When choreographer Carrie Rezabek opened her first Pure Barre studio in 2001, in a Michigan office building, she had no clients, signage or even a bathroom.
Luckily, as her total-body workout--based on the principles of ballet, Pilates and weight training--amassed a cult-like following, she upgraded to better digs, opening studios in cities nationwide and launching a comprehensive DVD line for working out anywhere.
Pure Barre's 55-minute classes tone arms, thighs, abs and rears by focusing on small, isometric movements that help build a long, lean, dancer-like body.
Plus, since there's no jumping or bouncing, the Pure Barre routine is great for postpartum women (they offer a special "new mom" package) or those with joint problems.
Here are some moves to get you started:
Arms: Sit on a yoga mat with your knees bent, hands by your hips. Lift your butt and extend one leg toward the ceiling. Bend and straighten elbows in small dipping motions.
Thighs: While standing with lifted heels together and toes apart, hold onto a counter. Bend your knees, dropping your butt towards knee-level while keeping your chest lifted. Move up and down a few inches, slowly.
Abdomen: Sit on your mat with knees bent, arms under your thighs. Roll back until your waistband hits the mat, release your legs and extend your arms out. Lower and lift your upper body several inches.