Over the last few posts of Run Oregon Gets Fit! I have participated in different types of cross-training at a variety of local fitness studios throughout the metro area, in order to find some of the most effective ways to increase fitness, reduce injury and to promote a well-balanced routine while building my endurance as a runner. For my latest post, I visited Barre Prana in Sherwood, Oregon to tone, lengthen, strengthen, and stretch my way to physical fitness.
Do you know a few friends who are hitting a different kind of bar these days? Barre classes have been the rage now for quite some time. When you think of a barre, do you think of pink tights, black leotards and tutus?! Maybe a prissy ballet instructor with a bun so tight on her head, that she looks like she had a face-lift. Well, think again. Barre Prana doesn’t have those kinds of things, though it does have a barre.
My first class at Barre Prana was in early February. I purposely signed up for the Barre Strength class because the online description said participants would “use light hand and ankle weights, and resistance bands to create long, lean muscles.” That description, coupled with balance and flexibility, would provide a complete body workout. I was very eager to spend the next hour sculpting, toning and honing a lean physique.
The layout of this particular class started with a warm up and cool down, a series of exercises focused on the lower body and core, with a few repetitions of bicep curls, triceps presses and push ups, with planks mixed in. I like to think that my lower body is the strongest area of my body, but that was put to the test with the series of squats and lifts. A lot of barre movements are isometric movements which can cause your muscles to quake and shake as they get stronger. Repeating these movements consistently over time really builds up endurance over time and keeps your body in tip-top shape for the repeated hitting of the trails and pounding of pavement.
Focusing on proper alignment is key to performing exercises correctly, and the instructors at Barre Prana take absolute precaution to make sure attendees are diligent about not pushing themselves into positions their body might not yet be ready for.
Barre classes focus a lot on core, hip, and glute strengthening which can eliminate a lot of common injuries for runners such as “runners knee.” These are just a few of the muscles that are responsible for proper posture and protecting of the spine which translates into alleviating the majority of back discomfort…which is a great segue into the amazing yoga class I took at my second visit to Barre Prana.
There are three types of yoga classes available at Barre Prana. The yoga energy class spent the hour “in practice of syncing breath with movement and poses. Similar to a traditional vinyasa class but with cardio infused sequences.” We stretched our hamstrings, opened our hips and loosened our joints, undoing all of the strain running puts on our bodies because of its repetitive nature and the resulting muscle imbalances. Runner’s muscles are strong in ways that relate to running. However, a running stride involves only the lower body and movement on one plane–forward and backward. When getting into poses in a yoga class, the entire body is used and in turn, is strengthened restoring balance that is essential to remain injury free.
While it may seem like barre classes are only geared toward women, think again. They are fantastic for runners of ALL genders and ages. They are highly effective, very low impact and work all the smaller stabilizing muscles that can help you become a healthier, stronger runner. My one piece of advice: don’t go for a run right after a class, your legs will like be Jello-O, but it will feel oh, so good!
- Barre Prana is located at 21025 SW Pacific Hwy Suite B
Sherwood OR 97140. (503) 758-8388
- Barre, yoga, and pilates classes are offered 7-days a week.
- A men-only yoga class is offered on Monday evenings.
- All instructors have extensive training and certifications in all of the different areas they teach.
- Certified nutrition coach and meal planning is available to discuss different healthy eating plans and goals.
- Special workshops and retreats are offered; inquire for details.