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TitlePilates for Runners
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Page 1

r
unning is perhaps one of the
most natural and instinctive
sports. Yet it also creates
huge potential for injury due
to its repetitive nature and

any weaknesses will sooner or later
become apparent.

Runners tend to be lean, fit, dedicated and
slightly mad! Why else would you go out in the
freezing cold rain in a tee shirt, shorts, gloves and
hat and push yourself through the pain barrier to
shave a couple of seconds off your Pb? Runners
also have a tendency to neglect their
conditioning in favour of clocking up the miles.

As a trainer, I often come across runners
with weakness in their glutes and hips, as well
as the core muscles of their trunk (weak
glutes can potentially create knee problems).
Many runners also have tight and over
dominant hip flexors (muscles at the top of the
thighs that are key to pulling the legs ‘through’
on each stride) - so some of the exercises that
follow are designed to isolate the abs and
remove the contribution of the hip flexors.

Do the exercises at least three times per
week - they are best performed after a
gentle warm up, but can be tagged onto the
end of your run provided your muscles are
not exhausted.

JAN 2011 ultra-fiT 93

Pilates has become a highly valued training method

among athletes from many sports – in the first of a

new series we take a look at its application to running

pilates
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By Caroline Sandry

for sport

Single Leg Plank
Strengthens core and the single

leg element builds pelvic stability.

✱ Start on all fours with hands under shoulders and knees under hips
✱ Draw your abs in, and keep your back and hips still as you extend one leg at a time

behind you to rest on your toes
✱ Hold your body straight like a plank with your weight supported on hands and toes
✱ Keep your abs tight and lift one foot off the floor keeping hips level
✱ Hold for two breaths
✱ Change legs and repeat several times
✱ Gradually build up to 1 – 2min in total
Training Tips: keep neutral spine throughout – that’s maintaining its natural curves.
Keep your shoulders away from your ears and your head in line with your spine. This
exercise should be avoided by those with back problems.

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ultra-fiT JAN 201194

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Controlled curls
isolated abdominal exercise.

✱ Lie on your back with your left leg bent and
your right leg straight on the floor

✱ Maintain neutral spine
✱ Place your hands behind your head
✱ Inhale and slightly tuck chin in
✱ Exhale and gently draw navel to spine as

you curl your head and shoulders up off the
floor keeping your pelvis still and your long
leg relaxed

✱ Inhale back to the start
✱ Repeat 10 - 15 times, then change sides
Training Tips: aim to keep your hip flexors
relaxed and your abs flat, so you might not
come up very high. Imagine you are trying to
fold your body at your bottom ribs. Keep eye
line through your knees. Try to maintain
neutral spine throughout.

Pilates toe taps
Strengthens and stabilises the core.

✱ Lie on your back and lift one leg at a time
until your knees are above your hips and
bent to 90-degrees

✱ Place hands behind your head and flex
head and shoulders forwards

✱ Exhale to lower one foot towards the floor,
inhale to return.

✱ Alternate legs for 20 reps
✱ Keep head and shoulders lifted forward and

maintain neutral spine.
Training Tips: as you progress, straighten
the leg out as you lower it, but only lower as far
as you can keep a neutral spine and your
stomach flat. You can also do the exercise with
the head down on the floor – alternate sessions
with the head forward variation.

Side Plank
with leg raise
Strengthens core upper body & hips,

focuses on obliques.

✱ Lie on ground on left side, propped up on
left forearm with shoulder directly over
elbow, right arm resting on your side.

✱ Exhale and lift hips off ground until body
forms a straight line from head to feet.

✱ Inhale and hold
✱ Exhale and turn right toe up towards ceiling

- lift and lower top leg 4 times.
✱ Inhale, hold and exhale hips back to the

floor.
✱ Do 5 - 8 reps, then switch sides and repeat.
Training Tips: Think about drawing your
underneath ribs and hip together as you lift
to contract your obliques. With your toe
turned out on the leg lift you should feel
your bottom working.

Think about drawing
your underneath ribs
and hip together as
you lift to contract
your obliques

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