Why barre classes are great for runners
By Rosa Anderson - Jones
Here at Barre Base, we often receive feedback about how our classes have helped our clients with their running training.
We thought we’d delve into some of the reasons why barre classes and running are so complimentary.
Targets muscles that running does not
Runners typically end up in physical therapy due to weak hip abductors and hip rotators — the very muscles that we hone throughout our class. Hello, side leg lifts!
Building up these muscles helps you learn to control your hips and prevent your knees from caving when you're out for a run. We work hard to keep our knees tracking over our toes, and to not allow the inner thighs to cave. This is very helpful when we’re running downhill.
Working on your glute medius muscles can protect runners from enduring common injuries such as hip impingement, ITB syndrome, or just simple hip, knee, and ankle pain.
“Barre workouts strengthen your legs as a runner, 360 degrees.”
Barre workouts strengthen every area of your leg and glutes, from quads to hips, glutes, to calves. You will run stronger, better, and with more endurance.
Increases your foot and ankle strength
Foot strength is probably not something you’ve considered. Not often do we hear somebody say, “I am off to the gym to train feet.”
Foot stability and strength is inherent in a barre class and is very transferable to running. Often in that releve position, we’re forced to stretch and hold our feet in challenging positions. When we are in releve, we learn to work hard to keep balanced and to weight bear correctly through the feet.
Learning where the weight should correctly bear through your feet is vital for runners, especially those who have a tendency to roll their ankles!
Increased core strength
Barre classes are great for core strength, which helps keep your body in line while you run. A strong, solid centre helps propel you forward while keeping your middle relatively still so you're not rotating side to side which can increase the wear and tear on your joints and tendons.
For those who have been to a barre class, you know how much we focus on the core. It’s not just about doing as many sit-ups as possible though, it’s about learning to move your body while controlling your core. We often remind you to tuck your tailbone and pull your belly button back toward your spine. These deep core muscles are vital for creating strong runners.
Barre classes are low-impact
Barre classes are very low impact, giving your muscles a chance to strengthen without placing excess stress on the joints.
"Rather than pounding the pavement day after day, take a step back and focus in on strength."
If you’ve had a running injury too and need an alternative (we know how obsessional runners become) barre is a great swap to aid your recovery. Just be sure to let the instructor know before class, and we can offer a few suggestions or swaps.
It forces you to stretch
Stretching is a major part of each class, another area that many runners neglect! Barre is ideal for runners who need to lengthen their hamstrings, open their hips and increase overall mobility. So many of our runners have tight hips, so barre classes are a great way to open those hips through strength and stretching exercises simultaneously.
We spend at least 10-15 minutes stretching throughout each class. If mobility is a huge issue for you and 15 minutes is not enough, get along to our Stretch and Lengthen class.
Increases mental strength
Barre workouts will test and improve your mental strength. We know that that final set of pulses can be really tough, but with the music and teacher pushing you through, it’s easy to gain that determination to push until the finish. This mental strength helps you when you’re running. I am sure that hill ahead of you requires less glute power than our seated plie track!
A place for everyone
Remember, barre classes are for everyone! We promise you that it is nothing like a scene from Black Swan. Most of our clients have never danced before. It’s accessible for all ages and stages, and both men and women. Every single person can modify the workout to their comfort or intensify to their liking. So do not be shy! There are no tutus or pointe shoes in this class!