No, that’s not a coaster. (And no, we’re not that kind of bar!) So what can a 7″ circular piece of plastic *really* do for your workout? You’d be surprised.
We like to think of our gliding discs as creating a “no-cheat zone” for any exercise. The inability to lift, or relax pressure away from your working side, causes you to lean into the work. This eliminates the ability to “cheat” and ultimately pull away, or rest into your supporting side, which is your body’s natural inclination when an exercise gets heavy or difficult. As we like to say, there is a drastic difference in moving small, and moving in the form of a muscle contraction. This is why barre typically gets harder the longer you stick with it, as you learn how to truly perform each exercise correctly. The discs give you a short cut to help you make that mind-body connection quickly, by effectively engaging your muscles and working through your own body weight, instead of working away from it.
Here’s our top 3 reasons why we’re now using these discs in ALL of our Neighborhood Barre classes:
- It improves your balance. It may sound initially underwhelming, but think of the domino effect of balancing. When your body encounters instability, you have to fight harder to regain balance. This fires up multiple muscles and engages predominantly your trunk, or core, to refocus and find control. All the muscles in your legs and core must synchronize to keep you from falling. In order to slide from one position to the next, you need to maintain constant tension in the muscles, both the prime movers and the stabilizers, during the full range of movement on a slippery surface. Whether you are moving your hands or your feet, you’ll be performing both concentric and eccentric muscle contractions during nearly every move. This allows your muscles to become engaged through their full range of motion, and the long movements are also a great way to increase your flexibility.
- It’s completely safe to use. When people are met with a new challenge, like the instability of using something like a disc, they immediately deem it to be ‘harder’ and therefore consider it an ‘advanced’ option. That’s actually completely untrue. Discs are commonly used in PT and rehab facilities because it’s one of the safest pieces of equipment for exercise available. Your hands or feet never leave the floor, so it’s a total body workout that provides little-to-no impact. If you’ve had a recent injury or have joint issues, gliding keeps your feet and hands on the floor but lets you move in all planes of motion without impact to your joints, or unnecessary pain through the use of weighted or heavier equipment.
- You manifest a deeper connection to your muscles. Ever felt like you were unsure if you were doing an exercise correctly in class? These discs are a game changer because you feel them working right away! They create resisting movement in both directions, creating a ‘push-pull’ effect that helps your muscles engage correctly. This allows you to be more present in your workout, and fully utilize the mind-body connection that ultimately optimizes your results in barre class. You have to slow down and focus to synch your movements, stabilize your core, and use multiple muscles in your body. Expect to see greater muscle control in your hips, glutes, hamstrings, abdominal and postural muscles when using our discs.
So where can you find these discs at Neighborhood Barre exactly?
- In a Barre All Levels class exercise 1 – 2 times weekly.
- In 1- 2 exercises in each of our BarrePOWER and BarreHIIT classes.
- In EVERY exercise in our BarreCORE class.
Remember, we’re all about modifications, so ask your instructor how you can best utilize the discs in an exercise to suit your body.