Whether you’re are serious marathon runner or just a casual runner on a treadmill you would obviously be looking at improving your speed or efficiency and the best way to do this is if you can manage to run without pain or injury.
Pilates complements running beautifully in that it focuses on strengthening the core muscles of your body namely the muscles around your back, hips and pelvis and the deepest layer of your abdominals called the transversus abdominus or simply (the TA)
Stabilizing the core results in smoother and more efficient movements in the rest of the body such as your arms and legs.
Most runners (especially the casual runners) don’t think about how they are running..I mean you put on your shoes and go right? Whats there to think about? Well lots actually…
When you run you are using you hip flexors to lift and pull the top of the front leg forward and the quadriceps to extend the knee joint and muscles around the ankle to flex your foot as you prepare to land on it. You also use the hip extensors (muscles around the back of your legs and your gluteals) to pull the leg back after you land. It is important to ensure that all the while you are maintaining a good posture and neutral alignment of your body; not going into a posterior tilt or an anterior tilt of the pelvis. Its important to keep the shoulders over the hips, open out the chest, keep the legs (femurs) facing forward and not turning in and having the knee, ankle and foot aligned.
When you run incorrectly supporting muscles begin to take over functions that they were not intended to perform resulting in aches and pains, stiffness and eventually injury.
- Pilates helps create a supple, strong and agile body
- Pilates focuses on creating dynamic stability i.e. stability while your body is in any kind of movement (running)
- Pilates breathing is great for better blood circulation, oxygenation of muscles
- Pilates evens out imbalances created by incorrect form while running which results in over or under utilization of certain muscles
- It works on multiple muscle groups
- Creates better body awareness and posture
- Pilates creates long lean muscles and not bulk – lengthening of muscles that are typically tight in runners (calves, hamstrings, hip flexors)
A good Pilates instructor should be able to retrain your mind (over time) to not just think differently about how you move but actually get you to experience it and therefore use it in your next run!