A blog by runners. For runners.

All about barre for runners

Barre workouts for runners: photo by Quinn DombrowskiLooking for a new, fresh cross-training routine? You could try roaming the streets and dance-walking for exercise. Or perhaps you’d rather try something a little more formal. Barre or The Bar Method or Xtend Barre (the names are different depending on the studio) is a new type of ballet-inspired routine that has popped up in cities large and small throughout the nation and beyond – and there’s good reason you should consider trying it to compliment your training program

You don’t have to be a gifted ballerina to enjoy a fun workout using all sorts of tried and true dance moves. And if you think “dancing? no sweat!” – think again. Though there aren’t many discernible differences between the legs of runners and dancers on the surface, we runners rely far more heavily on our hamstrings and quads to do the bulk of the work. Ballerinas must utilize almost all muscles in the leg and sustain poses for extended periods of time.

In other words, you’ll be surprised just have effective this workout can be.

THE BASICS
The muscle groups engaged in Barre are similar to those we tax through running – all while being quite different. If you’re looking to slim down and define your legs from an aesthetic perspective, Barre might be exactly what you need.

The exercise is virtually no-impact with a lot of sustained work versus the on-off twitches our legs get while running. You can build some major jumping power this way. Killer strength, ultimately giving your running a boost.

Barre workouts are intended to get you long and lean, much like with Pilates. You focus a lot on posture and doing the moves correctly. You may even gain some added flexibility, which is always helpful to runners who notoriously skip over stretching.

At your first Barre class, you’ll probably be surprised by all the tiny motions and isometrics you’re asked to perform. And who knew such small moves could hurt so badly! Well, it’s all worth it. These movements help to “reduce pressure on your joints, tendons, ligaments and spine.”

Though some classes have a cardio component, many focus solely on strength training. Still, runners have seen some big gains. Take Jaime Wells, owner of PureBarre in Sherman Oaks, Calif. Jaime ran her first marathon in 3:51:23. By adding Barre as her only changed training variable, she go her time down to 3:18:48!

Talk about impressive results.

GET MOVING
You don’t need to head to an expensive club or gym class to get the ballet experience. Here are a few workouts you can try in the comfort of your living room. (And great news! If you don’t have the most important piece of equipment – the barre – just use a dining room chair.)

Written by Ashley Marcin.

RELATED more cross-training for runners