PILATES FOR VARIOUS SPORTS & ATHLETES
The fundamentals of Pilates emphasize balance, mobility and breathing, while strengthening the core muscles that support running. Breathing patterns and body mechanics are essential to performing Pilates movements correctly, which easily translate into a runner's breathing patterns and posture to improve form and efficiency.
Posture is one of the most influential factors in a runner's gait. Pilates helps you identify areas of weakness that can inhibit running posture and learn muscular cues to help fire the muscles surrounding the diaphragm, spine, ribs and hips in such a way to maintain better posture through a run.
For injured runners or athletes, Pilates has the potential to aid in recovery. At Bodylicious Pilates equipment such as Reformer and Chair are used during rehabilitation sessions. Pilates helps to improve balance, mobility and stability throughout the body to create a proper foundation from which to generate running movements."
Think of the running body as an automobile
Most runners get injured not because of a poor engine, but rather because of a poor foundation that can't keep up with the strong engine of the cardiovascular system.
Although just like any workout routine, it takes time and persistence to fully appreciate the benefits of Pilates, runners and non-runners alike will become more self-aware of their body positioning and breathing after just a few sessions.
Pilates is all about strength and flexibility of the body by focusing on the core muscle groups. As cyclists tend to have highly developed legs, and pay little attention to upper body muscular conditioning. Most of us think of “upper body conditioning” as weight lifting and adding unwanted bulk. Pilates promotes lean strong muscles.
What does a strong core do for cyclists anyway?
Core strength will help transfer more power to the pedals by providing a solid platform for the lower body to push against. Riding with a weak core can be compared to putting a Porsche engine inside a Hyundai chassis. You can have all the power in the world but with a weak chassis the power will dissipate elsewhere.
At Bodylicious exercises are targeted to develop strength in the deep intrinsic muscles of the abdomen and spine, taking pressure off the superficial muscles and promoting more balanced and efficient use. This kind of inner strength training, along with Pilates’ focus on alignment and torso stability will support you as a cyclist through those long rides.
Pilates is an excellent way for cyclists to acquire more core strength which helps support the lower back. Many riders complain about lower back pain and this is the first area that fatigues on a long ride or time trial. Because of a cyclist’s position they usually have quite rounded shoulders.
Have you noticed the body language of a tired cyclist? The chest drops so that the neck has to bend unnaturally to hold the head up, and all the weight falls into the front of the arms, the deltoids, biceps and forearms.
Pilates helps you become more self-aware about what each part of your body is doing on and off the bike. This awareness allows you to correct the things that will increase your speed and power and enjoyment on the bike.
For swimmers, proper body alignment is critical. Swimmers need to work with the water and the slightest misalignment can cause them to work against it. Much of a swimmer’s training, however, focuses on working the outside musculature system. It does not work the inside 'stabilizing' system. This bilateral imbalance leaves a swimmer open to misalignments which make certain parts of the body work harder than they should. That can add seconds to a competitive time or even worse to a variety of tears, pulls or strains
At Bodylicious exercises focus on strengthening this inner support system which consists of the deep abdominal muscles, and the muscles closest to the spine. Pilates can teach swimmers how to activate their inner support system to attain maximum balance and alignment as well as correct muscle "firing" patterns. This means the muscles activate when they should, within the dynamic of a particular movement.
Swimmers will also see stronger stomach muscles, which are the base of all their movements. For a swimmer a strong core will keep scapula, shoulders, pelvis and spine balanced and aligned so that they can lift their arms up and out of the water without the usual straining of the neck muscles, leading to less overall wear and tear on the body and a faster swim. In addition, Pilates exercises are performed at a deliberate pace, with proper mind-body control. This approach translates well to the pool, where many swimmers need to concentrate less on how far they have gone and more on breathing, body orientation and balance for a steadier race.
Hit the ball farther, straighter and more accurately with less chance of injury…
Whether twisting the body on a drive, squatting down to measure a putt or leaning over to pick up a ball, golfers constantly torque their bodies. Golf requires repeating many of the same essential movements and as a result, some muscles become overused while others are weakened. This can cause a major imbalance.
For a golfer, muscle imbalances can affect the legs, hips, arms, shoulders and even the lower back. It can also affect your game, particularly for those over the age of 50. Your drives may be shorter and less accurate, your stamina may decrease, and the potential for debilitating strains, pulls and tears becomes much higher.
Pilates is based on movement from the centre of the body, as are most shots in golf. It strengthens the centre of the body, also known as the core. Core strength can improve hip rotation, range of motion in the shoulders and back stability leading to more powerful and accurate golf shots. It is also a full body exercise that works all muscles and is easy on the joints. The end result is a flexible, symmetrically muscled body that is strengthened from the inside out.
A stronger and more stable core helps golfers:
• Attain an optimal backswing and follow-through with increased range of motion in shoulders
• Get more distance and power with added hip and torso flexibility
• Have a stronger and bigger hip turn for greater power through rotation
• Create a smoother and more powerful swing due to evenly conditioned back muscles
• Maximize balance and alignment while rotating
• Decrease fatigue with less strain on the body
There’s more to surfing than just ‘surfing’
The buzz that surfers get when gliding across the open face of a wave is, for them, what it’s all about. However there’s much, much more to surfing than the individual components of riding the actual wave, There’s also paddling out, duck diving, paddling for waves, taking off, taking the drop, getting caught inside, getting dumped, getting held down and struggling against rips and currents. To handle this wide array of highlights and challenges a surfer needs a combination of strength, cardio fitness, agility and flexibility.
Why is this important for surfers?
For surfers, proper body alignment is critical. When they’re surfing they need to work with the competing forces of momentum, gravity and water, with the slightest misalignment or misjudgement causing them to work against those forces. However much of a surfer’s training focuses the outside musculature system. It does not work the inside ‘stabilising’ system. This bilateral imbalance leaves a surfer open to misalignments that make certain parts of the body work harder than they should. That can contribute to tears, pulls and strains.
Benefits of Pilates for surfers
The lower back, pelvis and hip joints need to move through extreme ranges of movement during many surfing manoeuvres, whether they are planned manoeuvres or unexpected wipe-outs! A targeted Bodylicious Pilates program can help to support and protect your lower back, as well as improve range of movement in your pelvis and hip joints. It can develop greater core strength, power and speed through your surfing turns whilst developing improved balance and control in your surfing.