People are obsessed with Lori Laub’s barre classes


Lori Laub's LL Country Barre classes in North Salem have gained a cult-like following. Photo by Benjamin Allen, HudValley Photo

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“I don’t think of it as a luxury; it’s a necessity.”

“I was never really a workout person.”

“People will stop me and say, ‘your arms look amazing!’”

“It's become a part of my life that I cherish and time that I protect.”

Talk to just about any one of Lori Laub’s barre clients and you’ll hear it in their voice. They’re hooked. Laub’s LL Country Barre classes, which incorporate elements of pilates, yoga, strength training and stretching, are designed to make anyone, of any ability, stronger–both physically and mentally. While at first glance a barre class may seem like one of any number of exercise classes favored by women who want to tone up, slim down or drop pounds, Laub says her classes are about far more than that.

Lori Laub instructs a Sunday morning barre class. (Benjamin Allen / HudValley Photo)

“My clients get hooked on and addicted to my classes because my love of teaching this method truly comes through,” Laub said. “I have an effect on them that makes them feel powerful and lifted. They yearn for that ‘high’ again and again.”

Jan Epstein, 52, was never an active person by nature. “I’ve always tried, but I never really took to anything,” she said. “Until this.” Epstein cited Laub’s disposition and encouraging nature as the thing that keeps her going. “It’s almost like having a personal trainer right there. She pays close attention to every single person in the room. She’s not just going through the workouts.”

Epstein has been taking classes with Laub for about two years. The gains were incremental – soreness here, a note of definition there– until one day a small thing caught her attention. At the hockey games she frequently attended with her husband, she noticed that she no longer required a hand to hold onto as she climbed over the bleachers.

“I could just step right over,” she recalled. “My strength had really improved.”

Photo by Benjamin Allen, HudValley Photo

North Salem resident Caitlin Grady, echoed Epstein’s observation. “Lori cares deeply about her ‘barre girls’ inside and outside of the studio,” Grady said. “She inquires about the lives of her regulars and their families and she’s a present and encouraging force all of the time, not just in class.”

Grady’s barre journey began one year ago. She had transitioned to a work from home life during the pandemic, a major shift after spending years commuting to and from Manhattan every day for a demanding job. Without a long commute, she had more time in the day to take a break for herself. Grady has now made Laub’s classes a central part of her week, attending both group and private sessions. “I feel lifted up by Lori, encouraged and supported,” Grady said. “I’m much stronger than I was a year ago. I’m really grateful to Lori for that.”

Photo by Benjamin Allen, HudValley Photo

In the eight months since Wendy Meyer, a boutique manager, began attending Laub’s classes, she has already experienced a dramatic breakthrough. She regained full range of motion in a shoulder that previously was in line for surgery. “I had a slight tear in my rotator cuff and did not have range of motion,” Meyer explained. “I couldn’t put a seat belt on, couldn’t hold a hair dryer. During the pandemic, I couldn’t have surgery, so I decided to put it off.”

Fast forward to now and the three barre classes Meyer has been taking each week have helped to restore full range of motion to Meyer’s shoulder.

“Doing the weights the way that Lori does it,” Meyer said, referring to the light hand weights used throughout class, at high levels of repetition and often with an extended hold, “I still get the weight-bearing exercises without hurting myself.”

But probably the most fun reward for Meyer has come from her adult children. “They say, ‘Mom, look at you!’ They’re doing arm wrestles with me now. I’m strong!”

Photo by Benjamin Allen, HudValley Photo

Laub maintains that her method of barre truly is the fountain of youth. “It’s a lifetime method that you can practice and take with you your entire life,” she said.

Added Grady, “Lori has changed my life in one year.”

LL Country Barre classes are held Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9:30 a.m. at Union Hall in North Salem. Laub is also hosting a special “Barre for Breast Cancer” class on Thursday, October 27 at 11 AM at the Wolford Boutique in Greenwich, CT. To RSVP, text (203) 904-3468

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