The Glasgow Commonwealth games are an opportunity for many to appreciate sporting performance at the highest level. Speed, power, range of effortless movement and mental toughness are on show. Just performing at the games requires intense preparation pushing the limits and risking injury. Elite athletes from many sports have turned to Pilates to help their performance.
A fundamental objective of Pilates is optimal posture and spinal & pelvic alignment which can prevent or reduce low back pain, hip and knee strain and improve shoulder girdle stability and overall balance.Pilates is about stabilizing with and moving from the core—abs, back, glutes, inner & outer thigh. Pilates is a whole body exercise modality that lengthens and strengthens muscles while building a uniformly developed and balanced body.1This approach to exercise focuses power to come from the core and protects joints from strain and impact. The body is more able to perform movement consistently and prevent injury to joints.
The key principles of Pilates focus on integration of breath, flexibility, strength, control, and precision and body awareness. Elite athletes recognize these “skills” as critical to any sport or functional movement.1Elite athletes may find their body type is unable to achieve their desired performance and turn to Pilates to fill the gap.Australia’s Cate and Bronte Campbell who recently won silver and bronze in the Glasgow Commonwealth games 50m freestyle both recording personal best times acknowledged pilates contribution to their performance. The sisters have been taking pilates classes with dancers from the Queensland Ballet for three or four months to develop a better spring off the blocks. “Our pilates teacher is a ballet dancer and she’s teaching us how to jump like ballerinas so we’ve been working on our starts and trying to improve them as much as we can,’’ Bronte said.
Victoria Pendelton metro.co.uk
Victoria Pendelton, British track cyclist says “I’ve been doing Pilates for more than a year, and for me, it’s been a real breakthrough in managing back pain and building my postural muscles.”(July 2012 issue of Marie Claire) Like a lot of cyclists, Victoria suffers from lumbar spine issues from spending numerous hours hunched over the handlebars. Those whose job is at a desk or computer often have the same issue.1
Charlotte Purdue purerunner.co.uk
Charlotte Purdue English representative in the 10,000m track event at the Glasgow games typically runs over 100kms per week. Charlotte regularly does pilates as part of her training to build up core endurance, spinal stability and improve posture.
Pilates is part of many elite athletes training regimes and contributes to the performances we enjoy watching at events like to Commonwealth games.
1Elite Athletes in 2012 London Olympics Credit Pilates for Improved Performance and Injury Reduction – Core Fitness by Jana