Today we will be explaining how and why to use Pilates out of the pool to round off your training.
The Pilates method is a training system devised by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. Pilates developed this method drawing inspiration from ancient Oriental practices, basing it around muscle control by the mind. This method mainly consists of exercises aimed at strengthening the Power House or, in other words, all the muscles around your abdominal area (you have probably heard of the expression CORE STABILITY).
Pilates is based around 6 principles corresponding to the benefits that can be derived from regularly practising this method.
You cannot perform exercises without thinking. CONCENTRATION plays a key role in any exercise and you cannot perform movements while thinking about something else. Body CONTROL is linked with concentration. Performing movements without controlling your entire body can cause injuries. Every single movement must be carefully thought out, targeted and precise. Without PRECISION you may achieve the same results, but you will also expend and waste a lot of energy. Concentration, control and precision will together lead to FLUIDITY in performing any movement. The strength of your BARYCENTRE or Power House is at the basis of all movements and, as previously mentioned, this means core stability. Lastly, proper BREATHING while dong exercises will allow you to perform to your best.
These principles may be directly applied to swimming, both for training and racing. The movements of your arms and legs must be smooth and economical, calling for concentration-control-precision-fluidity. Everything in the water starts from your barycentre, which allows you to maintain the right position and without which you cannot generate force through your hands and feet. There is no need to emphasise how important breathing is for swimming.
Here are 3 exercises that are ideal for swimmers.
SINGLE LEG STRETCH
Lying on your back, raise your head draw your chin towards your chest. Use your left hand to draw your right knee towards you as you take hold of your ankle with right-hand hand and extend your left leg at an angle of 45°. Start to switch the position of your arms and legs while breathing in for two movements and then breathing out for a further two movements. Perform a total of 20 reps. This exercise is aimed at stabilising your hips and strengthening the flexor muscles in your neck and stomach. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5KKgeRoG74)
SINGLE LEG KICK
Lying on your stomach, raise your chest keeping your arms bent and your neck and back in a straight line. Clench your buttocks and extend your lumbar region. Breathe in and bend your leg keeping your foot flexed at 45°, repeat twice, then breathe out and move your legs back together again. Repeat twice with the other leg. This time do 20 reps. This exercise strengthens your knees, back, stomach and quadriceps. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sp7yIEcyd6A)
Lie on your chest with your arms stretched in front of you. Raise one arm and the opposite leg together with your head and chest. Now switch the positions of your arms and legs at a steady speed in a controlled movement that looks like a swimmer in the pool. Repeat for the time required to take 5 easy breaths. Pause, stretch your back and then repeat for a total of 3/4 sets. This exercise strengths all the muscles in your back. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hki_s6RHBgI)
Doing 45’ exercises a couple of times-a-week will produce real benefits for your swimming.