Updated: Nov 9, 2021
Barre fitness has its roots in ballet strength and conditioning training alongside injury rehabilitation. The nature of the workout means it is geared towards increasing strength and stability to give you greater control of movement which in turn improves your mobility and helps you to move more easily through everyday life. If you're a spring chicken, this might not be a reason that motivates you to exercise and stretch but if you've ever had to recover from an injury you'll know just how much we can take ease of everyday movement for granted.
The addition of stretch sequences in our classes helps increase flexibility which is key to improving our range of motion and recruiting all the correct muscle groups for each movement. On 1st June we'll be launching 'The Stretch Project'. A bonus 4 week, on-demand, stretching programme focused on increasing flexibility. Ahead of the launch, I wanted to share a few of the key benefits of stretching to give you extra encouragement to get stuck in when the time comes!
1. It can help avoid injuries
A flexible body with the strength and stability to control joints as they move through a greater range of motion means you'll be firing up all the correct muscle groups to perform a movement rather than putting unnecessary pressure on joints and supporting ligaments. Working on both strength and flexibility helps to reduce muscle imbalances by strengthening the under-active muscles and stretching the overactive (tight) ones. A strong, flexible body without muscle imbalances puts you in really good stead to avoid injury!
2. It can help reduce muscle soreness
Stretching out areas of tension improves blood circulation and blood flow to your muscles, helping to repair them post-workout which can help you recover from a tough workout more quickly. We always stretch throughout our live classes to make sure we're releasing areas of tension as we go which really helps with delayed onset muscles soreness (DOMS).
3. It's as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one
To get more flexible you have to stretch (the more frequently, the better) and your mind has to allow you to push your limits to improve your flexibility over time. We're going to have to get pretty comfortable with feeling uncomfortable but focusing on deep breaths and relaxing into the stretches will help get us there 💪🏼
4. It can help improve your posture
We've all been sitting a lot more than normal over the past year which can lead to tighter muscles across our chest, back, hip flexors and hamstrings. With tightness in these areas, our shoulders and upper back are more rounded and areas of our spine will be more compressed, potentially causing pain in the lower back. With a proper stretch routine, we can start to undo this and regain normal muscle lengths across all the areas that affect our posture, helping you to stand taller and alleviate posture-related back pain.
5. Time to slow down and calm your mind
Exercising in many forms helps to relieve stress and calm the mind but generally, most of our workouts are pretty pacey. Slowing things down and focusing on stretching different areas of the body while working on proper breathing techniques is a moment of mindfulness that will help to reduce stress levels and calm the mind while helping to relieve physical tension.
Hopefully, you're totally convinced and ready to get stuck into 'The Stretch Project' when it launches on 1st June! I'm excited and looking forward to doing it alongside you! xx