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Cross Training with Pilates

posted by Dyla Magazine - Women's Action Sports Coalition
Friday, November 19, 2010 at 12:42pm EST

Online magazine dedicated to women in action sports.

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by :  Nicole Grodesky

Sometimes just participating in your sport of choice is enough and sometimes it isn’t. That’s why cross training is essential in maintaining a healthy and overall fit body. Not only does cross training help with improving your skill level, but it decreases the chances of future injury.

"Pilates is good for stretching and releasing the tension that you’ve created. It’s good for stretching, flexibility and increasing range of motion," said Pilates instructor at RBC One, Anita Halton.

Participating in an extreme sport is considered high impact and dangerous. A good place to start cross training is to construct a regiment that builds strength, balance and focus. Pilates is something to seriously consider for improving your agility for any action sport that you are participating in.

"There are benefits for athletes for being in control of the body and having better awareness of your body’s position which helps prevent injury," Anita said.

Pilates is a method developed by Joseph Pilate that uses various apparatuses to develop the core while connecting the mind and the body. There are six main principles that are applied in Pilates which include; concentration, control, centering, efficiency of movement, precision, and breathing. These principles work together to enhance movement in the body and in turn will improve your athletic performance.

"It’s a method of set exercises with a philosophy that underlies it—mind to body control-- that’s done on various pieces of equipment. He emphasized breathing, control, precision, alignment, fluidity and coordination," Anita said.

The apparatuses that are used in Pilates are: Cadillac (also called the Trapeze Table), the high (or electric) chair, the Wunda Chair, the baby Chair, and the Ladder Barrel, the Spine Corrector (Step Barrel) and small barrel. Each has a specific purpose and exercise routine which is built by your instructor based on the sport that you do and the goals that you want to achieve.

"You first work on developing your core in a static environment by working on your breathing. Core doesn't refer to just your core limbic pelvic core, but also the core of your joints, the deep intrinsic musculature that surrounds the joints in your body, so you’re developing the core in a different sense,” Anita said. “You first start in a static (still) posture and then they become increasingly dynamic, meaning adding more movement and more challenge to the movement. Essentially we’re always training how the core is controlling the movement of your arms and stabilizing the joints and the spine.”

Focusing on posture is one of the main underlying philosophies of Pilates that many believe will guarantee a significant experience in the benefits of Pilates. This posture work that focuses on your core helps to align the natural curvature in your spine. We all know that falling is a big part of surfing, skating and snowboarding, and that can lead to misaligning the spine. I’m sure all of you have visited the chiropractor after a good fall, imagine being able to heal yourself and prevent future pain by taking on a series of natural movements and concentration.

“Pilates balances the curvature of the spine. It improves your posture, which is very important not just for an average person, but also for an extreme athlete because you’re not just talking about good posture, but balancing an imbalance in the musculature,” Anita said.

In sports like surfing there is a lot of upper body movement which can lead to tension surrounding the neck and therefore causing chronic neck pain. Using your legs a lot in snowboarding and skating can lead to knee problems and lower back injuries. Pilates works on balancing the imbalances to increase performance and decrease the pain that is a result of all the fun and torturous physical activity we force our bodies. So treat your body right and get involved in an alternative activity that you will thank yourself for.

To learn more about Pilates at RBC ONE please visit:
http://web.me.com/candiceb/Site_7/RBC_ONE_pilates_v2.html
To learn more about Anita visit her info at:
http://web.me.com/candiceb/Site_7/Anita_Halton.html

More helpful links:
What is the reformer?
http://pilates.about.com/od/gettingstarted/ss/ReformerAnatomy.htm
What is the Cadillac?
http://pilatescadillac.com/

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