What Is Pilates?
Pilates was created in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates, a German Physical Trainer. He actually called his training method ‘Contrology’ as it is a series of controlled movements with the aim of improving balance, co-ordination, alignment, breathing and core strength. We’ve covered the benefits of core strength in running in a previous blog post – so this is definitely something to aspire to!
The movements are done in a specific order, which is why many people go to Pilates classes or watch videos created by a qualified instructor. Pilates classes can last for up to an hour but there can be benefits from performing the moves for a shorter period of time.
So, Will Pilates Improve Anything Else?
Yes. As well as strengthening your core, Pilates also strengthens your arms and legs via bodyweight exercises. Again, the importance of your arms in running is a topic we’ve covered previously.
Although you don’t need the suppleness of a gymnast or yoga master to practise Pilates, it will improve your flexibility which can only be good for injury avoidance as a runner.
Pilates can also improve the way you look – it will give you better posture and tone the muscles on your arms, legs, abs and buttocks!
Can I Practise If I’m Injured?
Quite possibly. Pilates is low impact so most injuries won’t stop you doing it. However, check with your physio and GP first who will confirm whether your injury will preclude Pilates sessions. For some injuries, they may even recommend Pilates.
Is Pilates Or Yoga Better For Runners?
If you imagine a Venn diagram of the main benefits of Pilates and yoga; the middle circle would include increased core strength and flexibility, the ‘yoga only’ circle would include mindfulness and the ‘Pilates only’ circle would include muscular endurance – therefore both yoga and Pilates can have great benefits for runners, and which is ‘best’ will depend on your own individual areas for improvement.
What Equipment Do I Need?
Very little. Beginners only need a mat, which can be purchased cheaply. If you decide you love it so much you want to progress to a more advanced level, then more specialised equipment can be used.