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Are There Benefits to Having Pilates As Part of Your Cross-Training?

in Southfield, MI

Looking for something to spice up your regular exercise regimen?

Maybe you’re a runner, golfer, weight-lifter, or pickleball player

extraordinaire. No matter what your activities of choice, having Pilates as

part of your cross-training offers considerable benefits.

This is particularly the case for activities where there is little to no thought

behind the movement patterns.

What is Cross-Training?

Cross-training isn’t a specific sport or activity. It is a training method that

involves partaking in a variety of physical activities to improve overall

performance and fitness. In many cases, there is one primary exercise

routine or sport though.

Through cross-training, participants work different muscle groups and

develop new skills. They’re able to vary the stress placed on specific

muscles. And it’s an effective solution for beating the boredom that can

come from sticking to just one form of exercise.

The idea behind cross-training is that challenging the body in unfamiliar

ways and developing new skills enhances overall strength, fitness, and

endurance.

The Benefits of Having Pilates As Part of Your Cross-Training

So where does Pilates fit in with all of this?

Well, at the heart of the practice is the focus on strength and stability as

they relate to the core. Pilates requires of its practitioners a high degree of

concentration and body awareness too. These all naturally transform into

improved mental focus in other activities.

Among the many benefits of adding Pilates to your cross-training are the

following:

  1. Improved Balance and Stability

If your primary activity is something like skiing, dancing, snowboarding,

surfing, or yoga, you know that balance is crucial. In faster-paced activities,

it’s easy to lose sight of this. But Pilates exercises are designed to improve

balance and stability so that you can do other activities with a higher

degree of safely.

2. Increased Core Strength

Nearly every physical activity requires use of the core muscles . While doing

sit-ups in weight training would be an obvious example, you’re relying on

your core even when you run, lift weights, or play tennis.

Whatever your choice of physical activity, you can improve your

performance by strengthening your core through Pilates.

3. A Boost in Flexibility

While Pilates focuses on strengthening muscles, there is also an emphasis

on stretching muscles to improve range of motion. This is an important

component for athletes who require some degree of fluidity in their activity

or sport.

4. Injury Prevention

At the end of the day, improving balance and stability, increasing core

strength, and boosting flexibility all address weaknesses and imbalances in

the body. Thus, in doing Pilates, athletes will find a notable decrease in

their risk for injury.

And Now.. Concentric and Eccentric Strength

Wondering about concentric and eccentric strength?

If you’re not familiar, then probably not. But these two types of training are

essential in keeping the body in balance. And we engage in concentric and

eccentric strength in our regular, everyday movements.

To simplify, concentric strength comes from a shortened muscle while

eccentric strength results from the lengthening of a muscle. Confused?

Think of it this way. When you pick something up, that is concentric

strength. Lowering it back down carefully is eccentric.

We tend to focus more on concentric strength since we’re actively lifting

something like a weight, a grocery bag, or a child. But for most of us, our

muscles are wired to be stronger in eccentric movement. We’re typically

able to release something downward with more control than taking it

upward that way.

Whatever the case, both are important. (There’s also isometric strength,

but we’ll cover that in a different post.)

Pilates Works Both Concentric and Eccentric

There is a wealth of Pilates exercises that involve concentric and eccentric

muscle contractions that allow practitioners to develop both kinds of

strength. For example, both the Pilates roll-up and teaser require

concentric and eccentric contractions of the abdominal muscles. And those

are just two.

So by adding Pilates to your cross-training routine, you’ll develop and be

more aware of concentric and eccentric strength. This in turn can improve

your performance in other activities and sports while decreasing the risk of

injury.

Interested in Adding Pilates to Your Cross-Training?

There are so many benefits to having Pilates as part of your cross-training.

It teaches you to move correctly with balanced muscle strength and proper

alignment.

In addition, with a consistent practice, you will develop muscle memory that

will carry over to your other activities. And that includes your regular

everyday movements.

So if you’re interested in seeing how Pilates can be beneficial for cross-

training, contact us today. Our physical therapy-based Pilates can take you

to new heights!

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