Build a strong foundation with Pilates & Yoga

I love a hard hitting intense workout session just as much as anyone. My love for movement came from years of soccer, gymnastics, running, softball, and swimming. As I got older and my passion turned to training specifically for sports the how and they why of movement became fascinating to me. I wanted to be more faster, stronger, and more fit. With more intense training came aches, pains, and a few injuries. I knew something had to change if I wanted to keep up the level of intensity and the frequency. At this time I found Pilates and a few years later added yoga to my practice. 
Upon walking into a Pilates studio for the first time I had a minor injury but felt like I was still very strong and could do most any form of exercise. After just a few sessions I learned that this was going to be a very challenging journey and that I needed to switch my mindset of harder, faster, more to slower, deeper, and more precise. 
In sports, training is very specific to the movements needed for the actions you will be completing. The body however will find the path of least resistance to get the job done. So, when training for a sport when doing the same repetitive movement over and over again our larger muscles begin to take over and create compensation patterns leading to less than ideal movement patterns, unbalanced musculature and weakened structures. Here is where Pilates and yoga come into the picture...
Pilates and yoga practices both require a lot of mental focus and attention. They require you to slow down and think about where the movement is coming from and by doing this you start to build a stronger foundation to then more successfully move from. By gaining awareness of what muscles are working versus what should be working you can begin to change your muscle patterning. When we begin to strengthen our smaller muscles, that are used for stability we increase our overall balance within the body. This is very important, now when asked to do a larger movement you have the base of support to work from. Once your foundation is strong you can move faster, add weight and increase the frequency and duration. When working with clients I always use this model of training whether it be in Pilates, running, or strength training; stability, strength, endurance, and power. Each step is a building block and until we can successfully move with stability there is no need to add in weight, you wouldn't drive a car over an unstable bridge, would you? Sometimes it can be hard to slow down but I promise it's worth it.

Post written by: Jacquelyn Brennan