What makes willPower Barre-Fusion® different than other barre programs?
We never disparage other programs. There is a place and space for every program, and barre is tremendously successful. Many willpower Method® programs were developed after stepping back and watching the weakness that students have while performing other programs. willPower “fills in the blanks” and gives an alternative to these issues. Here’s how we are different than the rest.
We’re never stuck behind bars.
willPower is based in FUNCTION – we want to give our students the freedom to perform well in everyday life. In a traditional barre class students use a barre for balance. Gripping the barre or leaning into the barre can compromise the alignment of the body. When our students are required to stand upright, without having access to an additional point of contact, they will learn to LIFT from their gluteus medius (lateral butt muscle) instead of “dumping into” their hip. They will also be using their peroneals (lower lateral leg muscles – the group that stabilizes the ankle) much more. Remember: the Peroneal Longus is the muscle that runs along the lateral lower leg and inserts at the first Metatarsal! This is the muscle that forms the arch of the foot.
Dependence on outside forces
A foundational posture of classical ballet is the turn-out position, which is used often in barre classes. This position can place a lot of strain on your ankles, knees and lower back, which if not done correctly can cause injury. Many barre classes use of small weights when doing upper body work and a lot of core work. “Increased stress to the lumbar spine can occur if attention to spinal alignment while either lifting, or performing abdominal exercises, is lacking”. http://www.metro.us/lifestyle/how-to-not-get-injured-in-barre-class/tmWmgr—d7AEYsVmee4c/ So – we just do things differently in willPower :).
In barre-fusion®, working without the barre, emphasis is placed on strengthening the Gluteus Medius.
“With the leg in neutral position (straightened), the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus function together to pull the thigh away from midline, or “abduct” the thigh. In single leg balance during normal gait, these two muscles, in conjunction with the tensor fasciae latae, function to support the body on one leg for a microsecond – during each and every step. These muscles prevent the pelvis from dropping to the opposite side”.
“Additionally, with the hip flexed the gluteus medius and minimus internally rotate the thigh. With the hip extended, the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus internally rotate the thigh. This internal rotation force does not actually draw the hip inwards, rather it acts to prevent external rotation. Without this action, or in the presence of pathology, the knee would migrate inwards (valgus), creating stress on the structures at the hip, knee and foot”.
We want to help our clients achieve stronger glutes, in order stabilize the hip. This is one way that barre-fusion® is different from the rest.
Based in Foot Fitness
Barre-Fusion® focuses on using the foundation of the body: your feet. We highlight and emphasize the Smart Toes/Doming exercises, during all single leg balance postures. Your Podiatrist will refer to this exercise as similar to “Short Foot”, which is an exercise for the intrinsic muscles in the plantar foot: namely the abductor hallucis. When you apply short foot you focus on the great toe and press it into the ground. Your arch increases and the ball of the foot lifts from the ground.
With smart toes we use all ten toes to grip the ground, focusing on lifting the arch off the ground and holding isometrically. In both exercises when we apply what is taught, the Lateral Subsystem of the body gets stronger. The Lateral Subsystem is comprised of your, Gluteus Medius, Adductors, Quadratus Lumborum, and Tensor Fasciae Latae. “This subsystem plays a key role in the optimal alignment of the hip joint, pelvis, sacroiliac joint and lumbar spine. Most notably the maintenance of pelvic neutral in the frontal plane with the spine perpendicular to it. This subsystem is likely most active during single-leg stance and frontal plane movement patterns”.
Another tremendous benefit of Barre-Fusion® is the emphasis of our Gluteal Sulcus, AKA the Gluteal Fold, or crease of the buttocks. As we age this area tends to “turn off”, and we end up looking like we have more than one fold. (yikes!) In your cues, you must emphasize the engagement the gluteal fold during the uplifting action of the exercise, or the concentric phase of the exercise. In other words – we ALWAYS cue the lift UP. “Squeeze Up, Up Up“.
- We practice Single Leg Balance without relying on the Barre, or other contact point.
- We actively coach and emphasize Smart Toes / Doming.
- We actively coach strong upright posture with emphasis placed on an elongated, decompressed spine
- We actively coach glutes: up, up, up – using the glutes as hip extensors.
- Be a strong coach: LOOK at your students, hands- on-adjust, work with discipline. Remember this is not a WHOO-HOO format. This class is a practice and discipline.
Benefits of willPower Barre-Fusion®:
- Ballet inspired movements that create long, lean dancer like physique
- Elements of ballet, Pilates, yoga and functional training for a strong core
- Relies on own body weight (equipment-free!)
- Tiny isolated movements; targeting and fatiguing specific muscles and encouraging endurance, strength, tone
- Tough on muscles but soft on joints, keeps students safe from injuries.
- Accessible for all levels, great for older adults, prenatal, injured
- Includes strong flexibility component
- Targets largest muscle groups- thighs and gluteus, which builds lean muscles (increases muscle mass) yielding higher Base Metabolic Rate (BMR)
- Alignment based-postural work is emphasized
- Weight bearing exercise: may increase bone density