An important part of my training for running involves strength training. Running is a great workout for the muscles you use while running, but there are other important parts of our body that we need to keep strong in order to prevent injuries and become better runners. Strength training for runners should focus on targeting muscles that help keep you balances like your core, hips, back, and glutes.
But running aside, as a woman with an interest in being in tune with my body and being fit I look for workouts that do the following:
- Work up a sweat – ain’t nobody got time to toss their bodies around for an hour without as much as working up a sweat. I want my workouts to help me sweat out all of the chocolate covered almonds I ate at work that day.
- Distract me – from both the workout and my job/life/stress. I want to focus on what my body is doing with a clear head and I don’t have time for workouts that don’t get me out of my own head.
- Hurt so good – Similar to working up a sweat, I want to know that my workouts are working. Sore muscles the next day remind me that I am strengthening muscles!
For the past four months I have been going to Pure Barre for my strength training workouts. Pure Barre is a bit different than the other barre method workouts I’ve done. Here’s how:
- It’s a full-body workout that targets hips, thighs, butt, abs, and arms.
- It’s low-impact. While you certainly work hard and work up a sweat and can be out of breath, it doesn’t have you jumping around the room or lifting weights. In fact, Paige, the owner of Pure Barre’s first Toronto location on Queen West, has enviable arm and shoulder definition and she admitted that she hasn’t used weights in her Pure Barre workouts for years.
- You perform small isometric movements to really target each muscle effectively. With these small movements is the most important Pure Barre movement – the tuck. The tuck is a tiny muscle contraction to help you deeply target your core and thigh muscles.
- Each section of the workout targets a specific muscle group followed by stretches to stretch out the muscles you just worked.
Prepare to Shake!
I was pretty mortified when 10 minutes into my first class my legs started shaking violently. Pure Barre instructors love this – and not just because they are pushing you hard, but it’s a sign of your muscles reaching their limit and working to get stronger. Four months later my legs still shake during workouts! You learn to push your body to the shake and then push your way through it.
Mastering the Barre
Not only are two classes never the same, but one of my favourite things about the Pure Barre technique is that you can never really master it, you can only understand more, push yourself more, and learn how to work out in ways that are more effective to target each muscle group.