The Method

Three Body Sculpting Secrets used by The Bar Method

July 31, 2009

The Bar Method is famous for quickly changing the shape and look of its clients’ bodies. Why does this exercise system excel at body sculpting?  There are three principal reasons that The Bar Method outdoes other workouts in targeted muscle creation and elongation.
1. The Bar Method’s interval training format creates a high level of intensity that boosts the metabolic rate.
The Bar Method calls on multiple muscle groups to perform each interval training thighexercise and prevents these muscles from releasing between reps, working them all the harder. The ballet bar is essential to this process.  It lets students easily balance over gravity for minutes without a break while they work their thighs, glutes, hamstrings and posture muscles. This unbroken holding forces more muscle fibers into service than you get while running — or even in spinning — by never giving the legs a chance to recover.  Students generate more lactic acid in its hour-long workout than they would in a week of typical jogging and thus enjoy lengthy post-exercise calorie burn-offs and heightened metabolic rates. (Click here to read more about exercise and lactic acid.)  For the “down” intervals, stretches are ideal for processing any built-up lactic acid.  At the same time, these stretches perform the added task of pulling apart the still clenching “muscle filaments” (the parts of our muscles that overlap to contract and separate to release).  The result is increased elasticity, which enables muscles to more easily contract and expand, thus becoming functionally stronger.

2.  The Bar Method challenges the leg muscles, where most of our bodies’ muscle mass resides, throughout its hour-long workout.
body sculpting legsThe Bar Method works your largest, most calorie-hungry muscles, namely the ones in your thighs, glutes, and hamstrings.  The four thigh muscles, the quads, form our largest muscle group. The glutes are the largest individual muscles and the hamstrings are big and powerful allies. The first half of a Bar Method class is done standing, so that the legs work in various ways for that 30 minutes.  The second half of class also works the leg muscles from a seated position. It is common in the Bar Method’s first seated position called “round-back” for most of the students’ legs to be shaking from exertion.  In “flat back” the legs are constantly in motion. In “curl” and “back dancing,” the glutes and hamstrings are on fire with effort.  The legs don’t nap at The Bar Method and their use gives its students the maximum bang for their bucks.

3.  The Bar Method teaches students to isolate key muscles and keep them recruited for sustained periods.deltoid exercise
A Bar Method glute or posterior deltoid workout, for instance, starts out by teaching clients to isolate these hard-to-find muscles.  Once students succeed in getting into position, they sustain it without breaking until their muscles begin to give out.  At this juncture the Bar Method delivers its coup de grace.  Just as the holding pattern becomes difficult to maintain, students add small, rhythm bursts of motion to it, never releasing the underlying position.  These fiery little pulsations enable everyone in the class to sustain their pose without flagging while they work even more deeply into it.  Other workouts that include lunges or squats are releasing the grip of the muscle with each rep, thus never building the burn long enough to generate new muscle mass.  Through isolation, whether of the deltoids, the glutes, the transversus abdominis or any of our various hard-to-reach muscles, true sculpting takes place.  (Read more about Bar Method’s core strengthening exercises here.)

As the New York Times wrote last May in its groundbreaking article on the benefits of interval training:  “To go hard, the body must use new muscle fibers. Once these recent recruits are trained, they are available to burn fuel even during easy-does-it workouts.”  It is this production of new muscle fiber at which The Bar Method excels.  The Times went on to say, “Interval training also stimulates change in mitochondria, where fuel is converted to energy, causing them to burn fat first….”  Use of the interval training formula plus sustained use of our biggest muscles and finding and isolating our underused muscles all contribute to The Bar Method’s amazing power to shape bodies.

Find it, use it, build it.  And do all of this at a high intensity rate followed by stretching.   That’s the body sculpting secret behind the Bar Method workout.

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