A lot of the runners that come through our clinic with various aches and pains have a few things in common: hip weakness, decreased balance, decreased muscular endurance. Funny thing… Barre exercises and classes can address these exact issues! If you are a runner, there is a good chance you never thought about taking a Barre class or how it might help your running. Well, there are a lot of benefits to taking a class and it could help your run!
There are a lot of different barre studios in the DMV and even more options of online opportunities for barre exercises too. We will go through the different barre studios later this month. For now, let’s talk about why barre is good for runners of all levels!
To be an efficient runner, hip strength and hip muscular endurance are so important! Hip strength is necessary to ensure the legs and the whole kinetic chain are working properly. You need a lot of strength to control all of the movement that you need at your hip and knee for running. Barre classes and exercises focus on all of the muscles of your hips, challenging them in various ways. As a side benefit, you also get a focus on the quads and hamstrings. The exercises often take the legs into various angles and use SMALL movements to create a change. The more endurance and strength your hips and legs have, the better your running will feel.
You may not have thought about this before, but when you are running you are always only on one foot. Single leg balance is important to maintain control of that leg and to maintain control of the pelvis and hips. With good balance, the chain reaction of the lower extremity can go through its pattern in the right sequence. If you don’t have proper balance on one leg then any number of injuries farther up the chain can happen. Also, with good balance, you can take a step on a rock, a tree root, off a curb without adverse issues. All of these are reasons that balance is important for the prevention of injuries and for maintaining that pelvic and hip stabilization. Barre movements are often on one leg and focus on very slow and controlled movements. As you probably guessed, this is perfect for improving your balance and exactly what you need as a runner.
For short distances, long distances, and super long distances (whatever super long means to you), muscular endurance of the lower extremities and the core is necessary to maintain that proper balance and running form. Maintaining proper form for the whole run is what allows you to push your distance and push your speed. Without enough endurance, your form will break down and you will be much more likely to have an injury. Once again, this is where Barre exercises can be great for you. The exercises in Barre work all of your leg muscles to fatigue, which is what builds up your endurance.
Barre classes and exercises are clearly great for the dancer types and let’s not forget how great they are for athletes and active people of other sports and activities too!
If you think your running could be improved reach out to us here and we’ll find a time to chat. We work with runners, barre fanatics, and lots of other active people out there.