Turn on your core and turn up your exercise intensity
It's natural to assume that the best training for running, is more running. I prescribed to this theory for years until a string of annoying injuries stopped me in my tracks (literally).
As a young physiotherapist, I started talking to various more experienced practitioners from various fields about the best way to solve my problems and get back to the business of beating my personal best times. The reoccurring theme from the practitioners that I spoke to was ‘improve your ‘core stability''. Whilst I have always been active I had never really worked specifically on core until I took my first pilates class six years ago. I have never looked back. I now feel strong and stable enough to attempt my first marathon this year.
Top 2 reasons to improve your core stability
- Maximise performance
- Minimise the risk of injury
What is core stability?
Before we discuss performance and injury management, and how pilates can help, we need to understand what is meant by the term ‘core stability.' Core stability is the ability to control the position and movement of the centre part of the body. Core stability exercises focus on the relationship between the pelvis, abdomen, spinal column, and shoulder girdle. When firing in the right sequence, these muscles provide a stable base for movements in the arms and legs. Think of them as the foundations of a house. If the foundations are good, the house will stay standing. If they are weak, the walls will start to crack, the roof will start to leak, and eventually, the whole thing will fall over.
Whilst there are many thousands of online and offline resources devoted to core stability exercises, it should be noted that you will only get the maximum benefit from performing core exercises once you have a good idea of how to turn your core ‘on'. The best way to achieve this is to attend a pilates class run by a physiotherapist. You should be able to discuss your running goals with the instructor and have them tailor your program to your requirements. Physiotherapists have an understanding of the implications of underlying imbalance in your musculoskeletal system and should be able to identify any areas within your body that are susceptible to injury.
Written by Anthony Moore Physiotherapist and pilates instructor