The Basic Principles of Pilates
1. Centring: Physically bringing the focus to the centre of the body, the powerhouse area between the lower ribs and pubic bone. Energetically, Pilates exercises are sourced from centre. This makes for more efficient running.
2. Concentration: If one brings full attention to the exercise and does it with full commitment, maximum value will be obtained from each movement.
3. Control: Every Pilates exercise is done with complete muscular control. No body part is left to its own devices.
4. Precision: In Pilates, awareness is sustained throughout each movement. There is an appropriate placement, alignment relative to other body parts, and trajectory for each part of the body.
5. Breath: Joseph Pilates emphasized using a very full breath in his exercises. He advocated thinking of the lungs as a bellows — using them strongly to pump the air fully in and out of the body. Most Pilates exercises coordinate with the breath, and using the breath properly is an integral part of Pilates exercise.
6. Flow: Pilates exercise is done in a flowing manner. Fluidity, grace, and ease are goals applied to all exercises. The energy of an exercise connects all body parts and flows through the body in an even way. Pilates equipment, like the reformer, are very good mirrors of one’s flow and concentration as they tend to bang around and suddenly become quite “machine-like” if one loses ones control and flow.
How does this apply to running?
Pilates-based moves can be invaluable when incorporated into runners’ fitness regimens. All six principles of Pilates apply to running. Most importantly, if a runner can learn how to engage their powerhouse and allow motion to originate from it, they will run faster, more efficiently, with control and with less risk of injury.
Common running injuries stem from tight, weak hips; an overworked but weak gluteal complex; weak, improperly trained abdominals; and weak leg stabilizers. Pilates can help to restore these imbalances and help you achieve your goals faster.