The Method

Why Physical Therapists Love The Bar Method for Patients with Low Back Pain

August 19, 2018

When you sign up to take a Bar Method class, you’re signing up to learn something new about your body. Bar Method teachers complete a rigorous training program that tackles everything from anatomy & physiology to the psychology behind motivating and inspiring different types of students all at the same time. Most instructors are certified within 4-6 months, however the training never really stops. Studio owners and corporate coaches continue to evaluate and educate instructors throughout their journey. For this reason, you’ll leave class feeling accomplished in your workout and more aware of your unique body and how it moves. It’s this specialized coaching that makes The Bar Method stand out for physical therapists.

Elyse Quartini, MS, DPT, OCS of Elysian Physical Therapy in San Diego, CA identifies this as one of the reasons she’s confident recommending The Bar Method to her patients with chronic low back pain. She says, “The Bar Method does an excellent job at teaching important body mechanics and identifying different body types. Specifically teaching students to bend from their hips versus their waist when working their glutes. Learning how to use their glutes and abdominals to control the movement of their legs and torso unloads stress from their backs. This level of core strengthening can make a big difference for students suffering from low back pain.”


Here are three of Elyse’s favorite Bar Method exercises for her patients suffering from chronic low back pain:

1. Foldover

This exercise is so much more than just a seat exercise. It effectively recruits your abdominals and back muscles as stabilizers, teaching you how to hold in your core and support your low back. Students with a tight back, tight hamstrings, or weak glutes can modify this exercise with an adjusted tilt diagonal to the barre versus the intended horizontal position. You will burn lots of calories in Foldover by working your standing and lifted leg simultaneously. Once you get the hang of it, it will be your new favorite exercise.

2. Waterski Thigh

This might be one of the most challenging thigh exercises we have in The Bar Method because of the way the front and back of the body are working in opposition of each other. As you grip your glutes and hinge slightly back from your knees, your hips extend just enough to give you a deep, active stretch in your quads and hip flexors. Two areas of the body that, when tight, can lead to low back pain. Not to mention, the bend at your waist will ensure that you’re holding your abdominals in properly and prioritizing the core strengthening qualities of this exhilarating exercise.

3. Back Dancing

Not only is this exercise fun and full of energy, it represents the end of class and a celebration of all of your hard work. You’ve made it to the end, be proud of yourself! Back dancing is a great exercise for those suffering from low back pain because it strengthens the erector spinae, gluteus maximus, minimus, and hamstrings while at the same time stretching the quadriceps and hip flexors. In this exercise, your upper back is anchored to the floor to prevent you from using your back to move, thereby teaching you how to isolate your glutes which ultimately contributes to a stronger core!

Our founder, Burr Leonard worked side-by-side with a team of physical therapists from the beginning, to make The Bar Method safer for the joints and more effective in targeting the muscles most responsible for changing the body. This article is the second in a series of how The Bar Method can help students with different physical limitations most commonly seen by Physical Therapists. In the next article, we review how The Bar Method can help patients with hip pain.

Elysian Physical Therapy
2235 Encinitas Blvd, Suite 108
Encinitas California 92024
P: 858.524.3663
E: [email protected]

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