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Pilates for Runners - Part 2

Pilates for Runners Part 1 discussed the benefits of Pilates for runners.  This article will discuss some preliminary research done to support the benefits of Pilates in runners.

In an article published in 2017, Laws et al performed a study on 40 recreational runners.  They initially tested them with a modified version of the Functional Movement Screen (FMS).  This is a test that was created to look for deficiencies in motor control (the form with which you move and/or compensate) as well as body asymmetry.  Both of these are thought to contribute to injury and/or suboptimal performance.  Following 6 weeks of Pilates training, the runners’ FMS measures improved, potentially reducing their risk of injury.  The next study that needs to be done is to follow the runners long term to see if there is a reduction in running injuries.

In an article published in 2018, Finatto et al performed a study on the effect of a 12-week Pilates mat program on running performance.  Both groups received a running training program while the study group also received a Pilates mat program.  They found that the Pilates group had a decrease in the metabolic cost of running (measure of the oxygen consumption of moving a certain distance at submaximal intensity) and a decrease in the percentage of muscle activation during running at the same speed.  They also timed a 5km run and the Pilates group had a significantly faster time.  Theoretically, these measures indicate that the Pilates program improved running efficiency – it lessened the energy expenditure of running by reducing the muscle activation needed for the same performance.  The authors hypothesized that this was associated with improved stabilization of the core/pelvis and improved motor control of the legs.

 

 

References:
Laws A, Williams S, Wilson D. The effect of clinical Pilates on functional movement in recreational runners.  International Journal of Sports Medicine {serial online}. September 2017:38(10): 776-780.

Functional Movement Screen
website: https://www.functionalmovement.com/system

Finatto P, Silva ESD, Okamura AB, Almada BP, Oliveira HB, Peyre´-Tartaruga LA (2018) Pilates training improves 5-km run performance by changing metabolic cost and muscle activity in trained runners. PLoS ONE 13(3): e0194057.

Matt Seltzer