Last month, Pat Karlsson Backe, owner of Essential Elements Movement, joined us in taking a closer look at the benefits of Pilates for runners and walkers. This month, we’ll go over several Pilates mat exercises that can easily be incorporated into your daily workouts!
With its emphasis on building fluid and efficient movement, Pilates strengthens muscles primarily used in the running/walking gait. While running and walking, the primary muscles engaged are your quads, hamstrings, glutes, hips, and calves, while the supporting muscles include your upper and lower abdominals, biceps, and intercostals (used for breathing). The exercises develop strength, breath control is focused, and any imbalances that have the potential of contributing to injury are addressed. Several of the most common running injuries including runner’s knee, stress fractures, IT band syndrome, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, muscle pulls, ankle sprains, and shin splints are all due in large part to muscle strength imbalances, insufficient flexibility, improper biomechanics, and lack of strength to support increased stress and intensity.
This article addresses several benefits of Pilates for runners.
The advantages of Pilates are also relevant to the increasing popularity of the sport of triathlon, which involves swimming, cycling, and running. Efficiency in all three sports involves correct technique, ideal posture, and is also largely impacted by core strength, pre-existing injuries, and current range of motion. Naturally, Pilates works towards making these stronger and healthier, increasing the chances of a more successful and injury free performance.
Here is a great article on Pilates for Triathletes!
Part One – [http://www.pilatesdigest.com/ready-to-tri-pilates/]
Now it is your turn! Here are a few easy mat exercises that Pat has used that will help strengthen the weaker muscles and reduce risk of muscle imbalance injuries that runners of all types and ability levels can incorporate to improve their running.
Standing Pilates Stance Heel Lifts
– First 4mins of video
Side Lying Leg Series – Strengthens glute medius and stabilizes hips
Leg Circles – Stabilizes hips and moves legs through rotation
Swimming – Thoracic extension and hip stability
If you would like to contact Pat to learn more about Pilates, check out her website at www.essentialelementsmovement.com.