You could have two cups of the strongest f*cking coffee in the world, but they’d be in vain, because if we had to guess, you’ll still walk out of PopPhysique yawning. In our experience, there are some workouts that just make us feel alive, a reminder that this whole exercise thing is actually worth it. Yeah, they leave us exhausted, winded, and maybe all too aware of our inferior strength; but also energized and exhilarated. PopPhysique is not one of those workouts.

Done right, we’ve found that barre, in all its isometric glory (think muscle tensing and squeezing, tiny one-inch movements, and static holds), can be effective as hell (read: turns sitting/standing the next day into major feat). But the PopPhysique experience was just so blasé. Equipment at the studio was standard barre fare; we took our cue from someone else in the room setting up, since it didn’t seem like we were going to get direction elsewhere. Neither our instructor nor our compadre at the front desk asked if we were new to PopPhysique, or if we had taken a barre class before. While we’re on the subject of silence and omission, turns out we selected a mat that placed us front and center for the first 10 minutes of the workout; as fresh meat, a heads up there would have been much appreciated.

And so, without introduction or further ado, our instructor took us through a quick arms section, kicking things off with a shoulder sequence, which we initially confused with the warm up. Turns out, there was no warm up at all, or shoulder burn for that matter. Triceps and biceps followed; our arms melted into JELLO in FourFiveSeconds on the former, but the bicep exercises didn’t make much of a dent. After a quick arm stretch, we massacred our thighs next. Shout out to that mother f*cker of a rubber ball; interesting that we were the ones squeezing the sh*t out of you, and yet you somehow managed to inflict that much pain on us. This was our favorite part of the class, since we were actually doing these exercises right (we think) and we could feel the results right away. Seat (why can’t they just say ass?) and core were last, both of which were fine, but unmemorable.

All in all, while there were certain moments that clicked during the workout (holy triceps and legs), we felt confused throughout a lot of the class (What is this exercise supposed to look like? Is our rendition even remotely correctly?), and at times like there wasn’t a ton of rhyme or reason to what we were doing. Maybe improved explanations and more appropriately calibrated expectations would have made all the difference, but that’s just not the PopPhysique situation we experienced.

Gonna Cost You
Classes are $32 a pop (sorry), and require no-slip socks. BYO and avoid finding yourself beholden to purchase on the spot for $12. Water is available for $2, too.

Instructor Vibe
Our instructor was nice; she remembered our names, shouting (well, more like softly speaking) personal encouragement from time to time. That said, we sort of feel like a great instructor should explain, guide and demonstrate in a way that preempts confusion and assures us that there’s a path for the workout, which was not accomplished here.

Studio Sitch
If you can make your way up to PopPhysique (take the stairs; we waited in the elevator for a good 2 minutes before deciding it didn’t work, and maybe never did), there are two studios for class, in addition to two restrooms and two changing rooms.