Pilates is an excellent cross training for skiers to regain balance, muscular control and avoid injury.
A healthy musculoskeletal system requires muscular strength, flexibility of soft tissue, and proper neural control.
Here is why you should mix Pilates with your gym training routine:
While your gym sessions focus on increasing muscle mass, Pilates works on strengthening the intrinsic muscles or your postural muscles.
Intrinsic muscles do not show on the outside, they are smaller muscles located deeper in the body around the joints, their role is to protect and support the joints.
In all sports, good movement begins with optimal alignment. Pilates teaches you how to use your body correctly to create force and recruit the right muscles in each action or physical activity.
Good skiing alignment begins with a tall stance over the arch and the ball of the foot. The torso is upright while the ankles, knees, hips, and shoulders are stacked over the center of the boards.
The feet influence a skier’s alignment and the ability to execute powerful movement. The way we use our feet affects our balance and the way we use our legs and hips. While skiing, skier’s feet absorb up to three times his body weight.
Almost every Pilates exercise improves the strength of the feet. Whether you are stretching them in the abdominal series, spine stretches by pointing and flexing your ankles, or performing standing exercises using the tower springs or Wunda chair exercises, you are working your feet’ Reformer workouts start by footwork to strengthen the feet, knee joints and stabilize the pelvis and lower back.
Fatigue and poor core stabilization lead to injury ;overuse is another factor, which affects the health of our joints and ligaments. Back pain and knee injuries come in the way of any type of activity we do.
Keeping a healthy body requires muscular conditioning, a strong core and a great deal of flexibility. Flexibility allows us to have mobility; since Pilates is all about the core, it is highly recommended to add it to any strength-training regime you are taking prior to hitting the slopes.
The Pilates reformer and wunda chair both are great to strengthen the whole body starting from your feet. Both apparatus including the matt elongate the body by lengthening the spine and strengthening the abdominal wall.
Each movement requires muscles to work, nerve signals and tendons, ligaments and bones. The brain sends orders to the rest of the body to perform movements. Good coordination is the ability to contract muscles required in each movement to create efficient and graceful movements. Pilates improves coordination, control, circulation, improves endurance and helps to increase lung capacity.
Putting together strength with flexibility and neural control is they key to a strong and agile body.
My favourite exercises to get skiing ready