Shake and feel the Burn

You ace your HIIT classes, lift weights, smash your CrossFit and run like there’s no tomorrow - but then you sign up for a Barre Fitness class. Suddenly, you’re shaking, sweating, and silently cursing the instructor as you pulse, hold, and lift basically only your bodyweight.

Ever wondered why even fairly fit people seem to flounder at the barre? You’re not alone. While those workouts may not seem as demanding as high-intensity interval training classes or intense cardio sessions, one more set of those micro-movements can feel way more painful than running another kilometre or another set of push-ups.

Comparing a barre workout to a typical strength or cardio workout is like comparing apples to oranges. Traditional resistance training exercises—such as a leg extension, squat, or push-up—move your joints through a full range of motion,

Barre workouts recruit different types of muscle fibres. Isometric contractions and high-rep, low-weight endurance exercises activate type I, or slow-twitch, fibres, which provide a low force output but can keep working for an extended period of time. We use type I muscle fibres all day long to maintain posture, joint position, and even walk for long distances.

On the other hand, traditional resistance or high-intensity interval training workouts typically activate type II, or fast-twitch, muscle fibres, These fibres contract quickly and are responsible for powerful, dynamic movements and increasing muscle size, but fatigue more quickly than type I. (Type I fibres also can increase muscle size, they just do so less effectively than type II fibres.)

Since you perform many reps of the same movement involving specific muscles in Barre, you’re working those muscles to exhaustion - which means you’re going past your comfort zone—and you're going to feel it.

Barre is a great mode of exercise that can result in better posture, improved stability, and muscular endurance. Muscular endurance can help you be better at things like running, or simply climbing the stairs to a fifth-floor apartment without feeling your quads burn halfway through.

In addition, many of the moves you’re doing in barre classes require balance as well as flexibility, which typically isn’t involved in your standard cardio or strength workout. Plus, you’re recruiting your core muscles to help stabilize your entire body, making it a true total-body workout.

That burning sensation isn't your muscles ripping or tearing; it's actually caused by a by-product that's released when your body breaks down fuel to use it as energy.

In comparison, when you're doing a compound exercise that involves multiple muscle groups, the workload is shared among all of them. This means the energy usage is spread out, so you're not completely exhausting one specific muscle's glycogen stores the way you do when you're working one targeted muscle to exhaustion.

Many of us may have also started to shake or tremble at the barre. That’s not necessarily a bad thing—it’s just a sign your body is becoming fatigued. Essentially what's happening is that the muscle contraction is being interrupted because there isn't enough energy available to keep your nerves firing properly and sending uninterrupted signals to your muscles.

Again, even though it hurts, it doesn't mean you're hurting yourself. “Pushing through this trembling, within reason, is a type of muscle overload,”. This is what your muscles need to enact change, so basically, it means you’re making progress. (Just be careful not to push past your limits and risk falling or injuring yourself. If you’re using proper form, injuries shouldn't be an issue—but ask an instructor if you're not sure.)

Even the strongest among us can experience the shake. “No matter how strong you are, you’ll eventually start to quiver and muscles will reach their point of failure if you’re using proper form,”

There are some ways to help push through the burn.

Make sure you’re breathing deeply. Next, take control of your thoughts—which we know is easier said than done. Concentrate on your form, focus on your breath, and just try not to think too much.

Staying present and focusing on your working muscle can also help you tap into your strength. And remember, the burn is just temporary—and means that you're stimulating your muscles enough to trigger changes.

Being consistent will also help you find your groove and reduce how hard the moves feel over time. It’s recommended to attend three classes per week. And stick with it for at least three weeks, You won’t be a master, but that should be enough time for your [post-workout] soreness to fade and your ability to balance and hold position to significantly improve. Your body starts to learn and adjust over time, just like learning any other motor skill.”

Most of all, be patient, and give yourself a chance to learn and grow - “Take class consistently, work your butt off every time, and you’ll evolve your fitness to a higher level. It doesn’t get easier; you get stronger,” “That’s the beauty of a Barre workout: As long as you’re doing it correctly, it will always be effective.” And it will always "burn".

source - Self ..edited article

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