Let’s face it: every human is imbalanced.
No one has a perfectly symmetrical body, some muscles are tighter than others, and some muscles are naturally stronger than others. For the normal person this may not be a big deal. But for the runner, small weaknesses and imbalances are sleeping volcanoes for injuries. The great demand that we as runners place on our bodies to perform the same repetitive, high-impact action for miles and miles only increases the likelihood of imbalance.
Just think about it – the average number of steps you take per mile is 2000!
And any little imbalance is likely to develop into a glaring weakness, and any glaring weakness will likely turn into an injury if not properly attended to.
Statistics report that 74% of runners will experience a moderate to severe injury every year. Most of these injuries stem from common weaknesses and imbalances in the core, specifically the lower back, gluteals, hips, and hamstrings.
Proper movement in these areas is critical to a runner’s gait.
* When the hip flexors are strong and the gluteals are weak, the pelvis will tilt forward (anteriorly) and cause tightness in the lumbar spine.
* When the obliques are weak and the lower back muscles are not strong enough to hold the body upright and stable, a side-to-side motion occurs. This takes away from the forward efficiency of your run and can lead to low back pain.
The core’s job during running is to dynamically stabilize the spine and allow the pelvis to rotate and twist in reaction to terrain changes, turns, missteps, and fatigue. But the old saying applies, you are only as strong as your weakest link. At some point in your running career, there will be a breakdown of movement.
So what can you do about it?
Pilates for Runners will help you work the entire core region by strengthening the small, intrinsic muscles of the spine, improving flexibility, increasing core awareness, balancing pelvic muscle strength, and improving neuromuscular ability. Overall, you will feel stronger, have better running economy and efficiency, and a more fluid motion.