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With promises of a long, lean body and sculpted core, who wouldn’t want to flock to the nearest barre? Barre studios are gaining popularity, and for good reason. It’s a low-impact workout that delivers big results. With a combination of Pilates, yoga and ballet-inspired moves, barre-goers can gain flexibility, gain muscle and core strength, and target those small, hard-to-work muscles—all perfect for runners.
And the best part: All fitness levels can hit the bar and see results. Who wouldn’t want to plié and pulse their way to a stronger, leaner body?
Physique 57, a unique blend of barre-based exercises using intervals of cardio, strength training, stretching and recovery, offers these five moves—that you can do anywhere—to help you improve your running performance and sculpt your abs.
This exercise is great for runners who want to increase their endurance.
Stand facing the barre and hold on to it with your hands apart, slightly wider than your shoulders. Step your feet close to the barre and sit back as if you’re sitting into a chair with your hips at knee level. This is your starting position. Pull your body toward the barre, keeping your hips as close to knee level. Stretch your arms back out, maintaining your hips on the same level. Hold the move for 30 to 60 seconds.
Targets and strengthens: Tops of your thighs, hamstrings, chest, arms and back.
Related: 4 Best Yoga Poses For Runners
This is an excellent move for hill runners.
Stand with your left hip against the barre and your right hand across your waist, creating a seatbelt. Lift your right heel up toward your right seat muscle and flex your ankle. Begin pressing your right leg back in a small motion, keeping your abdominal wall contracted. Hold move for 2 to 3 minutes on both legs.
Targets and strengthens: Abs and glutes–allowing runners to power up those hills with gusto.
Standing Deli Slicer
This move helps runners improve their posture, increase power, and gain speed.
Start a full-arms distance away from the barre. Fold your body over so that it’s in line with the barre. Bend your knees slightly and lift your left leg off the floor keeping your leg straight and toes pointed. In one swift movement, drive your left knee toward your left shoulder engaging the left oblique. Push into the barre with your hands and then lengthen your leg back out to starting position. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds each leg.
Targets and strengthens: Arms and obliques.
Related: Why Every Runner Should Try Pilates
This is a low-impact move, excellent for long-distance runners looking to improve core strength and stability.
Starting in a full plank position, engage your core. Bend your elbows into a deep push-up position bringing your right knee to your right shoulder. Repeat movement and bring your right knee across towards your left shoulder. Repeat 8 to 10 times each leg.
Targets and strengthens: Arms, chest and entire abdominal wall.
Round Back With Leg Darts
This moves improves back flexibility, a great way to keep a runner’s body nimble and reduce risks of injuries.
Sit on a cushion and prop yourself up against the wall with your hands pushing up into the barre. Bring your knees over your hips, creating a table-top position. Maintain a concave feeling in your center. If you feel like your lower back is starting to arch, your legs are too low. Begin darting out one leg at a time working for maximum extension and control from your core. Continue alternating legs. Hold 30 to 60 seconds.
Targets and strengthens: Hips, core and arms, while also increasing back flexibility.
Related: Cross Training Options For Runners