This is a guest post by Sarah Sanders.
All serious athletes come to realize at some point that cross training should be an integral part of their routine. There are many benefits that come with varying one’s workouts, from conditioning different muscle groups to improving injury prevention. That’s why they’re always on the lookout for the next best exercise that can improve their performance. HIIT, Pilates, and Yoga are a few that have really exploded in popularity in recent years. Barre is now also starting to get recognized as an effective workout for fitness buffs. So, how do we persuade more athletes, to try out barre? Here are some key benefits that instructors should mention.
Barre works all muscle groups
Strengthening major muscle groups like the quads or the shoulders is important depending on the sport, but smaller muscle groups often get neglected in the process. Not in a barre class. Instructor Shalisa Pouw emphasizes that isometric and isotonic exercises are balanced during barre classes. Often, the workouts only focus on isotonic moves like curls and squats but ignore isometric moves like planks. However, both are beneficial for different reasons. Isotonic exercises can add more power while isometric exercises can improve stability, both of which are
Barre strengthens the core
Speaking of balance, the core plays an important role in stability. It’s at the center of the entire body, which is what makes it the “core” and it’s where most of our movement is rooted. Let’s use LeBron James as an example. The NBA star’s personal trainer, Chris Powell, gave a little preview of James’ core routine, which involves balancing on a medicine ball while carrying a kettlebell. This is very much in tune with the barre method as it’s all about engaging the midsection even when you have to stand on your knees on a wobbly surface. Powell himself said that it “trains the core to react to an unstable environment and fire rapidly”. During a fast-paced game of basketball, that can certainly help an athlete out.
Barre improves flexibility
Stretching might be the final component of a barre class but that doesn’t mean it is the least important. In fact, it is placed at the end because the muscles are already primed and loose which contributes to injury prevention. Many athletes underestimate the importance of flexibility but imagine if you were a golfer with really tight shoulders. How efficient would your swing be? Or a soccer player with restricted hip mobility— kicking the ball and sprinting would be a lot harder. Barre is a great way to be more disciplined in your flexibility work, as the class will always end with a lot of stretches.
Barre corrects posture and enhances coordination
There’s added focus on the correct posture in barre because of its roots in ballet and dance. Athletes are actually starting to incorporate dance training into their routine like Serena Williams who loves to dance to keep fit. Personal trainer Caitlin Bailey said that Williams might be on to something, as a rhythmic performance keeps the ‘neuromuscular synapses firing’, which is necessary for coordinated movement. In this regard, she continues to display incredible motor skills that are unmatched by her competitors. As a result, Williams has become the highest paid female tennis player of all time, winning an unmatched 23 Grand Slams. So, while not everyone has the resources to get into dance training on top of other workouts, barre, which is a mixture of exercises, can be a very worthy alternative.
If you’re a fitness instructor looking to expand your skills and methods, the Barre Training and Certification by Barre Intensity is the perfect place to start. This technique isn’t just a passing trend. It combines familiar workouts like Pilates and Dance while also ensuring Functional Fitness, a perfect recipe for optimizing athletic performance.