Ironman 2019 | Pilates for Triathletes

How exciting is it that Ironman 2019 will be taking place in Youghal, County Cork this weekend? Ironman is a gruelling triathlon organised by by the World Triathlon Organization comprising of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile cycle, and a 26.22 mile run raced in that order, without a break (yikes!). Naturally, A LOT (and thats an understatement) of training is required to prepare for what is quite probably the toughest race of the competing athlete’s life.
Undertaking such a huge feat means curating training plan that can improve strength, stamina, balance, flexibility and injury recovery/prevention which is why we see so many triathletes incorporating pilates in their training plans.

Pilates, has become a popular method of cross-training for triathletes in recent years with triathlete.com quoting four-time Ironman finisher, Michele Landry as saying “I will never forget the day I was swimming and a lightbulb went off. I had finally found my core. My muscles were in synergy”. Because pilates focuses not only on strength and flexibility but also on body awareness and on balancing muscles, we focus on working smaller muscle groups that support the dominant muscles for a more balanced body and a more efficient workout. Here’s how Ironman 2019 triathletes are using pilates to get the best from their training.

Swimming

Pilates is a game changer when it comes to swimming as it works on body alignment which is so crucial to our efficiency in the water. Because pilates works the stabilising muscle system (those tiny supporting muscles again!) it aids the swimmer in correcting misalignments which can cause them to work against the water instead of with it, something that is crucial when it comes to timing. It also focuses on core strength, which is the foundation of all of the swimmers movement.

Cycling

Yep, you’re going to hear us talk about core again! Pilates teaches you to activate your deep abdominal muscles, and why is this important for cyclists? I think we can all agree that cycling is tough on the legs, and while the legs fatigue during a ride our bodies start to recruit other muscle groups to take he heat, enter core! Pilates helps to use muscle more efficiently instead of allowing one muscle group to take all of the flack which improves our stamina and also helps to reduce muscle imbalances.

Running

Posture is critical when it comes to running and to have good posture you’ve got to have (you guessed it!) a strong core. Pilates works on developing strong core as well as the muscles of the hips, shoulders and pelvis to provide the stability needed for a more efficient performance. Also, with running being quite high impact on the joints, pilates is her perfect method of rehab/rehab fir long distance runners.

Will you be adding pilates to your fitness regime (or maybe giving ironman a go? !)

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