Pilates for runners and running exercises can create a stronger, more flexible spine and core while promoting faster recovery from strains or injuries
Pilates for runners
Pilates for runners and running exercises can help whether you’re a competitive runner, triathlete or weekend jogger trying to lose a few kilos, there’s no doubt that running is an easy way to keep in great cardiovascular shape. But your body can take a beating – this is especially true if it develops asymmetries.
Body asymmetries develop because of poor body mechanics, causing certain muscles to become overused (a common trait in runners), while others become underused. This can result in a variety of ailments from lower back pain to hip bursitis to arterior knee problems. It can also lead to a wide variety issues for runners such as tears, strains and pulls.
Why pilates for runners?
Pilates for running exercises create a stronger, more flexible spine and core. Pilates for runners also promotes faster recovery from strains or injuries. For a runner, posture is one of the key ingredients to success. And posture is very dependent on a strong core. Pilates develops a strong core by supporting and strengthening the muscles of the torso, hips shoulders and pelvis. These can eventually lead to a huge positive difference in your posture, technique, balance and stability. It enables you to focus on where your head and neck are in relation to the spine and pelvis, on down through the legs and toes. This all adds up to more efficient movement and less chance of injury.
With proper pilates exercises runners will also see stronger stomach and gluteal muscles – the base of all their movements. For runners strong trunk stability will keep shoulders, pelvis and spine balanced and aligned so that they can generate power through the legs in order to improve speed and endurance.
For runners, proper body alignment is critical. The most commonly reported injuries occur at the ankle, knee and pelvis/lumbar spine. These injuries are often caused by overuse rather than an acute episode. Therefore runners need to be able to maintain an efficient gait pattern in order to minimise excess muscle use (overloading of soft tissue structures); leading to excess energy expenditure and increased risks of injuries.
Parts of this article were reproduced from Pilates for Running by Balanced Body, manufacturers of quality pilates equipment.
Pilates for runners will:
// Build up the back muscles evenly
// Elongate and align the spine for better stability
// Expand the diaphragm
// Increase overall flexibility, strength, and balance
// Increase range of motion in hips and shoulders
// Enhance concentration through focused breathing
// Provide more upright running
// Help bodies recover faster from injuries
// Performance Benefits
A stronger and more stable torso helps a runner:
// Run more efficiently uphill with a stabilised musculature
// Run more efficiently downhill with a stronger and more balanced sciatic area
// Experience less tightening of the neck, head and shoulders
// Increase oxygenation and stamina with a diaphragm that is able to fully expand
// Focus on proper movement with better kinaesthetic awareness
// Decrease fatigue because of less strain on the body
// Shave seconds off your times because you move more efficiently
// Run without pain!
How does Body Organics work with runners?
Body Organics can develop Pilates, Gyrotonic and CoreAlign programs specifically tailored to the needs of individual runners. These programs focus on strengthening the inner support system, which consists of the deep abdominal muscles, and the muscles closest to the spine.
The pilates for runners exercises develop core control and trunk stability by integrating the trunk, pelvis and shoulder girdle. This can teach runners how to activate their inner support system to attain maximum balance and alignment as well as correct muscle “firing” patterns.
Our pilates teachers can work with your physiotherapist and podiatrist to help improve your technique. Manual Alcazar (pictured on this page) is an exercise physiologist and pilates teacher with Body Organics who has been teaching and working with runners for many years. He has some very interesting exercises and techniques to help you improve your running speed and endurance.