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Pilates for Runners

The Hundred

...is a traditional pilates exercise to strengthen the abdominals, increase cardiovascular endurance, and connect the movement to the breath, all of which will translate into a better run. It’s a great basic move to start a routine and warm up the body for more strenuous or demanding exercises.

From a prone position, contract lower abdominals to lift knees to tabletop position with calves parallel to the floor. Keep the lower back pressed into the floor (or mat), contract the upper torso by bringing the ribs closer together and lifting the head, neck, and shoulders. Reach your arms long, fingertips lengthening towards feet. Inhale for a count of 5 while pumping arms, then exhale for a count of 5. That is one rep, you continue up to 10 repetitions, which is 100 pulses, hence the name "the hundreds."

Roll-Ups

...increases abdominal strength and opens up the spine. It is a more advanced pilates move, so remember to take it slow and focus on your form. Do not rush the lift. You always want to focus on engaging the muscle and with a controlled increase in your momentum to put the body into an upright position

Lay down on your back with legs extended out from you and arms extended above the head. Take a deep breath in and start to lift arms, then your head, neck, and lastly shoulders while keeping space between chin and chest. Squeeze the glutes and inner thighs as you pull your abdominals in drawing the navel to the spine and exhale. Inhale as you continue to reach over legs towards toes hollowing out your belly. Exhale as you slowly roll back down to your starting position. Complete 5 reps.

Single-Leg Stretch

...strengthens the core while also stretching the hamstrings and back of the legs. To perform this exercise lay on back in a prone position.

Contract abdominals and lift head, neck, and shoulders while keeping space between the chin and chest. Lift right knee to chest and wrap arms around the knee, while the left leg stays extended. Keep torso lifted and switch legs, holding left knee to chest and letting the right leg extended. Repeat for 10 reps.

Swimmer

...works the entire core. When engaging in a pilates routine it is key to remember to balance the body and swimmer is an excellent way to work in a prone position after a series of supine movements.

Lay face down with arms and legs reaching away. Open legs slightly wider than hip-width apart. Pull your navel up off the mat and engage the glutes. Lift head, shoulders, left arm and right leg. Switch arms and legs and make a swimming motion in the air. Think of creating length in the body and stretching in both directions. This exercise is great for strengthening the back and core while creating length in the body. Repeat for up to 24 reps.

Side Kicks

...are a great exercise for stability and working on control in your core as well as strengthening the thighs and buttocks.

Lay on your side, (option to prop up on forearm or you can rest your head in your hand) and keep the neck and spine long. Maintain stability in your body as you kick your leg out in front. First set with a pointed toe, second set with a flexed foot. Complete 10 repetitions in each direction. Keep the core engaged so you don’t allow yourself to wobble front or back, the hips should be stacked. You can place a hand on the hip to check your balance or rest the hand in front of you on the mat.

Bicycles

After finishing the side kicks, keep your body in the same position laying on the side for bicycles.

Kick the leg out in front, sweep down towards the other leg and bend knee making a cycling motion. Repeat 10 times in one direction and reverse the cycling motion. Keep the hips stacked and control the torso. The movement is slow and controlled as we are lengthening the muscles in the leg, opening the hip joint, and strengthening the core all at the same time. If you need assistance with balancing the torso, place the top hand in front of you on the mat or floor.

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