Runners need to stay in top shape and while the act of running provides many of the benefits that athletes who partake in the sport need, they often prefer to supplement with other training modalities to enhance their performance. Whether the goal is to improve flexibility, endurance or agility, exercises like pilates have a myriad of benefits for runners.
Pilates is a popular training exercise because it can often improve performance in many sports including running, soccer, tennis, skiing and more. Here’s how pilates can specifically provide benefits to runners:
A strong core is not abdominal strength, but it includes the entire torso, which includes the abdominals, hips, back and even shoulders and neck. Pilates exercises help to build a stronger core by balancing out the strength and acting as a stabilizer for the center so that force is transferred better during runs. Pilates helps athletes to better maximize force during such activities with better control.
Endurance & Speed
Many runners understand that a strong, balanced body helps create better form to help guards against fatigue. Practicing pilates helps runners loosen the muscles in their legs and backs, hips that allow for a longer, more fluid stride. Pilates also assists in strengthening and improving flexibility in the psoas, the abdominal muscles connecting the femurs and the spinal column which help when flexing and rotating the leg and trunk of the body.
Postural imbalances during running only serve to heighten the risk of injury. A top priority for each athlete should be to improve their core stability by learning how to balance their posture. Stability should be considered the first focus, with movement the second. The stability protects the spine and surrounding areas from being injured during movement. Pilates aids in better movement patterns and encourages athletes to improve their posture. In doing so, runners are less likely to injure themselves or even reinjure the same area. Plus, pilates can help us notice our weaknesses within the gait. Muscular cues identified during training can help strengthen these muscles and help us achieve better posture.
Regularly practicing pilates can also improve the time it takes to recover from an injury or other difficult workout. It allows for better joint mobility, enhanced flexibility and better awareness of our bodies. Muscles will be in much better condition when practiced regularly, so that runners can feel less tired, sore and tense after a long run.
Pilates not only helps build strength, it also enhances balance which decreases with age. Regularly engaging in pilates has often found improvements with balance and maintaining over time. Runners who have tripped over rocks or other obstacles while running tend to understand how balance helps position our core muscles to aid in our safety and overall well-being when on the trail.
Implementing pilates can prove to be a game-changer for those hoping to enhance their physicality and endurance when running. There’s no downsides to supplementing your running routine with pilates throughout the week as it can help any runner acquire their maximum athletic potential.