WHAT EVERY RUNNER NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT PILATES….
WHAT IS PILATES?
Pilates is often compared to yoga, but they actually have very different backgrounds. While yoga is a centuries-old practice with close links to spirituality, Pilates is a mind and body conditioning technique developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s. Pilates is a balanced blend of low impact strength and flexibility exercises that improve posture, increase flexibility and core strength. Classes may include the use of various pieces of equipment such as stability balls, resistance bands, foam rollers.
“Pilates is great for retraining normal movement patterns throughout the body that have changed due to injury or stiffness” says Tracy Bradley, founder of Bradley Physio Pilates.
WHY SHOULD RUNNERS DO PILATES?
Most of us pay very little attention to how we move our bodies over different terrains to achieve the ultimate goal of reaching our target distance within a certain time.
Pilates enables you to focus on slow, deliberate, and appropriate movement, ensuring you use your body in the most efficient way possible without causing injury. Perfect posture lies at the heart of every movement and strengthening the body through these normal movement patterns will then allow you to retrain your running style, even when the body is under extreme pressure.
The core or “centre” is used to control the pelvis and trunk as you move your arms & legs, to prevent excessive & abnormal movement throughout the body and utilising your energy in the most efficient way possible. The human body moves as a whole system and if one part is compromised it will inevitably affect other areas too.
Breathing control is also one of the key elements of Pilates. Becoming aware of how you breathe and utilising your diaphragm to its maximum potential will help ensure you get the required levels of oxygen to your muscles and relieve tension whilst running.
In a recent study, trained runners who took part in a 12-week course of pilates (two one-hour sessions each week) significantly improved their 5K time, VO2 max (the maximum amount of oxygen that an individual can utilize during intense, or maximal exercise) and the metabolic cost (energy used) when running.
Excellent core stability is essential for good running technique and help to avoid injury. As we fatigue we often adopt very odd running styles just to get us over the finish line!
“When running a mild imbalance in strength or movement pattern can lead to problems. As the body fatigues these alterations in running technique will be exaggerated and due to the repetitive nature or this sport, will eventually lead to injury – a small change can have huge consequences” says Tracy.
WHAT IS MATWORK PILATES?
Small Group Matwork Pilates classes take place on the floor and can be done without any equipment or with small items to make it more challenging (such as balls, bands and rollers). Pilates matwork exercises are done on the floor without Pilates machines. In either case the attention to the flow of movement and to the core muscles is the same and both can be a challenging workout in their own way.
BENEFITS OF PHYSIO LED SMALL GROUP MATWORK PILATES CLASSES?
Generally, the goal of a Matwork Pilates class is to strengthen the body’s “powerhouse,” a Pilates term that refers to your abdominals, lower back muscles, pelvic floor, hips and gluteal muscles. Pilates can aid in flexibility and improving posture, as stretching your body is a vital part of each class.
You can do matwork anywhere, in particular before and after your run.
A physiotherapist is specifically trained in the prevention of injury and when this knowledge is incorporated into a small group pilates class your performance will be enhanced and the risk of injury greatly reduced.
“You will find you incorporate the principles of Pilates into everything you do, but more importantly, it will help to prevent injury whilst running and improve your performance”