Read on to find out how barre benefits a runner’s speed, prevents injury, and increases body awareness.
According to Pure Barre Instructor Morgan Rogers, “Barre work is such a great exercise to not only lean and tone your muscles, but also to increase flexibility. In barre class (or during at-home barre work), you focus on every major muscle group (think thighs, seat, abs, arms, etc). After working each section, you have a nice long stretch focused specifically on that muscle group while your muscles are still warm. By stretching while your muscles are still warm, you’re enabled to go a little deeper in your stretch, inevitably increasing your flexibility.”
Flexibility and daily stretching exercises into your routine greatly benefit a runner’s performance. By working overtime and with long stretches, runners with increased flexibility can increase their range in motion. In turn, they develop longer and sturdy strides, as well as increased mobility in shoulders to assist in a run.
Improves Coordination and Balance
When performing barre work, the body is exposed to familiar workouts moving from one core muscle group to the next. The repetitive movements within the body create a heightened awareness of one’s body and spatial recognition of the different movement. This also helps in coordination.
More specifically, barre work for runners can also lead to increased hand-eye-foot coordination, Roger’s explains.
“You are isolating one muscle group at a time and focusing on small isometric movements. For example, while working one side of your leg and engaging your seat, you’re simultaneously controlling the muscles in your leg and fueling each movement. You’re bringing a whole new level of awareness to the body that you don’t get in regular strength workouts.”
In return, the increased recognition placed upon the body, muscle, and brain, can fuel a runner’s workout. Your body recognizes its own movements and capabilities. If you’re looking to switch to trail running, it also helps to have a heightened sense of self. This will help the body adapt to the new surroundings and environments.
Develops Crucial Core Muscles
“There are so many ways that barre work can help strengthen muscles,” according to Rogers. “Barre is a full-body workout. The body challenges muscles’ endurance by holding positions for longer periods of time.” This can put increased demand on the muscle, causing it to strengthen over time.
Roger explains that barre is different than most exercises. Instead of broad range muscle strengthening workouts, you’re focusing on tiny, precise movements. You’re holding them longer than you normally would.
“This is much different than the typical heavyweight, big movement exercise. So, in return, your muscles are challenged and working hard to keep up. As you develop a consistent barre practice, your muscle endurance will increase, leading to longer, leaner, and stronger muscles,” says Rogers.
“Runners love this benefit of adding barre to their workout regime. It’s typical to have clients who are frequent runners tell you that barre has helped them increase their endurance and speed!”
In addition to endurance and speed increases, improving muscular strength is also beneficial to runners. It helps reduce the chance of injury. According to Aaptiv trainer Mike Septh, “Building muscle will prevent injury (since weak muscles are actually one of the most common causes of running prone injury) since their bodies are stronger.”
Like any new exercise added into a workout routine, it’s important to start off easy. Take things slow to develop a regular practice and cadence.
This also applies to barre work. Do not push yourself too far in the beginning. Also, do not stretch your muscles and ligaments too thin.
Over time, you will see the benefits of barre work for runners and how it can help change up your workout routine.