Pilates for Lifting. It sounds like a contradiction in terms, doesn’t it?!

I have worked with power-lifters and sporting populations, often lifting well in excess of their own body weight and I have never stopped believing that some of the core principles of Pilates can massively benefit them. In fact, I grow more passionate about it.

I remember teaching a group of third year osteopathic students and someone asking me, “but isn’t it enough to brace in the belly to create stiffness enough to stabilise the pelvis during a lift?” No – that’s only the beginning.

Other things which are massively important and that Pilates can help you to learn about manipulating in yourself include:

  • The tilt of the pelvis – anterior and posterior;
  • The flare of the ribcage – excessive flaring can quickly translate into thoracic extension;
  • The position and roll of the hips – are they locked into place by glut max to start and finish? Are you managing to avoid internal rotation and the negative effects on feet, knees, hips and back?
  • Are you hinging on the big hip flexor muscles and not really getting much hip extension at all, focusing all the pressure in your lower back?

Pilates is the practice of building awareness of these body movements and how you can make big changes in output by small changes in your postural control. It is ironing out small specific weaknesses to optimize general movement.

For me, Pilates is the important 2 rungs at the bottom of the ladder, which can feed into better functional movement, which is immediately brought in in the class, and then focus on your advanced skills – strength, speed, endurance, sport-specific skills.

I don’t want to see you permanently dropping the weight for a puny green band; I’d love to see you understanding your body better and optimizing your power.

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