Pilates is the ultimate cross training exercise for runners because it offers a full body exercise, builds core strength and is low impact on the joints. Maintaining a Pilates routine can help you run faster and more efficiently. Building greater core strength and control, leads to improved posture and a more efficient running form. Some people even use Pilates as therapeutic tool for recovering from injury.
Practicing Pilates regularly builds body awareness. Being aware of how our bodies move through space equips us to move more efficiently and gracefully - with ease. Improving posture = greater balance. Who doesn't want that? Pilates will help strengthen your weak muscles and lengthen tight, overused muscles.
New to Pilates? Try incorporating the following Pilates exercises BEFORE you go on your next run. If you want to learn more about Pilates or are interested in private lessons, please get in touch.
Begin seated with your legs extended straight out in front of you and wide on the mat. Extend the arms straight out to the sides. Take an inhale, then twist your torso to the right and reach left hand forward to the outside of right foot. Exhale as you reach the arm and twist the torso trying to find as much length as possible. Anchor the opposing hip to the mat. Inhale as you return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Do 5 on each side.
THE ROLL UP
Lie supine (face up) on a mat with your legs extended straight out and your feet together. Extend your arms overhead and inhale to prepare. Exhale, nod your chin to chest, and draw arms forward. When wrists are directly above shoulders, lift the chest to peel your back off the mat one vertebrae at a time. Continue to reach forward and scoop the belly as you fold up and over the legs as far as you can without straining. Stay in this shape. Take an inhale here, then exhale as you roll backward until your shoulders are on the mat. Perform 5 to 10 repetitions.
SINGLE STRAIGHT LEG STRETCH
Lie supine on the mat with your legs extended straight up to the ceiling. Lift your head, neck and chest off the mat to reach both hands towards the right leg. Take hold as close to the right ankle as possible. Simultaneously, reach the left leg away - across the room. Then, gently pulse the right leg toward you twice. Exhale with each pulse and try to keep your right leg as straight as possible. Inhale and switch legs. Repeat. Continue to alternate. Perform 5 reps on each side.
Begin lying prone (face down) with your hands next to armpits. Keep your chin slightly tucked and neck relaxed throughout the entire movement. Inhale and lift your upper body by pressing the hands into the mat, lengthening through the front of the body and extending out of the crown of the heard. Exhale to return to starting position. Perform 5 to 10 reps.