NEWS

The impact of muscle imbalance

Nov 17, 2020

Many of the issues athletes experience arise from muscle imbalance.

When we talk about muscle imbalance, we mean that some muscles are overworking and other muscles are not doing their fair share of the work.

The impact on an athlete is inefficient movement, pain and injury, and this is where Pilates For Sports can help.

Pilates is a perfect way to cross train as it moves the body in all of the directions it is designed to move, therefore restoring balance.

As Joseph Pilates said:

“Pilates was conceived to limber and stretch muscles and ligaments so that your body will be as supple as that of a cat, not muscular and stiff like a brewery-truck horse... Therefore, when all of your muscles are properly developed, you will as a matter of course, perform your work with minimum effort and maximum pleasure”


Try the Pilates For Sports 7-day free trial now to see how our customised programs can help you!

 

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Strengthen your core to produce more power with less pain

Oct 28, 2020

You take up a new sport. You improve. You continually increase the volume of the training.

However, eventually, the benefits received from increased training will plateau, or can even cause your performance to go backwards if you overtrain. 

So what can be done apart from increasing the volume of training to help you produce more power, go faster, hit harder, kick and throw further??

The answer is improving core strength, developing balanced muscles and then focusing on improving your form:

  • Improving core strength improves your stability and enables you to produce more power
  • Strong, balanced, flexible muscles around the joints will enable more efficient powerful movement
  • Now think about how you are moving? Is your technique correct or can you improve it by engaging your core and developing strong balanced muscles.

Pilates for Sports will help you to achieve all of these goals and give you the technique tips you need to improve your form... you’ll perform better with...

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How an unstable core causes lost power

Oct 21, 2020
 

Engaging your core is a term that is frequently used these days. However, I often meet people or see people who do not really understand what the core is or how to engage it properly.

They are often told that it will automatically engage when certain exercises are done. However, to develop maximum core strength in your body you need to understand how to correctly engage it too.

The core is everything from your shoulders to your butt – in essence, it is your torso. Today we’re going to focus in on your core abdominal muscles. 

These are the four main abdominals:

  • Rectus abdominis: This long, flat muscle runs all the way from your pubic bone to your rib cage – think 6 pack. 
  • External and internal obliques: These run on a diagonal and help you twist and rotate your torso.
  • Transverse abdominis: These are your deep stabilising abdominals and are the abs we focus on strengthening and engaging in Pilates.

Let’s engage your core!

These deep abdominal...

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Improve your shoulder stability, improve your power!

Oct 14, 2020

When we talk about core strength we are referring to a persons torso – everything from the shoulders to the butt.

So, in order to produce maximum stability and therefore maximum power output you need:

  • Shoulder stability
  • Core strength in the abdominals
  • Pelvic Stability

Let’s look at shoulder stability in a bit more detail.

The shoulders form the top of the powerhouse. When the shoulders are open and drawn down away from the ears, they are in a strong stable position. This is the position we want in Pilates, in our training and in our everyday lives.

Many athletes have tight shoulder girdles and muscle imbalance. There are a number of impacts to the from this posture.

Firstly, it can lead to a tight back and neck, which can cause pain when training and in every day life. 

Secondly, having a posture where your shoulders are rolled forwards makes it harder to breathe. 

Finally, the imbalanced muscles make it hard for the arms to move quickly without...

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How a strong and stable pelvis can improve your power

Oct 07, 2020
 

We’ve all seen someone doing one of the following:

  • Riding a bike and every time they pedal their butt moves from side to side
  • Running, and every time their foot strikes the ground their hip drops to the side
  • Hit a golf ball and their butt rotates too much

But why does this matter? 

The inability to stabilise your hips when you move has two main impacts:

  1. You will not be able to transfer maximum power
  2. You will overwork some muscles resulting in pain and even injury

So how do you improve pelvic stability?

The first step is to be aware of how you move. Go for a short jog and let your hips wobble from side to side. Be aware of how this feels, of the impact in your hips and of the loss of power.

Now, let’s generate more power!

To improve your pelvic stability, engage your core:

  • Shoulders down
  • Belly in
  • Squeeze your butt

Stand tall and go for another run. Be aware of how much more power you are able to generate and of how much smoother it feels on your body.

Pilates...

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Mandy Marquardt Pilates Update – October

Oct 06, 2020

USA Cycling athlete Mandy Marquardt has been working hard since we last had her on the live class with both her cycling and her own customized Pilates training plan.

We spoke with Mandy this week to get an update on her experience with Pilates For Sports so far and how she's tracking with her cycling!

 


 

What training plan are you on and for what purpose? Could you give us some background on your cycling and what you need to do to perform at your best?

As a track sprint cyclist, I train six days a week for a total 25-30hrs with my Coach, Andrew Harris, and his program Edge Cycling (based in Allentown, PA). I love my job that includes gym, track sessions, recovery and endurance miles on the road, physical therapy, sports psychology and massage therapy.

A typical day would be gym in the morning and focusing on plyometrics and primary lifts. My favorite lifts are front squats because they are a mix of mobility and strength.

In the afternoon,...

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How Pilates can solve pelvic instability

Sep 30, 2020
 

No matter what sport you are doing, as athletes we want to ensure we have a strong, stable core and balanced muscles in order to maximise our power output.

However, a common issue amongst athletes in all sports is pelvic instability. Pelvic instability can be seen when the pelvis ‘wobbles’ from side to side – think of the cyclists whose hips move from side to slide with every pedal stroke or the runner whose hip drops to the side every time their foot hits the ground.

This movement of the pelvis occurs when the core muscles are not strong enough to maintain stability and when there is a muscle imbalance.

Pelvic instability has two main impacts – it can cause pain, and it can have an impact on an athlete’s performance.

Let's look at pain first.

Movement of the pelvis can result in overuse of the back muscles, resulting in fatigue in the back as well as back pain. Additionally, if an athlete can’t manage the rotation of their lumbar spine that is...

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How a tight back impacts on good form

Sep 23, 2020
 

A tight back is a common cause of poor form amongst athletes. So what causes this problem and how can Pilates fix it?

One of the most common problem areas for athletes is a tight sore back.

Sometimes it is a constant pain, sometimes it occurs during training and sometimes the tightness occurs post training or playing.

This pain and tightness can prevent you from delivering your best performance and can even lead to an athlete having to stop their training or competing altogether. 

The other impact can be seen in sports that require rotation of the torso – sports like hockey, golf , tennis or kayaking. A tight back will limit the amount of rotation that can be achieved, which will in turn reduce the amount of power that can be produced .

So what are the common causes of a tight low back? Three main areas that can lead to a tight low back are:

A weak core – the core abdominals are like a big girdle that wrap around the torso and support the...

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Common causes of tight hip flexors

Sep 15, 2020
 

Tight hip flexors are the most common form of muscle imbalance in the hips. So what causes this problem?

There are two main causes of hip flexor dominance; the first is poor technique and the second is lifestyle. We'll look at technique in subsequent newsletters but this week, let's delve a little bit into lifestyle.  

Ask yourself this question: What do many athletes do for hours every day?

The answer is that they sit at their desk at work.

Sitting, by its very nature, places you in a position of hip flexion. So this means that for a large portion of the day, the office working athlete is in a position of hip flexion, which serves to further reinforce the tightening of the hip flexors.

So what’s wrong if the hip muscles are unbalanced and the hip flexors are too tight? Dominant hip flexors can lead to injury and an inefficient pedal stroke.

Here are some detriments that can occur due to muscle imbalance in the leg:

Knee Pain – If the quads are dominant it...

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Good Form vs Poor Form

Sep 02, 2020

Awareness of movement and focussing on technique can improve your performance and reduce injuries.

As athletes become more serious about their performance, they will often look for ways to improve their power and speed, which will usually involve increasing the frequency and intensity of their training in order to achieve this.

Initially, increasing the volume will indeed correlate to increases in performance as their cardiovascular and muscle strength improves. However, the athlete will eventually reach a point of diminishing returns, and if overtraining continues to occur it can actually have a negative impact on performance.

So, if training volume is no longer providing the improvements required, where can an athlete go to get that extra increase in performance?

The answer is that they need to look at improving their technique.

This may seem obvious, but many athletes are unaware they even have poor form. Some athletes, such as runners and cyclists, are unaware that there are any...

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