Muscle is a contractile tissue. Its function is to produce force and create movement. There are three different types of muscle in the body: cardiac, smooth and the one we’re interested in, skeletal muscle.
Skeletal muscle can be subdivided into two different types of muscle fibres with very different roles. For those people wanting to work on toning, lengthening and postural muscles, they need to target the type-1 ‘slow twitch’ muscle fibres, whilst those wanting to bulk up must focus on the type-2 ‘fast twitch’ fibres.
Type-1 fibres are the endurance and postural muscles and to target these we need to do low impact exercises with a high number of repetitions. This will ensure that we tone rather than add bulk. Whatever type of muscle toning work we decide to do, however, it is important that we do not neglect our flexibility. There is no point having toned muscles if they are so tight that they restrict range of movement.
Rachel’s unique combination of specific exercises which make up a ballet fitness routine have been carefully designed to optimize muscle tone and length, resulting in strong, flexible limbs and a firmer core.
Aside from the obvious ‘bio-mechanical’ benefits to be enjoyed from attending a ballet fitness class, it mustn’t be underestimated just how hard the heart and lungs have to work in a typical 60 minute session. Improvements to fitness levels can be felt in a matter of weeks, not only having a profound effect on day-to-day activities, but on perceived energy levels.