Swim with better control and faster times – without straining your body.
For swimmers, proper body alignment is critical. Swimmers need to work with the water and the slightest misalignment can cause them to work against it. Much of a swimmer’s training, however, focuses on working the global muscles – or the outside musculature system. It does not work the inside ‘stabilizing’ system. This bilateral imbalance leaves a swimmer open to misalignments which make certain parts of the body work harder than they should. That can add seconds to a competitive time or – even worse – to a variety of tears, pulls or strains.
Pilates exercises focus on strengthening this inner support system which consists of the deep abdominal muscles, and the muscles closest to the spine. The exercises develop core control by integrating the trunk, pelvis and shoulder girdle. Pilates can teach swimmers how to activate their inner support system to attain maximum balance and alignment as well as correct muscle “firing” patterns. This means the muscles activate when they should, within the dynamic of a particular movement.
Swimmers will also see stronger stomach muscles, which are the base of all their movements. For a swimmer a strong core will keep scapula, shoulders, pelvis and spine balanced and aligned so that they can lift their arms up and out of the water without the usual straining of the neck muscles, leading to less overall wear and tear on the body and a faster swim. In addition, Pilates exercises are performed at a deliberate pace, with proper mind-body control. This approach translates well to the pool, where many swimmers need to concentrate less on how far they have gone and more on breathing, body orientation and balance for a steadier race.
- Muscles fire correctly leading to more fluid movement
- Body is aligned, leading to less strain on the neck
- Proper mind body control leads to a steadier, faster pace
- All of the above equal faster times without the wear and tear
– Article by Mind Body