Are you a runner looking to improve strength, mobility and endurance to advance your running workouts and reduce the risk of injury? Pilates has been gaining momentum as a tool for runners, providing low-impact workouts to help them both prepare for short and long races and improve their overall training regimen.
Pilates can help runners ease the symptoms of overwork in the main muscle areas that see exertion, wear and tear each time you hit the pavement. It can also help runners increase core strength, especially in areas of weakness that can cause them to overcompensate with other muscles, resulting in injuries.
Adding Pilates to your workouts can help runners improving core strength, balance, coordination, and posture. For runners and non-runners alike, Pilates has been shown to reduce lower back pain, decrease body fat, improve flexibility, and support mental well-being. Julie Gagnon-Erickson — the owner and Founder of Endurance Pilates and Yoga provides her top tips for runners.
Here are a few simple Pilates moves to help you begin:
Rollups- Starting from a seated position, arms reaching over legs, stabilize the legs and roll the pelvis back away from the legs, pause at the tailbone and return to the start position. Roll back a little further each time, ensuring that you are able to return to the start position with controlled movement. Continue to add additional range with every repetition until you are rolling completely up from and down to the floor. Repeat ten times,
Teasers- From a seated position, knees bent, and inner thighs glued tight together, arms extended in front of shoulders. Roll the pelvis back until the tailbone touches the mat three times. Keep the thighs together and extend the right leg to a long diagonal three times. Repeat with the left leg extended. Straighten both legs and roll back to the tailbone three times. Try rolling all the way down without moving the legs three times.
Control Balance — Assume the plank position, with your shoulders over your wrists and legs extended behind you. Keep your core and butt muscles engaged and maintain a straight line from head to heels. Breath in and as you exhale, lift your right leg off the floor, stopping when your heel is in line with your butt and your back is straight, not arched. Keep your leg straight with your abs engaged for one to two seconds and then lower your leg to the starting position. Alternate sides, completing ten reps each.
Sidekicks — Lie on your right side with your right arm underneath and supporting your head and your legs straight out. Place your left hand on the floor in front of you for support. Engage your core muscles, breath in and on your exhale, lift the top leg in a straight line parallel to the floor. Kick the leg forward and back as far as you can, holding for one second in each position. Repeat ten times on each side. Lift the top leg as high as possible without moving the hips for ten repetitions. Draw five circles in each direction, allowing the top foot to touch the bottom foot each time.
As an experienced fitness enthusiast, Julie Gagnon-Erickson highly recommends Pilates as a proactive means to increase one’s overall muscle strength and flexibility.
Check out more on Julie Gagnon-Erickson here.