During 2016 an astounding 16,957,100 runners crossed a road-race finish line in the USA. People run for many reasons: to lose weight, to get fit, to compete at a competitive level or simply for fun. Regardless of the reason, runners are constantly seeking new and innovative ways to become fitter and faster without putting unnecessary strain on the body. One of the most prevalent methods of reaching peak fitness comes in the form of the much-loved (or loathed) cross-training.
For the countless runners who find themselves in a love/hate relationship with cross-training, Barre workouts may be the answer. Barre is perfect for helping you realize how important small movements are to your exercise routine and how they combine to strengthen and tone your muscles. By combining running with a healthy diet and Barre you truly give your body the best possible overall workout while enjoying the countless benefits each exercise has on your well-being.
It’s a low impact, full body workout
Barre workouts consist of movements that target each area of your body. Runners often neglect full-body and arm workouts when training for endurance races such as marathons, forgetting how much they use their arms to power them through the last few miles of the race. Due to the fact that Barre workouts are low-impact for most part (apart from some sections of the HIIT classes), your joints can enjoy a well-deserved break. Barre focuses on the strengthening of the core muscles, a vital area which is often overlooked by runners who are training for distance events. You can further boost the effectiveness of your workouts by investing in versatile home-gym equipment such as power-towers and free weights that you can use at leisure in the comfort of your home on days you are unable to make it outdoors and to classes.
It promotes foot strength and hip opening
Strengthening your feet, toes and ankles can go a long way in improving your running and even your gait. During a Barre workout you will find yourself using your feet strength to stay balanced during a number of the poses, strengthening them significantly. Many runners suffer from tight hip flexors, a painful condition which can be eased by Barre workouts that focus a lot on opening the hips. Apart from the hip openers you will also spend a decent amount of time strengthening your hard-to-address inner-thigh muscles.
It encourages stretching and helps to prevent injuries
Stretching is another area of training that many runners seem to neglect. Barre is perfect for runners who need to lengthen their hamstrings, increase shoulder mobility and open their hips due to the fact that stretching forms a major part of each class. Many runners who also engage in Barre workouts have noted a reduction in shin splints as well as IT band issues thanks to a newly-improved muscle strength and balance.
While no form of exercise is suitable to everyone, the greatest misconception regarding Barre is that you need to have some form of dance experience under the belt. Regardless of your gender, age or level of fitness you can benefit from a Barre workout and if you are already an experienced runner you will be astounded at the difference just a few sessions can make to your overall performance.