Standing in the middle at the back of the class, my friend Loz and I thought we’d be fine in our first Paola’s Body Barre Burn. We thought of ourselves as quite fit, having done a ProjectFit treadmill class together earlier in the week and not died. However in this packed studio, we were in for a shock. Fast forward 20mins and we are both dripping with sweat (literally dripping onto the mat), Loz’s ball has rolled across the class at least 3 times, and our friend Nadia, a regular, is laughing at us. This workout is HARDCORE. Pulsing, pointing, plie-ing; my body just isn’t used to these sorts of moves. Paola made us work hard, telling us it wasn’t called ‘burn’ for nothing.
The class worked our whole body, including areas that I didn’t even realise I had in my inner thighs and back. We worked both on the floor and at the barre, utilising what little space we had by spreading out. Props including weights, balls and blocks were used to increase or reduce intensity (obviously I always reduced intensity, it was hard enough already!)
After class, as I hobbled out and into the nearest brunch location, I thought about how Barre could make a great complimentary workout to running.
- It’s mostly low impact (with the exception of one jumping section), giving your joints a break
- It focuses on strengthening core muscles, an area that is crucial yet often overlooked by runners when training for distance events
- Foot strength– probably not something I’ve ever thought about but I noticed how much I was using my feet strength to stay balance in some of the poses. Gaining strength in your feet, toes and ankles can only improve your running, and potentially even your gait.
- It’s a full body workout, with specific moves targeting each area of your body. I know I’m not the only one who neglects to workout my arms much when I’m marathon training, yet I rely on them to power me through the last few miles when my legs have all but given up!
- Stretching is a major part of each class, another area that many runners skip over!
- It helps improve balance.
- Two words- hip opening. Barre workouts focus a lot on opening the hips, as a runner with incredibly tight hip flexors, this is killer yet necessary.
I would love to try a marathon cycle using Barre 2-3 times a week as my main form of cross training/stretching to see whether it had the effect on my running that I think it could!
Have you ever tried Barre? What did you think? I’m excited that Paola’s is on Classpass!
This post will be included in L&G’s fitness guide http://www.legalandgeneral.com/life-cover/