A woman doing a pulsing lunge exercise

Are pulse exercises in a workout really powerful?

If you’ve ever done a barre workout, you’ve probably experienced the “hold and pulse” pain… Yes, pulse exercises are super challenging, but are they really doing anything? Is the burning like hell you feel in your muscles truly worthwhile?

What are pulse exercises?

A woman doing a pulsing squat on the beach

Pulsing is simply moving in a tiny “up and down” repetitive way (throbbing rhythmically) a part of your body.

Sounds easy right? You simply hold whatever exercise you are performing (most commonly a squat), then you start doing short pulses to engage the muscles to their fullest.

When you stay in a pulse, you shorten your range of motion and your muscles are contracting all the time, unlike a full-range move, where there is a time of release.

What are the benefits of pulse exercises?

Pulses are essentially performed in barre fitness as well as in yoga. Yep! Pulsing exercises surely come with some great benefits for your body! Thanks to light pulsing, you can achieve a toned and tighter body. But not only, you also can:

  • build endurance
  • get stronger
  • increase muscle growth
  • improve mobility and stability

First, pulses isolate the activated muscles which maximize fatigue, building muscle endurance. Second, it is also muscle exhaustion that generates a change in them, strengthening your resistance. Third, pulsing brings more blood to the muscles which increase their mass. Finally, pulsatile movements target muscles that are key stabilizers, enhancing your mobility.

Sum up

Adding that extra pulsing effort into your exercise routine is of great value. The best is to combine pulse and full-range moves together to reap the most profitable results from both.

Full-range motions target an entire muscle group while pulsing motions bring the emphasis toward major stabilizing muscles.

As an example, for a balanced workout, after completing 10 reps of a move, I then stay in the pulse for 10 seconds. I repeat this pattern 3 to 4 times.

Read the related post “why do muscles shake during a workout? Is it really a good thing?”


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  1. Thanks for telling us the benefits of pulse exercise. I believe it helps people boost their metabolism to improve people’s overall health. The key to our health is to have better control of our bodies, and pulse exercises work well on this part.

    I wonder, do you have other articles about full-range motions? If yes, I love to read them. 🙂


    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      Thank you Matt for your comment! Yes I have written an article about full-range motion moves: “why are compound moves so important?” https://fityourselfbarre.com/why-are-compound-exercises-so-important/

  2. I do those pulses sometimes although I didn’t know these exercises were called pulses 😉 I’m not consistent but when I do it I can feel the effect on my muscles. It keeps them in shape.
    Do you have any recommendations for exercises to lose belly fat?

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      Thank you for your comment Christine! I recommend full-range motion exercises to lose belly fat. They are also called compound moves or full-body exercises. You may be interested in reading my article “why are compound exercises so important?” https://fityourselfbarre.com/why-are-compound-exercises-so-important/

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