Pilates has been around for over 100 years now and has shifted from an “alternative” exercise method to a training tool used by most professional athletes and a growing number of “recreational” athletes who are learning the difference between training smarter…not harder!
So what is training smarter all about?
One of the key functions of pilates is to get the balance of strength between the supporting or stabilising muscles, and the more dynamic or moving muscles happening.
So many sports that “weekend warriors” participate in are highly repetitious. For example, when you go for a bike ride, you pretty much do the same movement over and over again. It’s the same with running, swimming, tennis, golf etc.
When the stabilising muscles are weak, it makes the body vulnerable to chronic pain, tightness and stiffness and possibly acute injury all due to overuse of the moving muscles.
This is one of the most common reasons people become injured doing the sporting activities that they are passionate about. And once you have an injury, there is no option but to stop your activity…and who wants to do that, right?
How devastating would it be to train hard for months and months to compete in an event like a holiday hike, golf competition etc., only to be tripped up by an injury and not be able to participate?
And having an injury can become a slippery slope as performance drops, either due to an inability to train, pain in the body or a drop in motivation.
Another issue that occurs due to weak stabilising muscles is poor movement patterns.
The body becomes very inefficient at movement, leading to “over recruitment” or the body over working to get the job done.
We’ve all seen images or video of athletes who “make it look easy”, executing every movement with precision and just the right amount of power to maximise the result they are wanting to achieve.
Pilates teaches your body to generate power from the right muscles, and develops strength through the full length of the muscle
So as movement patterns improve, the tightness and stiffness in the body decreases, you become more efficient at movement leading to an increase in stamina and less muscle fatigue…which is always a good thing
Chronic injury or “wear and tear” on joints is minimised when the body is working in the way it was designed to.
As we age, quality of life becomes more and more important. Taking the time to attend to “joint health and fitness”, especially the spine, is a smart way to preserve quality of life well into your older years and enable you to keep on participating in the sports and activities you are passionate about.