By Lynne Robinson.
Pilates for runners – the best moves to try
Correct posture and core stability is essential for a good running technique, which is at the centre of pilates practice. Spine curls before your sprint? Give it a go to warm up and help to rebalance your body. It’s actually not so about much the fact that you’re stretching and strengthening, it’s the fact that you’re working in good alignment. That’s why pilates for runners is such a good idea. Even small adjustments can make all the difference to your run, something that becomes even more important as we age and need to work harder to maintain levels of fitness.
Why should runners do pilates?
Controlling your alignment and breathing will help with your core stability. This is essential for a good running technique, you may think you’re just running using mainly your legs but you also engage your lower abdomen muscles. In terms of runners, sometimes a slight imbalance in the body will go on to create problems because it’s such a repetitive movement that you’re doing. Even a small adjustment in your posture or in your core stability can make a huge impact.
My top 5 pre-run moves
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet in parallel on the floor.
- Breathe out as you curl your tailbone under, tilting your pelvis backwards as you peel your spine off the mat one vertebra at a time, lengthening your knees away from your hips. Roll up to the tips of the shoulder blades.
- Breathe in and hold the position, focusing on the length in your spine. Breathe out as you roll the spine back down, wheeling each bone down in turn. Breathe in as you release the pelvis back to level again.
- Repeat 10 times.
- Start by lying straight on your side with your bottom arm under your head and your top hand on the mat in front of you. Bend your knees and draw your feet back, so that your heels are aligned with the back of your pelvis. Place a cushion between your knees.
- Exhaling, open out your top knee from the hip joint, keeping your feet connected. Keep your pelvis stable.
- Inhaling, return your leg to the starting position with control. Repeat 10 times on each side.
Prone knee lifts
- Lie on your front. Rest your forehead on a folded towel and place your fingertips under your pelvic bones.
- Bend your right leg to a 90-degree angle. Maintaining the position and stability of your pelvis, breathe in and lift the leg up slightly off the mat.
- Breathing out, lower the leg back down. Repeat 10 times on each side.
- Breathe in to prepare the body. Lengthen through the spine as you bend the knees and the hips simultaneously to hinge forwards slightly from the hips.
- Reach forward with both arms to counter your balance. Ensure that your ankles, knees and hips are lined up.
- Breathe out as you straighten your legs. Repeat 10 times.
One-legged Pilates squat
- Transfer your weight onto one leg. Breathe in to prepare the body. Keeping both sides of your waist equally long and your pelvis even, bend your knee to do a small squat.
- Reach forward with both arms to counter your balance. Ensure that you direct your knee over the centre of your foot to keep good alignment.
- Breathe out as you straighten your leg. Repeat 8 times with each leg.
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Lynne Robinson is co-founder and director of Body Control Pilates Education (for whom she lectures on training courses for new teachers and on specialist courses for qualified teachers) and of the Body ControlPilatesAssociation, Europe’s largest professional body for Pilates teachers. Alongside her teaching responsibilities in the UK and abroad, Lynne is always busy writing new courses for Body Control PilatesEducation. Her latest book (Pilates for Life) was published in the UK in 2014 by Kyle Books, while the PilatesBible continues to retain its position as the world’s best-selling Pilates book.