Posted on 25th January 2018 by Fiona
Pilates is a mainly mat based, body-conditioning routine designed to increase physical endurance, flexibility, posture, co-ordination, and core strength. It involves focused, controlled movements that can be modified to create different levels of difficulty.
Pilates was developed by a German, Joseph Pilates, in the early 1900’s as a form of exercise for soldiers recovering from injuries in WW1. He then adapted it for use by gymnasts and dancers. This form of Pilates is known as ‘traditional’. There are a host of other types of Pilates too, including Reformer Pilates, which utilises equipment and resistance techniques.
At goPhysio, we teach the APPI method, which is a form of clinical Pilates. The APPI Method is a research based, clinical application of improving the way a person moves and functions in their everyday life. The traditional Pilates exercises have been broken down into clearly defined levels to ensure a standard, gradual progression towards normal, functional movement. This also helps to build a strong foundation to build and progress your core strength on. The core cylinder, the focus of all Pilates movements, consists of the four abdominal groups (external oblique, internal oblique, rectus abdominis, transversus abdominis), the three lower back groups (psoas major, quadratus lumborum, spinalis) as well as the muscles of the buttocks, hips and pelvis.
The ‘core’ plays a key part for any sport – in running, the main purpose is to stabilise and support the spine and trunk, providing a strong centre for the transfer of forces. It helps to make the dynamic leg movements as efficient as possible. Strong core muscles also help to maintain good posture to maximise performance and minimise injury. Reduced core stability can cause excess movement in the trunk, through over rotation. This can lead to a poor running form, which in turn leads to increased fatigue and reduced performance potential. This is due to energy being wasted in the form of excess movement and poor control.
Pilates also has many other benefits for runners
- Helps to identify any weaknesses that inhibit your gait. It will provide you with muscular cues to help you fire and strengthen muscles that help you maintain a better running posture, which in turn will reduce the risk of injury and overuse.
- A strong, balanced body helps you maintain proper form as you fatigue. Pilates helps you loosen your hips, legs and back, all helping you keep a fluid, long stride.
- Pilates can decrease your recovery time after injury or a strenuous workout by increasing joint mobility, improving flexibility and body awareness.
- Pilates breathing encourages you to use the diaphragm and control your inhalation/exhalations to assist with movement – this translates into better control during running.
- Pilates helps to improve hip, pelvic and lumbar spine mobility & flexibility, through the movements and stretches.
We run over 20 classes a week at the clinic and even though they are aren’t targeted specifically at runners, it would be a great addition to your training regime to help with core strength, balance and improved mobility & flexibility.