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The Body Sculpting Muscles
For sheer calorie burning power, nothing beats our legs. We carry about two thirds of our muscle mass in our two lower limbs, which sprouted like beanstalks during our evolution from primate to human. Our femors stretched; our legs straightened; and our glutes became laced with fat for extra stamina. In contrast, most of our four-legged mammal relatives carry the larger part of their weight in their upper bodies so as to carry a similar portion of weight in all four legs. We carry it all in two. Our human legs so dominate our bodies in size that when someone shouts, “feel the burn!” they probably mean, “feel your legs burn.”
Even allowing for muscle size, leg muscles are more efficient at burning fuel than those nearer to our chests. Bench presses and lat pulls do their jobs; but at the same time they crowd the heart and lungs interfering with our ability to process oxygen, and thus for our bodies to burn fuel. Our legs might be farther away from our hearts, but they’re the muscles that do best at increasing the oxygenated blood our hearts pump and then send back for more.
Knowing what legs can achieve in the exercise area, the best exercise techniques all pack lots of leg action into their routine, and the Bar Method is no exception. In every exercise until the final stretch, the Bar Method keeps these key leg muscle groups front and center.
The four thigh muscles, the quads, form our largest muscle group. Hence, working them gives lots of bang for the buck, and you’ll feel that bang in a Bar Method class! The Bar Method is perfectly well aware that deep muscles generate the greatest burn but nevertheless takes no prisoners during its famously intense thigh-work. The good news is that the higher the intensity– the quicker the gain. Bar Method students often gasp during the leg-work but quickly become addicted to seeing their thighs trim down after a few weeks of classes.
Calves, Hamstrings and Glutes:
The human animal is designed to move forward, so the muscles responsible for walking and running are inherently powerful and relatively indefatigable. And of course our current lifestyle makes it critical to address this usually seated part of ourselves. So to make a dent in their strength, shape and functionality, you need to bring them to the edge of their endurance. While spinning, Pilates and gym workouts allow our back-sides to rest between reps, The Bar Method turns on our back-of-the-leg muscles and keeps them firing non-stop by pitting them against those on the fronts of our legs. This technique develops firmness, lift and stamina beyond what you can get by sitting on a stationary bike, a Pilates chair or a leg press. The result: The Bar Method’s great, inimitable firm, lean and shapely legs.