The Winning Interval Training Formula
March 14, 2009
The Bar Method delivers on intensity. It calls on multiple muscle groups to perform each exercise and prevents these muscles from releasing between reps, workout them all the harder. And it keeps our legs, the top calorie burning parts of our bodies, working hard for most of the class.
Best of all, the Bar Method takes advantage of interval training’s tough, “go for broke” format to maximize caloric burn. Students generate more lactic acid in its hour-long workout than they would in a week of typical jogging. These students thus enjoy lengthy post-exercise calorie burn-offs and heightened metabolic rates.
While harnessing interval training’s power, the Bar has also corrected a flaw in its standard format. Conventional internal training routines alternate their strength sets with slowed-down versions of the activity at hand — running becomes walking; spinning becomes pedaling. Yes, students do get to process their built up lactic acid, but their muscles are also losing elasticity. But with less range of motion, muscle strength is compromised.
The Bar Method fixed this problem by alternating its strength sets with stretches. As “down” intervals go, these 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. What’s more, the placement of these stretches to follow immediately on the heels of the strength sets gives them added potency. This added stretching, need I mention, also allows our muscles to drape themselves more gracefully across their underlying bones, giving Bar Method bodies their signature long, lean look.