Why Every Runner Should Practice Pilates and think about injury prevention

A few well-designed movements, properly performed in a balanced sequence, are worth hours of doing sloppy calisthenics or forced contortion.” Joseph Pilates.

We are running and running and running. Kilometres of straining the body. The repetitive nature of the sport can often lead to injuries. Therefore, every runner, or other athletes that run as part of their sport, should work on proper muscle balance as the slightest imbalance can lead to problems. Runners mostly think about having strong legs in order to prevent injuries, but what about the centre of our body – our core. In Pilates we define the core as the superficial and deep abdominal muscles as well as the glutes and the back muscles. All our movements originate from the core. In running especially, posture plays an important role in performance. If you lean too far forward it can impact form and performance negatively. A study* in 2018 found that running performance was improved by doing Pilates exercises. 

Pilates works on all the big and also small muscles people never knew existed. Therefore, every runner should include Pilates into their workout routine. 

In summary the benefits of Pilates for the running athlete are:

  • Improve core strength
  • Develop postural control
  • Enhance flexibility where it matters and increase stability where you need it
  • Delay fatigue
  • Reduce injury
  • Enhance performance

Optimal’s Clinical Pilates & Rehab Team are running 2 courses specially designed for running athletes.

Course 1 – The Running Athlete- Assessment, Retraining and Injury Prevention Course.

Start date – 1st October 2021

Where – Optimal fitness

Times- Sunday 10.30am OR Wednesday 10.30am (one hour)

Cost – 1100 AED

This progressive 8-week course is aimed at all runners (or any athlete requiring running) to enhance running ability. It is led by 2 qualified therapists, one Physiotherapist and one Podiatrist whom due to small class sizes will be able to give individualized attention to ensure correct technique and movement analysis. Weights, resistance bands, step and boxes are used to facilitate strength gains.

What does the course entail?

  • Proper warm- up and cool down techniques
  • Learn dynamic flexibility stretches
  • Learn pre- activation run specific drills in preparation for a run/exercise
  • Functional running -based exercises
  • Progressive exercises based on individual ability
  • Retraining muscle and nervous system for better efficiency
  • Fascial and neural release techniques for you to learn and use at home
  • Education on correct footwear- barefoot/minimalist/ maximalist shoes

Benefits to you

  • Learn about Injury prevention and management
  • Be able to run with more comfort, efficiency and power which should lead to faster times
  • Improve your flexibility
  • Improve your coordination and stability
  • Gain strength and power
  • Education and advice to maintain strength and reduce injuries

If you require any more information, please contact Optimal Fitness (0568082386)

Course 2Pilates for Runners – Run smarter not harder!

Start date – 19th September 2021

Where- Optimal Fitness

Times – Sunday 11.30am OR Tuesday 7.15am (one hour)

Cost- 1100 AED

This is an 8-week progressive course aimed at any type of runner but also if your sport involves running. Pilates is an amazing choice of complimentary training for a runner as it is very low-impact and places little stress and forces on the joints like running.  It is becoming very widely used for injury prevention, rehabilitation, performance enhancement and improving your general well-being. It involves focused controlled movements which can be modified to create easier or harder levels of each exercise. 

It is led by two qualified therapists as well as Certified Pilates Instructors so individual attention is given due to small class sizes. They will educate you on how to use Pilates principles during running which will enhance your ability to run better, quicker and for longer.

What does the course entail?

  • Teaching the principles of Pilates such as breathing, centering and body awareness 
  • Single leg load work.  This stabilizes the pelvis for running
  • Pre- activation exercises to do before your run
  • Functional strengthening of the glutes, abs and thighs in running specific positions
  • Learn all about “the core”, how it works and to understand by having a strong core will give you more power to push off the ground.
  • Learn about muscle imbalances especially quadriceps and hamstrings and which exercises to do to manage this
  • Education of Pilates principles to use in daily life

Benefits to you

  • Improve core strength
  • Improved mobility particularly around the hips by improved stability where it matters (pelvis)
  • Improved breathing control
  • Promote recovery- Pilates is generally low impact and promotes blood flow so should help reverse any negative side effects such as muscle soreness after a long run/race
  • Improved efficiency by end of course

Common mistakes when doing these Pilates principled exercises for runners.

Here’s how we can perfect them! Thanks to Gillian our Podiatrist and Juliane our Physiotherapist for showing frequent mistaken and corrected exercise techniques. 🏃Just a few examples the above courses will focus on! Want to improve more? Join one of our special courses for runners this September/October to improve form and help prevent injury!

WhatsApp Image 2021 09 13 at 10.21.46 AM
Mistake #1 head and eyes looking up. Try to keep head and neck in line with spine. Eyes looking forward.
Mistake #2 hip rotating when lifting leg. Try to keep hips level. 

WhatsApp Image 2021 09 13 at 10.25.30 AM
Mistake #1 excessive lean forward. Try to look forwards.
Mistake #2 knees collapsing inwards. Try to point knees towards toes 2 and 3.
WhatsApp Image 2021 09 13 at 10.25.44 AM
Mistake #1 body rotating as you open opposite hip. Try to keep pelvis facing forwards as you open hip.
Mistake#2 eyes looking down. Try to look forwards with shoulders relaxed. 
Mistake #3 hips and pelvis not level. Ty to keep pelvis in a straight line.

*Pilates training improves 5-km run performance by changing metabolic cost and muscle activity in trained runners (Finatto et al. 2018)

If you require any further information, please contact Optimal Fitness on (0568082386) or learn more about Optimal Fitness click here

Posted on 8th Sep 2021