Maybe you find yourself back at the chiropractor every six months because your low back keeps flaring up. After you see the chiropractor for a few visits it feels better, but eventually the pain comes back. You can prevent this.
Pain creeps in because the body is weak in an area. Our bodies are also very tight in places, like hamstrings, and compensates by putting too much pressure on other areas, like the low back. If you have a weak low back and tight hamstrings, you will eventually end up with pain in your low back. The solution?
Try a workout that combines strength with flexibility, like a bar class. One example is the Bar Method, a highly effective and targeted workout developed by Burr Leonard, who took her inspiration from a ballet dancer in the 1940s named Lotte Berk. The popularity of bar classes has skyrocketed in recent years, and in Arizona there are many variations of this workout: The Dailey Method, Pure Bar and BarFitness to name a few. Whichever you choose, the workouts are all similar in style and highly effective for developing strength.
The one-hour class hits all the major muscle groups, beginning with arms using three to five pound weights, followed by pushups. The class then moves to the ballet bar, where they do intense isometric lower-body exercises (think thighs and glutes). The class ends with abdominal work. After every exercise there is a stretch to elongate the muscles. The exercises all follow a similar style: the targeted muscles are held in a flexed position and pulsed, only an inch up and down, to the point of muscle fatigue. It’s common for many of the participants to have shaking legs during the repetitions, demonstrating that the muscle is being thoroughly challenged.
Observing a bar class, you won’t see people sweating profusely or jumping around the room. It appears very relaxed and almost looks easy – don’t be fooled. This is a very challenging workout, and also extremely effective. Remember when your gym teacher in elementary school made you do a wall-sit for three minutes? Bar classes are along the same lines. The muscles are isolated and targeted, creating that burning sensation that tells you the muscles are being taken to their limit.
Besides increasing strength and flexibility, bar classes also help to lose weight. The steady pace of the class is perfect for burning fat. When a person’s heart rate becomes elevated to breathlessness, such as during a sprint, the body ends up burning sugar, not fat. A fat-burning workout needs to be at a slightly slower, steadier pace, with an elevated heart rate, but not sky-high off the charts. Bar classes are not considered an intense cardiovascular exercise, but instead fall into the category of strength training and weight loss.
Bar class exercises flow from one move to the next, demanding balance and encouraging gracefulness. Muscles that were once asleep are awakened, and at first it may take careful concentration in order to flex the correct muscle or group of muscles. In this way, the classes help increase body awareness and stimulate the brain-body connection. Some of the postures are quite complex and it takes consistent practice to truly master proper form. Most studios offer beginner and advanced classes.
Take control of your life and become pain-free. Try something new, like a bar class, and you will find yourself at the chiropractor less often. Your health is your responsibility and once you embrace it, you will begin to unleash the unlimited potential inside you. Call us at Arizona Pain & Posture for questions or encouragement about living a healthy life. 480-585-0252