpful for getting familiar with the studio and making sure that everything goes smoothly.
I also saw that there are sitters available via a recent e-newsletter. This would be great for attending class as a new mom!
Each class has 18 spots that are bookable starting on Sundays for the following week. You can reserve via boston.flywheelsports.com or via the app. Classes start as early as 5:30 a.m. or as late as 7:30 p.m. Some times are convenient for scheduling a doubleheader (Flywheel + Flybarre). There are 45 and 60 minute options. The instructor location and barre heights (34” and 35” are specified). There is a 32” barre as well, but that is located near the instructor mat. I thought I would need the 32” barre but found that the 34” was just fine. At Bar Method I sometimes had to sit on a riser and in Pure Barre I sometimes had to stick a ball under the barre to be able to reach it during round back.
At the Studio
Upon arrival, you can check in at desk, use the computers, or use the phone app. Checkin can be hectic if there is a Flywheel class starting around the same time as your Flybarre class. The Flybarre studio is located behind the Flywheel studio. There are ample lockers (the blue ones have outlets for charging your phone or other electronics!) and two benches to sit on while waiting. There is filtered water (cold or room temperature) available, so bring your own bottle. However, there are no dedicated changing rooms so you will have to change in the bathrooms or showers. There are towels, hair ties, hair dryers, deodorant, mint, and lotion available. Sometimes there are apples or bananas available for a post-class snack.
Unlike other barre studios, you do not have to wear grippy socks because you will be standing on your mat or the hardwood floor during class. Most people wear leggings and a fitted shirt or tank. I have seen some women wearing shorts, but wouldn’t recommend it because some of the movements need more coverage.
Before class, you can collect two sets of hand weights outside the studio. The weights start at 1 lb and I think they even went up to 8 lbs. Mats are already arranged in designated barre spots that are labeled with numbers. On the barre above each spot are balls and two resistance bands (I think gray is lighter resistance than black). You do not have to put your weights away after arms or clean up the mats, balls, or bands after class–this saves a lot of time! Additionally, the mat reservation policy saves you the “get to class early to get a prime spot” time and prevents overcrowding.
I took Power 45 class with: Jennifer Garner, Stephanie Rodolico, and Azure Campbell. Instructors will usually greet each client and ask about injuries, but I got there early to talk to the instructors about pregnancy modifications. I really liked that the instructors maintain a high level of rigor in the class but always made me feel welcome. Azure was especially helpful with modifications and with checking on me during class. I felt really motivated by her and can see why she has a following at Vim Fitness (where my sister belongs). I’ve gotten a lot more sensitive to instructors who motivate their students with statements about getting bikini bodies or thinner thighs, so I appreciate the focus on developing strength and persevering through tough sequences.
The order of exercises was different than than of Exhale, Bar Method, and Pure Barre (all of which go warmup -> planks -> arms -> thighs -> seat -> round back -> flat back -> abs -> stretch). The first time I took class, this definitely kept me guessing!
- Warmup: This included side lunges, toe touches, plank sequences with leg lifts and side dips.
- Barre Abs: To do this, we lay on the mat with our feet tucked behind the barre and held onto the band that was looped around the barre. I have done a similar exercise at Exhale (as a modification of the curl). I put a ball behind my back for support.
- Seat: In all three classes, we did seat on the floor from a tabletop position. Isolated leg lifts (straight back or to the side) targeted all areas of seat. I had a really tough time with this because of lower back and hip pain. I especially struggled with “fire hydrant dog” and other exercises that also targeted the outer hips.
- Arms: This is the hardest arm sequence I have ever experienced in barre. I have no shame in admitting that I went with 1 lb weights. We used the bands wrapped around the barre for exercises like rows or shoulder raises, then moved to weights. The weight work involved a lot of focus on the shoulders. The dynamic arms sequence was less painful and actually kind of fun!
- Thighs: This was more familiar to me. It included plies on the mat (sometimes combined with arm exercises), flat back chair (OUCH), and plies with turned out feet and heels up. I had to take lots of breaks here–the order of exercises definitely fatigued my muscles fast.
- Abs: This didn’t feel as long as some other end-of-class ab sequences that I have done. Each instructor put a different spin on the exercises. Similar to barre abs, I put a ball behind my back for support.
The classes are smaller than the other classes I’ve been to. However, the hands-on corrections weren’t as frequent. The movements and transitions are quicker than other classes I’ve been too, and I felt that the workout is definitely well-designed for exhausting each muscle group. The music was great, and the instructors all kept the exercises timed to the beat and offered countdowns. Overall, Flybarre is a great addition to the Boston barre scene!
1 class $28
5 classes $125
10 classes $235
20 classes $430
Monthly (requires 3 month commitment): $220/month
Monthly + Flywheel (requires 3 month commitment): $280/month
Prudential Center (very close to the T entrance/exit and Barnes & Noble)
800 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02199
Twitter: @flybarre | Instagram: @flybarre | Facebook: Flybarre
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