Running is generally a uniplanar activity since the movement occurs mostly in the sagittal plane (moving forward
and hopefully not or backward). The muscles that support movement in the transverse and frontal planes are left untrained. Runners should choose a cross-training activity that lets the overworked muscles rest and heal while properly working all the other muscles that are usually underdeveloped. Pilates works the core and the extremities in all body planes that will help runners achieve maximum stability.
Here are some other reasons why Pilates is good for runners:
- Pilates is a functional exercise and conditions the whole body through natural and flowing movements. This helps develop a runners coordination.
- Pilates is a body and mind workout that assists in improving proprioception – knowing where your body and extremities are in space. This is important for runners to keep their balance since the movement in running is done on alternating single leg (imagine balancing on one leg, then alternating between legs at a fast pace). This also helps runners to maintain proper footing especially on uneven surface which would help prevents slips and sprains.
- The Breathing Principle of Pilates engages the right muscles and would help runners breathe efficiently and maintain correct running posture.
- Overall stamina will improve as muscular endurance in the abdominals, pelvis, hip, and back increase. This is important especially for long distance runs.
- Pilates combines strengthening the agonist (contracting) muscle while actively stretching the antagonist (opposite) muscle, which will increase range of motion on joints and improve a runner’s flexibility.
- Pilates is a diverse exercise that can be very challenging! There’s a widespread misconception that Pilates is only for girls because the exercises are usually done in a mat and doesn’t use dumbbells, and because women usually outnumber the men who practice Pilates. It may be surprising for some to find out that even NFL players do Pilates! The bodyweight resistance component of Pilates is actually what makes it challenging. DeMarcus Ware, a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys said “Power is nothing without a rock-solid core. Pilates is the key to activating it. Guys, don’t be fooled just ’cause women do it. It’s no joke. Try it and you’ll find out real quick.“
- ========== o ==========Many athletes and even Olympians do Pilates as their cross training because of the improvements in strength, flexibility, balance, and control that it offers. Lola Jones, a World Champion Hurdler said “When my core strength is at its peak, I can run more efficiently and maintain that extra edge.”
Also, Lawrence Frank who is the
HeadAssistant Coach of the New Jersey Nets (now known as the Brooklyn Nets, with Jason Kidd as the Head Coach at the time of this writing.) said “Pilates [is] an excellent conditioning tool for the NBA. The strength, agility and performance of my players have increased and Pilates has become such an essential part of our workouts that we take a reformer to our away games. I even have a Reformer for my own home use.”
The core training that Pilates offers help improve running efficiency, flexibility, and minimize risk for injury. The dynamic and challenging exercises of Pilates makes it one of the best options for cross-training.
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