If Barbie and American Apparel had a lovechild, it would be Pop Physique. Pop (as I affectionately refer to it as of right now) is a barre studio chain originally from LA that’s made its way to the east coast in recent years. If you visit the website, the LA feel is very apparent, as their main imagery is toned girls’ asses in different colored underwear. The studio takes a girlier, dancey-er approach to barre, but they still deliver a solid toning workout.
Pop Physique probably has the cutest fitness studio in NYC. Upon entering the waiting area, you’ll be greeted with a large neon sign that says “J’Adore Barre” (same). The girly, neon theme carries over to the apparel they sell (stock up on barre socks here!), the fishnet wallpaper, and even the bright pink exercise ball and weights used. The NYC studio has two classrooms, lockers, and changing areas, but no showers–be forewarned.
My instructor was Elyse, who I’ve had before, and I’m lowkey obsessed with her. As a former barre instructor, I can be hypercritical of teachers, but her cueing was amazing; she taught the class effortlessly. She also went around the room and gave lots of hands-on adjustments.
Pop Physique isn’t a workout (or even a barre class, for that matter) where you’ll break a huge sweat, but if you’re doing it correctly, you’ll feel the burn and be sore the next day. The studio focuses on high rep/low weight more than many other barre studios–I initially laughed at the two-pound hot pink weights, but by the end of the shoulder series, I had to take a break! The format of class is pretty typical for barre: brief warm-up, arms (broken into different muscle groups), stretch at the barre, thighs, glutes, abs (under the barre and in the center of the room). I will note, though, that this definitely isn’t the hardest barre class in NYC. I found myself wishing for more at different parts of class–nobody encouraged full-form pushups, and thigh and glute exercises could’ve gone on longer to really fatigue the different muscle groups. I wouldn’t recommend relying on this class as your sole workout unless you only eat kale. However, it was still a fun class, a good burn, and I’ll even excuse the studio from using the cringeworthy phrase “squeeze your cheeks!” throughout class. I can’t wait to go back.
As noted, everything about this place feels like it’s straight out of an American Apparel catalog, so expect the same from the clientele – messy hair, thick, nerdy glasses, and an overall “I tried hard to look like I’m not trying hard” look.
Drop in classes are $32, but literally don’t ever pay this rate. I get so many emails from Pop Physique with various class discounts, so be sure to sign up for their email list and keep your eyes peeled for deals.