Guest Blog by Alex Harris
If you are a keen sports person you will understand that a balance of flexibility and strength will ensure you are able to perform better. Whether you’re a tri-athlete at the top of your game, a weight lifter or golfer, you will benefit from incorporating Pilates into your weekly training schedule.
The system encourages the use of mind to control body movement and focusses on the deep postural muscles to keep the body balanced and provide support for the spine. They introduce breath awareness and alignment of the spine to help increase strength in the abdominal muscles and torso.
Unfortunately, there is still only limited awareness and understanding in the sporting world about how to access your stabilising muscles. Thankfully this is beginning to change, but if you’re in your 30s or older now, there’s a good chance you won’t have a clue what stabilising muscles are and more importantly how to engage them. Unless you activate your stabilising muscle when you train, you will never be able to achieve your true potential and are more likely to injure yourself due to some muscle becoming dominant.
There are a lot of people (mainly men) that abandon stretching from their workouts in favour of fitting in an extra set of reps or going the extra couple of miles. In your teens and sometimes even into your twenties, your body will cope with this and do its thing to recover; the only downside is a bit of DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) for a couple of days!
As you begin to get a little older, your bodies recovery systems begins to slow down as it has more to cope with. Those overactive superficial muscles get too dominant and your body begins to become unbalanced. You may have picked up a couple of niggles, strains and sprains and if you haven’t been taught how to activate your stabilisers, there’s a fair chance they’ve probably switched off and now you are on a slippery slope to further injury.
In addition, working in both manual and sedentary environments will impact on how you use your body. Over time, repetitive strain and overload can effect postural alignment and cause chronic pain.
Over the 20 years I’ve been teaching, I’ve seen more and more men starting to attend my classes. They appreciate the detailed way the body functions, gaining control over muscle isolations and understanding how their body responds. Pilates isn’t a magic wand that will cure all your ailments but, it will give you the tools to manage and maintain any areas of weakness, helping to minimise pain and discomfort and potentially improving your performance.
The Points ‘Men’s Only’ class runs on Thursday at 8.30am. Spaces are limited and I strongly encourage booking for a 6 week term. If you are interested and want to discuss joining the class, please contact me on 07813 178267 or email firstname.lastname@example.org