Strengthening & lengthening your muscles at the Barre

Updated: Feb 16

With a delicious Barre & Stretch combo now firmly a part of the weekly timetable, we are loving the feeling of getting a 45 minute Barre blast in, followed by 15 minutes of stretching, leaving us feeling relaxed, safe in the knowledge that we also worked really hard.

There are many reasons that I think Barre is a fabulous form of fitness, but the effect it has on your flexibility and ability to move more easily has to be up there as one of my top ones!

Muscles control joints and joints control movement - happy & healthy muscles allow for easier movement through our joints. Achieving happy & healthy muscles is about getting the balance right between strengthening and lengthening your muscles, resulting in stronger, more flexible bodies, with a greater range of movement. This might sound complicated but luckily you’re already doing all of this in every Barre class you take - hurrah!

From the start to the end of a Barre class we are working on contracting and lengthening our muscles, therefore working on building strength and flexibility at the same time. One of the most effective ways to lengthen our muscles is through eccentric movement. When I say ‘resist on the way back down’ or ‘imagine you’re pressing against a beach ball as you lower your arms’ - this is your eccentric contraction. You’re lengthening that muscle while it’s still contracted. Really, that means you should think about your final 8 reps as your final 16…the lower down is just as important as the squeeze up! Eccentric exercises strengthen not only your muscles but also your body’s connective tissue, helping to rehab any aches and pains as well as preventing injuries.

Combining all of this with some structured recovery time for stretching in our Barre & Stretch 60 classes means your weekly Barre fitness programme leaves you feeling stronger, more flexible, and on the path to creating sustainable and lasting changes in your body whilst avoiding injury. Sign. Me. Up!

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