The Running Doctor: The strain of the barre technique
This new technique uses a combination of postures inspired by ballet and other disciplines like yoga and Pilates. The barre is used as a prop to balance on while doing exercises that focus on isometric strength training utilizing specific groups of muscles combined with high repetitions with limited range of motion.
At times this type of exercise can put a great deal of wear and tear on our feet, ankles, knees, hips and lower back. During such activities, there is pressure on each foot which is different from the normal body weight in motion. When one over-trains, there is the potential that can lead to injury.
It is important to recognize a delayed onset of muscle soreness the morning after a workout. There, are many warning signals of possible injury which should be evaluated very seriously before one starts back to Barre technique. These warning signals include aches, stiffness, and muscle pain caused by the strenuous workouts.
After a few day rest, when the soreness goes away, the muscles regain their strength; however, if the workout was too strenuous, and there is little relief from the stiffness and soreness that cause weakness, then it is thought that there might have been microscopic tears in the muscle fibers.
Those enrolled in barre classes must use critical thinking to find the proper method necessary both before and after the workout. There are many "workout mistakes" made by people. One of the most common mistakes is starting out too fast without the watchful eye of your Instructor. Your muscles need time to adjust to the “all out” demand that this exercise places on them. It should be realized that flexible muscles are less likely to be strained or injured.
Dr. Robert F. Weiss is a sports podiatrist specializing in foot and ankle surgery. He was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Marathon Trials. Dr. Weiss is a veteran of 35 Marathons & has a practice in Darien and resides in Westport.