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How The Bar Method Transforms Your Body Through its Unique Series of Stretches
When most of us think about “stretching” we think of the basic stretches we typically avoid doing after a workout. We either rush through them or avoid them all together because who has time to stretch anyway? If you’re like most people, just fitting in a regular workout is difficult enough, let alone finding spare time to stretch. You might be thinking…isn’t the workout good enough? And why does stretching matter?
Stretching does matter, especially if you want to age with grace and avoid injury. Fortunately, with The Bar Method the workout IS good enough. All of our barre class formats deliver challenging full-body workouts that leaves you feeling stronger through intervals of strength and stretch.
Keep reading to learn more about how The Bar Method workout will transform your body through its unique series of stretches.
Bar Method classes are set up in intervals of strength and stretch, so you don’t have to find extra time to stretch after your workout. Instructors lead you through a series of active and passive stretches (more on the differences between those later), intended to elongate and taper the muscle group just worked in the strength section. Not only do you stretch when your muscles are warm and ready for it, the order of the intervals build upon one another as the class continues. This makes for an exciting, yet effective, and targeted workout for your mind and body. The design of the class and structure of the workout is one of the secret ingredients of The Bar Method that keeps thousands of students across the country coming back year after year.
Not all stretches are created equal. Bar Method classes incorporate both static-passive and dynamic-active stretches throughout all class formats. Static-passive stretches are the most obvious, and most common. They involve holding a challenging, yet comfortable position for approximately 30 seconds. This type of stretch is passive because it requires some sort of external force to assist with the stretch (i.e. a strap, your hand, the barre, etc.) and you are static – not moving the underlying joints.
The other important type of stretch is dynamic-active. These stretches involve movement and are typically performed by moving through challenging yet comfortable movements repeatedly. What makes them active is, you are stretching a muscle by actively contracting the muscle opposite to it. In other words, you’re working one side of your body while stretching the opposite side. We do this often in The Bar Method (i.e. Knee dancing, waterski seat, round-back, and more). Dynamic stretches are favored by athletes, trainers, and physical therapists because they require you to use and build your own strength while moving through the stretch. These stretches also generate more heat and therefore make the muscle more pliable which is why your thighs burn so much in these types of exercises. Finally, evidence suggests that because dynamic-active stretches require muscle activation and contraction, the muscles being stretched are triggered to relax even more than they might during a static-passive stretch, thereby reducing the risk of injury while increasing the functional benefit. You can see how weaving both types of stretches throughout the barre class can add up to increased flexibility for your entire body!
Stretching isn’t a one-size fits all activity. Every unique body requires personalized attention when working with flexibility and mobility. Just like in the strength sections of class, instructors offer challenges and modifications for stretches, along with hands-on adjustments to help students maximize their effort and reach their individual goals. It’s for this reason The Bar Method is a sustainable workout for life and has the ability to transform every unique body.
Next time you take class, give yourself the liberty to linger in the stretches, and breathe in the benefits they offer your mind and body. The variety, sequence, and frequency of Bar Method stretches were thoughtfully considered as part of our technique to transform your body. Get ready, because you’ll soon notice changes in your body you didn’t think possible. Who knows, maybe your splits aren’t as far off as you think?
Here’s more on the benefits and proper technique of stretching.