For good health, you need a mix of strength training and cardio. Many people considering barre Pilates wonder whether this workout conveniently checks off both boxes. The truth is that barre was created specifically to be an all-body workout that provides intervals of cardio, strength and stretching to give you a more thorough and balanced workout.
What happens at a barre class?
Generally, a barre class will involve some time on the mat doing warm up exercises that can include planks and push-ups. This will be followed by a series of arm exercises and a section that focus on muscles in the lower body. The movements are generally small, a few inches at a time. While it may seem like such small movements can’t possibly be an adequate workout, you will begin feeling the effort right away. Our classes are fast-paced and infused with music that makes you move, so you’re sure to get the cardio workout you need.
How can you tell whether you are getting a cardio workout?
Cardiovascular exercise is all about raising your heart rate. You are getting a cardio workout when your heart rate gets up to 50 to 75% of your maximum heart rate. Your maximum heart rate is easy to calculate. The quick and dirty trick is to subtract your age from 220. So, if you are 36 years old, your equation will look like this: 220-36=184.
From there, you can find your cardio rate with a bit more math. Fifty percent of 184 is 192 (184*.5). To find 75%, multiply 184 by .75 (138 beats per minute).
An inexpensive heart rate monitor worn during class can tell you whether you are hitting the cardio zone during your barre Pilates workout. Fitness monitors like Fitbits will, if you input some basic information into their associated apps, calculate your cardio range for you.
What are the benefits of cardio?
When you work out your cardiovascular system, they get stronger just like any other part of your body. Your heart and lungs get a workout, making them stronger. Plus, you get into a zone where your body is burning calories more rapidly, which is a boon if you are working out for weight loss.
Stronger hearts and lungs don’t have to work as hard to do their job, which means less stress on your system overall. Cardio is associated with living longer and staying healthier, too.
What if I’m not getting a cardio workout?
If you are new to barre Pilates, you may be going easier on yourself than you will once you’ve gotten more experienced. Give it a few classes to see how your endurance and your ability to push harder develop over time. You can also talk to your instructor about how you can focus more on cardio during class for a more balanced workout. You can also mix up your class schedule to incorporate a blend of classes that involve strength, flexibility and cardio workouts for the most well-rounded practice.