Most people believe that it takes a pair of strong legs and good lungs to make the best out of a run.
The more you run, the better you get at it. The fact is that having a strong core – made up of the back, chest and abdominal muscles is very essential for breathing, balance, flexibility and endurance.
There is also a Pilates for runners that can have huge impact on this.
All this is needed for a good run. This is where Pilates makes a grand entry because it is with Pilates that you can develop muscle strength needed to run. Here are some exercises that can stretch and develop some important areas:
Lie on the mat face down with your legs straight. Extend your arms out so your body forms a long line, while keeping your shoulder blades as “open” as possible. Pull your abdomen up. Then, reach out with your arms and legs (both will lift off the floor). The idea is to make your body as long as possible. Your head will also lift off the floor — make sure you keep your face toward the floor and keep your neck as straight as possible. Alternate between reaching out opposite arms and legs and small, subtle stretching movements that will feel like you’re taking an imaginary swim. Inhale for five “strokes,” then exhale for five.
Standing Chest Expansion
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms hanging at your sides. Slowly lift your arms to the side until they’re above your head, with your palms facing each other and biceps at your ears. Inhale slowly and deeply as you do this, concentrating on opening and filling your lungs as much as possible. Reverse the movement, exhaling as you move your hands back down to your sides.
This is a slightly more complicated move, so get an instructor to check on you. Lying on your side, swing the top leg out in front of you, then behind you, repeating several times. Then swing the top leg up as far as you can, repeating several times before switching sides. This exercise is a prime example of how Pilates works out your entire body. It stretches the groin, hamstring and quad muscles, but most of the work is done by the abdominal and back muscles.
Utilize all your leg muscles and keep a healthy stride with this chest-opening move. Lying on your belly, hands in front of the shoulders, pull the belly off the floor and start to lengthen the upper body away from the mat, starting with the crown of the head reaching out and then up. Draw the shoulder blades close to the spine to open the chest and to stretch the entire front of the body from the crown of the head to the fronts of the legs. When you become more comfortable with the exercise, you can add in a rock forward, which deeply challenges all of the back body muscles from feet to shoulders to maintain the deep control while stretching the front of the body. Repeat this five times.