Fitness Trends Toward Intensity: How We Do It
September 5, 2009
Most people exercise simply to stay healthy and feel good. To get these benefits from exercise, moderate activities such as walking, swimming, tai chi and outdoor gardening work are fine, according to fitness experts. If on the other hand your motive for exercising is to become leaner and more sculpted, the experts agree that you have to work out intensely. Celebrities are getting more and more cut by means of intense fitness programs, and the exercise world – whether it’s following or leading this trend – has been adding more intensity to its routines.
Exercise standbys of old have thereby been modified in three ways. Calisthenics has been made harder and renamed boot camp; yoga has been made faster, becoming power yoga; and jogging has been made longer, creating the marathon craze. In short, changing exercise to be harder, faster and longer is been how the fitness industry has adapted itself to the growing demand for more butt-kicking workouts.
The Bar Method, known for changing bodies quicker and more efficiently than just about any other kind of exercise, uses a fourth technique to create intensity. First, it positions students so that key muscles lock tightly against each other. Then, just as the muscles start to shake and fatigue, it hooks them onto a musical beat to which they rhythmically contract moving even more closely towards each other.
The advantage of a positioning-oriented method over routines that have simply gotten harder, faster or longer, is that it can target the muscles most responsible for body change in a relatively short period of time. Like a smart, surgical laser, the Bar Method’s focus on precise positions enables students to get in, out and on to the next target in minutes. An hour of this kind of super-targeted strength work takes you to all the major muscle groups, is gentle on your joints, and gives you a pleasurable feeling afterwards of having been thoroughly worked from head to toe.
There is also some satisfaction gained during the workout itself. “It is such deep, challenging and interesting work, ” one student said about her Bar Method classes. “It is better [than other workouts] because we learn to do the exercises correctly and precisely for optimal results. It is just an entirely different experience.” To read more about how we achieve intensity, go to my article on THE WINNING INTERVAL TRAINING FORMULA.