WHY THE BAR METHOD CREATES MUSCLES THAT ARE SUPREMELY FIRM, LEAN AND SHAPELY

Touch a Bar Method student’s thighs.  You’ll feel hard, lean muscle, harder and leaner than in the legs of runners, spinners and weight lifters. How does the Bar Method produce this high degree of muscle density?  And what does muscle density have to do with being lean in the first place?

Strengthening exercise stimulates the muscle fibers that are specialized for power.  They’re called “fast-twitch” fibers, and all your muscles have them.  When “fast-twitch” or power fibers are challenged, they “hypertrophy”, or get larger.   That’s why strengthening exercises like lifting weights make you look “cut”

Endurance training on the other hand actually causes your muscles to lose mass and become weaker.  Let’s take a quick look at how this happens:

All your muscular-skeletal muscles have not only “fast-twitch” but also “slow-twitch” fibers, which are specialized for endurance.  When you walk on a treadmill, these fibers don’t change in shape, though they do grow a bit in number.  That’s why aerobics doesn’t make you look “cut”.  In fact, doing just aerobics causes your endurance fibers to take over more of your muscles, pushing the strength fibers aside.  The result is that you actually end up weaker.  Picture the vast rows of health club members walking on treadmills in front of built-in TVs.   It’s precisely this kind of medium-intensity aerobic exercise that’s best at leeching the strength and tone out of arms, glutes and abs.

This muscle shrinkage explains why such activities as running, spinning and biking can actually cause you to lose muscle density, diminishing your muscle tone.  (Conversely, your endurance type muscle fibers don’t shrink when you do strength training because you use all type of muscle fibers for tasks requiring strength.)  Even when you mix endurance training with strength training, your muscles will not end up quite as firm as they would if you did just strength training.  First time Bar Method students often shake during the thigh work, but it’s the runners who typically shake the most.

Fortunately, there’s an exercise technique that gives you maximum muscle toning plus greater stamina: Intense strength work performed in short sets using multiple muscle groups.  Routines that follow this pattern get all three types of muscle fiber going and give the best functional results.  The New York Times, in an article by Gina Kolata on May 16, 2006, reported that muscle mass increases most efficiently when athletes “train very hard in brief spurts.” Read about other studies that spotlight the benefits of interval training.

On the other hand, if you limit yourself to strength training at moderate intensity using just one part of your body, you’ll get firmer muscles but you won’t get the best results when it comes to strength and performance.  Those huge bodies on the covers of magazines may look formidable.  But the leaner, slimmer guys on the athletic playing field have the greater overall strength, power and speed.

The Bar Method meets these scientific standards both for peak performance and visually pleasing aesthetics.  Its potent recipe — short, intense strength sets that recruit multiple muscle groups followed by short, intense stretches -creates bodies that are simply not possible to reproduce in a weight room or on a tread mill.

But does the Bar Method, therefore, “bulk up” your muscles?  Not at all.  The groaning curls and crunches of bodybuilders in no way resemble the Bar Method’s quicker, more graceful strength techniques.  Bar Method trained muscles firm enough to sit higher on their underlying bones, while packing in enough endurance-readiness to keep a slim profile. To find out more about The Bar Method, click here to sample its exercise dvds.

43 replies
  1. Sherry Mouser
    Sherry Mouser says:

    I’m ready for lean and shapely… just received the new Bar Method dvd set. I’m jazzed that I can do the workout at home, since I live in the boonies and am not near a studio.

    Reply
  2. Terrie
    Terrie says:

    I have just started doing the Bar Method workout and my lower back(around my tailbone) is very sore. I must be doiing something wrong. Any suggestions?

    Reply
  3. Mimi Fleischman
    Mimi Fleischman says:

    Hi Terrie,
    Tell your teacher before your next workout. Make sure that your back is all the way up against the wall in flat back. You can keep your knees slightly bent if it is easier to hold the position that way. Use foam for now in curl and have your teacher help you position it.
    Best, Mimi
    Mimi Fleischman, Director
    Bar Method L.A.

    Reply
  4. Cathy Sutton
    Cathy Sutton says:

    I don’t live near a studio, but have been using the new DVD set for about 2 weeks, and really like it!

    One question I have is about breathing: when you are doing the short, sharp, frequent exhaling, are you inhaling for each exhale, or are you taking a BIG inhale, then letting it out in little breaths? Or more generally, can you explain the Bar Method way of breathing?

    Reply
  5. Mimi Fleischman
    Mimi Fleischman says:

    Hi Cathy,

    The key is to get into a rhythm. So don’t think too much about exactly how to do it. Find a way that feels comfortable. I would say little in and out breaths are easier than the other way you described.

    Glad you’re enjoying the workout!

    Bsst,

    Mimi

    Mimi Fleischman,

    Bar Method L.A.

    Reply
  6. Lily Hopp
    Lily Hopp says:

    Do you have any idea if a studio is suppose to open in cleveland/medina area in ohio? That would be great!

    Reply
  7. Mimi Fleischman
    Mimi Fleischman says:

    Hi Lily,
    Unfortunately, we don’t have anything in the works for your area at this time.
    Best,
    Mimi
    Mimi Fleischman, Director
    Bar Method L.a.

    Reply
  8. Mollie
    Mollie says:

    how often should you do the bar method for optmal results? Is doing it everyday overworking the muscles? I have the dvd’s. Thanks.

    Reply
  9. Kerry
    Kerry says:

    I have been doing the bar method in a studio 4 times/wk for the past 3 weeks. I love it!!!! I feel myself getting stronger, but the only problem is my clothes are feeling tighter. My friend who has been doing this for years said this is common to “bulk up” at the beginning, but will get better soon and to not be discouraged. But I can’t help myself…My ideal weight is 123 and I weighed myself today and I’m 131!!! Is this normal???

    Reply
  10. Mimi Fleischman
    Mimi Fleischman says:

    When you first start doing The Bar Method, your muscles will lift up and seem to be fuller. Because muscles are mostly composed of water, yours will absorb water as they become more active.

    Then, as your muscles become denser, over a period of three-to-five months, they will also become more compact.

    So if you’re going through the initial strengthening stage have faith! A few more months of classes will compactly knit your muscles around their underlying bones, and the inter-muscular fat will burn away, revealing a new, trimmed down shape.

    Reply
  11. Tara Bowden
    Tara Bowden says:

    Hi I would love to buy the dvd but I live in Australia. Do you know who can ship here? I saw some dvds on amazon but they were different to those on your website.
    Thanks, Tara.

    Reply
  12. chris
    chris says:

    Hi,

    I am so addicted to the bar method started in june and have been going 4-5x a week. I know it takes time for more dramatic results but will it also diminish cellulite?

    Reply
  13. Mimi Fleischman
    Mimi Fleischman says:

    Hi Chris,
    Burr says, “Cellulite is caused partially by a genetic tendency towards loose skin and partially by fat deposits over the muscle. The Bar Method can reduce the fat deposits and tighten the muscle, thereby improving the appearance of the effected area. It cannot however tighten the skin over the muscle. So The Bar Method will help but is not guaranteed to completely eliminate cellulite.”

    Thanks for your question!

    Best,
    Mimi

    Mimi Fleischman,
    Director
    Bar Method LA

    Reply
  14. John
    John says:

    What results can a male expect to get from the Bar Method? I don’t need to loose any weight, but want to focus on getting more muscle in my legs/butt region…would the bar method be ideal for this?

    Reply
  15. Mimi Fleischman
    Mimi Fleischman says:

    Bur says that men definitely get the body sculpting effects of Bar Method not only in their arms and checks but also in their legs and butt.

    Reply
  16. Jo
    Jo says:

    Hi. I’d love to buy the DVDs of the bar method. Is there much difference between the DVDs released in 2003 and the ones released in 2008? Which would you recommend?

    Reply
  17. Mimi Fleischman
    Mimi Fleischman says:

    Hi Jo,
    Burr says,
    “The new Bar Method dvds are more intense and so they burn fat as well as tone muscle, thereby creating quicker results. Also the new dvds offer the updated, more effective Bar Method technique.”
    Have fun with the DVDs!
    Best, MImi
    Mimi Fleischman, Director
    Bar Method LA

    Reply
  18. Brittany
    Brittany says:

    Hi there,

    The bar method sounds really wonderful; but unfortunately I live in Australia and there obviously aren’t any studios for it here. So do you guys sell DVD’s online? Amazon and ebay don’t have any..there all different companies and brands. Please help me out! Thanks,

    Brittany.

    Also, I go jogging and cycling…what one is generally better for fat burn?

    Reply
  19. Steph
    Steph says:

    This sounds like a very effective workout, my concern is, I like my curves and don’t want to lose them. Some comments I’ve seen on other sites say “your butt disappears”. I rather like my bum and don’t want it to disappear. I actually would like it to remain full, just want to tighten it up, not lose it!! Will this workout really eliminate the bum? Also, where can I buy these locally, at a store?

    Reply
  20. amber
    amber says:

    wanting to buy the dvds, but never really been a dvd exercise fan. Am i going to get the same results as if i was attending the classes? Live in Oklahoma and we are last get anything cool, so we have no classes here:)

    Reply
  21. Dave
    Dave says:

    Hi,

    Any plans on opening a studio in Portland, OR area (Lake Oswego)? Not necessarily for me directly, but there are many women looking to do something on the few rainy days we have.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  22. Evelyn
    Evelyn says:

    I want to buy the DVDs but do I need to buy a bar or can I supplement with something else? Is there a DVD set with a home-use bar together?

    Reply
  23. Mimi Fleischman
    Mimi Fleischman says:

    Hi Andrea,
    Unfortunately we don’t have any studios near you yet. Hope to be there at some point!
    Best, Mimi

    Reply
  24. Mimi Fleischman
    Mimi Fleischman says:

    Hi Carey,
    I think Podcasts are a great idea although we are not there yet. Burr is producing new DVD’s this spring, so look for them soon.
    Best, Mimi

    Reply
  25. OLGA STANKUS
    OLGA STANKUS says:

    Unfortunately I do not live near any studio in the Chicago area, however I made a special trip to attend a class and get the feel; I wish I could go on a daily basis, I loved it ! I have been doing the DVD’S for one year consistently and I have seen very good results not only in my body, but
    my mood and hormonal issues.
    I am so pleased to hear that Burr will realease new DVD’S this spring; any defenite date? I can’t wait ! I’m sure there are a lot of ladies out there , that feel the same way !

    Thank you !
    Olga

    Reply
  26. Mimi Fleischman
    Mimi Fleischman says:

    Hi Olga,
    Burr is shooting her new DVDs in July so it will probably be early Fall before they come out. So glad you are enjoying the workout!
    Best, Mimi

    Reply
  27. Wanda Dubnic
    Wanda Dubnic says:

    I purchased the DVD’s. How often should I work out? Should I work out every other day and or everyday etc.?

    Reply
  28. Mimi Fleischman
    Mimi Fleischman says:

    Hi Wanda,
    Do the workout at least 3 times a week. You can do it more if you have time up to 6 times a week. Let us know what your results are after the first month!
    Best, Mimi

    Reply
  29. sandy
    sandy says:

    Hi my name is Sandy and I live in Medina Ohio. I had just bought these taps about a month ago ( 5-4-10) I LOVE these dvds!! When will I see a change????

    Reply
  30. Jackie
    Jackie says:

    A couple of questions: 1)When doing the abs exercise, is it better to keep holding on to the curled position with my arms if my abs seem to pop up a bit when I let go of my legs? I’m still able to pull them in a bit with each breath but my abs are definitely not as flat and concave as I’d like them to be.I want to do what is most effective to achieve flat abs. 2)I’ve grown up having a prominent rib cage, will these exercises help? Also will these stretches help smoothe out those little muscular bulges that show on the lower lateral edges of the abdomen when you regularly exercise.

    Reply
  31. Mimi Fleischman
    Mimi Fleischman says:

    Hi Jackie,
    Good questions!
    Don’t let your abs pop out, even a little. Just keep on holding on until your abs get strong enough to stay flat as you release your arms.
    Stretching actually stretches the muscles in your body and lengthens them so stretching will make your muscles look smoother and longer. The cobra for instance is a wonderful stretch for the abdomen. I am not sure that the workout will affect how your rib cage looks. Let us know!
    Best, Mimi

    Reply
  32. Mimi Fleischman
    Mimi Fleischman says:

    Hi Sandy,
    Sorry for the delay in answering. Most people begin to see changes within one month if they are doing the class at least 3 times a week. If you can do it more, the changes come faster. Four times a week is a great goal to set!
    Let us know how you’re doing!
    Best, Mimi

    Reply
  33. Tracy
    Tracy says:

    Is it okay to do 2 days in a row of BM, one day of yoga, then another 2 days in a row of BM, then two days off? In other words, Mon. & Tues.-BM, Wed.-Yoga, Thurs. & Fri.-BM and then Sat. & Sun. off. Or is it not a good idea to have 2 days in a row off? Thanks, Tracy

    Reply
  34. Mimi Fleischman
    Mimi Fleischman says:

    Hi Tracy,
    As long as you do Bar Method at least 3 times a week, you’ll get good results. We recommend 3 to 5 times a week in any sequence.
    Best,
    Mimi

    Reply
  35. Jill
    Jill says:

    Hi – I just ordered the Dancer’s Body and Advanced DVD (no studio’s near me, unfortunately). I am 30 y/o and gained about 10 pounds since July. I noticed it mainly in my thighs because my jeans that normally weren’t tight are now tight there. I was running for awhile, but stopped about 3 weeks ago. I am absolutely petrified that doing these DVD’s will make my thighs bigger and also cause weight gain. Does everyone bulk up first and then lose weight/tighten? Is there a way to forego the bulky stage? I have been reading many online reviews and I’m confused even more! Thanks in advance for your help. I’m looking forward to changing my body!

    Reply
  36. Bar Method Headquarters
    Bar Method Headquarters says:

    @Jill Not everyone will bulk up when beginning The Bar Method exercises. Mostly this occurs when new muscles are being used and the muscle fibers grow and become more firm. Burr has written a few blogs on this subject that may help to answer your question. Check out this link: http://bit.ly/a3u5jr.

    Something else to strongly consider is that weight gain occurs when you are consuming more calories than you are expelling. If you are concerned that you will bulk up be mindful of the amount of calories you are eating throughout your day. The quality of your calorie intake is also important. It may be helpful to take a look at the Glycemic Index (http://www.glycemicindex.com/) and ensure that you are mostly consuming foods that have a low glycemic value.

    -Bar Method Headquarters

    Reply

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