The barre class at Pop Physique is a deceptive little workout


If you take workout classes, you’ve surely heard about those using a ballet barre. Having never taken dance of any kind, I was uncertain; surely everyone else would have perfectly turned out, pointed feet and terrific balance? But barre is everywhere, and not everyone is ballet-ready. The class I took at Pop Physique in Highland Park was a good workout and good fun.

Pop Physique, a chain founded in L.A. by Jennifer Williams, a ballet dancer and Pilates teacher, and her husband, is meant to help you get long, lean lines using dance techniques.

Pop Physique, 5709 N. Figueroa St., a block from the Gold Line, and other locations.


Aura: The room is sunny and long, with barres at two heights (so you can lift your leg onto one of them) along both lengths and a mirror on one wall. For me, the music was too loud and a little distracting, but perhaps if you know the routines you’re not as concerned with hearing the teacher’s directions. Sixteen women took the class I was in, mostly young but with a range of fitness levels.

Effort: How could it be so hard to work with 1- or 2-pound hand weights? There are plenty of exercises that just ask for a little move or a little weight but, done properly, really let you know you’re working your muscles. I appreciated the brief stretches interspersed throughout the class. And the teacher, Andrew Pearson, counted down, never starting with a number higher than eight, so you always felt you could push through.

Style: Pop Physique sits far from the likes of CrossFit on the fitness continuum. The low-impact workout, using weights, a ball and the ballet barre, is intended to fatigue a muscle with small moves, provide a short rest or stretch and move on. And the classes are reliably similar at all the locations. A particular Sculpt class might have some exercise variations, but the overall workout is the same.

Cost: $20 for a class, with packages available, including a new-client offer of a month of unlimited classes for $100. Students wear those grippy socks, which are sold at the studio if you don’t bring them.

If you have suggestions for classes, please let me know by email,, or on Twitter, @mmacvean