Why Every Runner Should Do Pilates
Runners should be spending time in a Pilates studio
Running is a high impact sport. It’s hard on the joints, and it’s repetitive motions create muscle imbalances that leave runners prone to injury. That’s why spending some time in a Pilates studio is great for runners. Pilates increases your flexibility and targets the core muscles you might never reach during hours of running, and specifically strengthens the hip flexors, glutes, pelvic floor musculature.
Consistently spending time doing Pilates can even make you a better runner. In a recent study in Plos One, researchers found a significant improvement in running performance among runners who practiced Pilates for two hours a week over the course of three months. If you feel like you’ve hit a wall with your running, Pilates might be the answer. But just in case you need more convincing, here’s why Pilates is good for runners.
1. Pilates strengthens your core
The internal and external obliques, transversus abdominis, paraspinals and pelvic floor musculature work together to stabilize a runner’s pelvis and lumber spine. As your legs and arms move during a run, your deep core muscles activate keeping your hips properly aligned. It’s important for all of these muscles to stay strong so that you can maintain proper running form. Otherwise, you’re susceptible to back, hip, thigh and pelvic injuries.
2. Pilates makes you more flexible
Pilates is all about lengthening, as well as strengthening, your muscles. Running builds shorter, bulkier muscles, which are most susceptible to injuries. In contrast, Pilates stretches and elongates your muscles, increasing your flexibility. There’s nothing wrong with exercises that bulk up your muscles, but Pilates balances your physique. You’ll be flexible and strong – and that means you’re less likely to be injured.
3. Pilates teaches you to control your breath
Rhythmic breathing can help you coordinate your footstrike with inhalation and exhalation while you run. This matters a great deal, because as you exhale you loosen your diaphragm and other abdominal muscles, which creates instability at your core. Core instability can contribute to running injuries, particularly when they happen at the moment of greatest impact.
Deep breathing in Pilates classes will help you control your breath better as you run, improving that critical core stability. Part of practicing Pilates is developing breath control, as you activate specific muscles. Throughout your workout you will harness the power of breath to enhance your athletic performance, improve your focus, and contribute to your positive well-being.
4. Pilates is a physical challenge
Runners aren’t afraid of a good challenge, and Pilates certainly is one. Your time in the Pilates studio forces you to focus on muscles that don’t always get used on the trail. It won’t be long before you start feeling the burn. And, as a dedicated runner, you’ll know how to keep pushing through, and you’ll see real results.
5. Pilates Reformer classes can help with knee problems
It’s not always easy to correct hip, knee, and ankle alignment issues, especially on your own without some guidance. Visiting a Pilates studio gives you options. Working on Pilates equipment, such as the Reformer, can work your stabilizing muscles, particularly the hamstrings, quadriceps and gastrocnemius.
The Reformer isolates the different muscle groups so that you can strengthen without further injury. Runners also particularly benefit from using the jump board, which can be attached to the Reformer, and is a great tool for creating a fun and cardiovascular workout without impact to the joints.
6. Pilates sculpts your muscles
Pilates conditions your whole body, literally from head to toe. You’ll notice a flatter abdomen, leaner legs, stronger arms, and toned glutes. Pilates can help you tackle the problem areas that running doesn’t always touch, helping you look as fit as you actually are. It may not be the reason you work out, but it’s a nice additional benefit.
Visit our Chicago Pilates studio today
It’s never been easier to get instructions for Pilates from an online site or a video streaming service, but even elite athletes benefit from the experienced eye of an instructor. We can correct your form, introduce you to the equipment, and make sure you’re doing the most challenging workout possible.
The best part is that, since Pilates is low impact, you can mix it with your running routine all week long, without further stressing your joints. Roll out your mat before you hit the pavement or visit a Pilates studio for some focused work with an instructor. It’s time to take your running to the next level.