Barre Benefits: Posture & Performance
June 17, 2018
Our signature technique was developed to provide a safe, challenging and graceful workout for all ages and every unique body type. In this second article in our series of posts about the benefits of barre, we identify how The Bar Method helps to improve your posture and enhance your performance in other activities and sports. Keep reading to learn more:
The way in which you stand and walk is hardwired into your body from an early age, and changing it is easier said than done. Posture plays a vital role in how you look and feel. However, in our “text-obsessed” culture, it is easily and frequently overlooked. Bar Method instructors are trained diligently to identify subtle postural changes in their students to improve alignment and muscle activation. In addition, we teach our students the value of concentrating on how you stand and move, as well as how to stabilize your body while working the muscles in your limbs. Your perception of how you stand and the reality of how you stand can be very different. Pay close attention to the cues your instructor gives you in class and notice how the small changes add up to real results.
Breathing is not something that typically needs to be learned, however, connecting to your breath to strengthen your core, elevate your focus, and embrace the burn is a learned technique that we teach at The Bar Method. Flat-back is one of those exercises we hate to love because it’s so difficult, yet the results are undeniable. Your deep breath and focus will lead to flat abs and a strong core in no time. Be patient! The other part of class where your breath will show you the way is in thigh work. You know those “breathers” in the room…well, they’re on to something. Breathing helps you stay connected to the present moment and manage the intensity of the thigh work. Your breath is more powerful than you think, and your instructor is there to help you connect to that power.
In The Bar Method we challenge the muscle endurance by getting you into the “shake zone” as often as possible by holding sustained contractions for longer periods of time before coming out to change positions or stretch. This sustained stress causes the muscle to burn through its reserves of fuel to the point of exhaustion. Once that local fuel store is almost depleted, the muscle starts relaxing and contracting at a high rate of speed to conserve the remaining energy and help you remain in positions for those last 20 or 30 reps.
As with any type of exercise, your body will adapt to the challenge if you perform these exercises consistently and your muscle endurance will improve, delaying the shake. The beauty of The Bar Method exercises is that you can always increase the challenge by dropping lower in thigh, shrinking the range of motion down in seat work, or drawing your top leg closer to the barre in round back. Improving your muscle endurance is one of the greatest benefits of the Bar Method and one that carries over into other activities allowing you to ski top to bottom at Vail without feeling your legs burn or to reach the top of Lookout Mountain on your road bike in record time.
Let it shake, make sure to breathe, and learn to let go as you push yourself mentally and physically in class. Refuse all limits and never give up!