Pilates Barre Fusion, the Perfect Pairing
Clients often question the rationale behind fusing Barre and Pilates workouts. Often clients will say they want to “just do Pilates” as they are not sure they see the benefit of doing both. Many people feel that barre is strictly for ballet-trained dancers. We have attempted to answer the question about why Pilates Barre Fusion makes the perfect pairing.
Both Pilates and Barre workouts keep to the same basic structure of form, breathe and healthy alignment. Like Pilates, barre work emphasizes micro-movements that train slow-twitch muscle fiber. Training slow-twitch muscle fiber through exercises that feature sustained isometric contractions with little-to-no joint movement, keep the slow-twitch muscle fibers under contraction for an extended period of time. This can help improve their ability to utilize oxygen to produce energy. Examples include the front plank, the side plank and the single-leg balance. Slow twitch muscle fibers are smaller, generate less force and have a smaller growth potential than the fast twitch muscle fibers. However, these fibers are extremely resistant to fatigue. Slow-twitch muscle fibers use oxygen to
help create adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the chemical that actually fuels muscle contractions. The more slow twitch muscle fibers you build, the more fat you burn and the more long, lean muscle tone you see. Movements or exercises that require muscular endurance use more slow twitch fibers than fast.
Workouts at the barre focus on pelvic positioning, core strength, stability, balance and flexibility. Movements performed are often shifted from one side of the body to the other. Isometric movement to stabilize the body while performing a barre exercise help strengthen the body. For example, often the “standing leg” at the barre works twice as hard as the leg in the air. Arabesque and leg lifts are a perfect example of the standing leg emphasis while performing the movement. Balance is achieved by lifting away from the floor and pulling up in the standing leg, while the core muscles help stabilize the pelvis.
Barre is terrific cross-training for Pilates Reformer as it translates many of the exercises and shifts them to a standing position…and can be likened to a standing Pilates-type workout, although not entirely. Combination workouts are a great way to continually challenge the body for maximum results. Want to try a Reformer Barre Fusion class, or Jumpboard with Mixed Pilates Mat? Sign up available online.