Member | Login with facebook
Forgot password?


Pilates for Runners

17 April, 2012 0 comments

Pilates for Runners

By Caroline Sandry

Pilates is a perfect complimentary exercise for runners. Performed correctly it will strengthen your core and the stabilising muscles around the pelvis whilst increasing flexibility and range of motion. In fact Joseph Pilates said “in ten sessions you will feel the difference, in twenty you will see the difference and in thirty you’ll have a whole new body” Well I can’t guarantee that, but I can guarantee that it will improve your body and your performance for life.

Running is perhaps one of the most natural and instinctive sports. Yet it also creates huge potential for injury due to its repetitive nature and any weaknesses in your body will sooner or later become apparent. Runners tend to be dedicated to clocking up the miles or working on speed, but very often will fail to pay attention to conditioning work such as Pilates. So with this in mind, I have put together just 6 key Pilates exercises to add into your training regime which will improve your core strength and help to balance your body. Try to perform these exercises at least three times per week.


Pilates -  The Side Bend

The Side Bend

Strengthens the deep core muscles and obliques. Also strengthens shoulder stabilisers.

Training tips – keep the hips stacked throughout - one hip on top of the other. Imagine a sheet of glass in front of the hips and keep both hip bones touching the glass. Keep your abs gently engaged (navel to spine) and stay lifted in the ribs and waist. Keep ‘lifted’ in the supporting shoulder.


Pilates - Side lying leg series

Side Lying Legs series

Strengthens the gluteals and pelvic stabilisers which are particularly important for runners.

Training tip –keep your navel drawn in towards your spine and do not let hips roll back as you lift the leg. Keep lengthening your leg away from you as you work.


Pilates -  Single Straight Leg Stretch

Single straight leg stretch

Strengthens the core and hip flexors, whilst lengthening the hamstrings

Training tips – The challenge is to keep neutral spine and flat abdominals throughout so pay attention to your spine and ensure it stays still as you move your lower leg towards the floor. Stretch your legs out long as you move.  Your hands simply touch your leg rather than assisting the abs. If you are not able to keep your back still, perform exercise with bent knees. 


Pilates Criss Cross

The Pilates Criss Cross

A great exercise for working the obliques and abs and pelvic stabilisers

Training tips – Try to keep your stomach flattened throughout, and move in a controlled manor – don’t let hips rock as you move. Imagine you are folding your shoulder towards the opposite hip.


Pilates -  Roll over


Works on core strength whilst increasing flexibility of hamstrings and the spine.

Training tips – keep your weight off your head and neck and on your shoulder blade area. You’re your abs engaged throughout the movement. Try to keep shoulder blades down and away from your ears. Do not attempt this if you have any back or disc issues.


Pilates Downward facing dog pose

Downward facing dog pose

The downward dog is a wonderful calming inversion which balances upper & lower body. Particularly good for runners as it stretches the entire back of the body from fingertip to sitting bones and from sitting bones to the Achilles heel.

Although calming, this posture also removes fatigue and can restore lost energy, bringing internal balance.

Watch points – keep the shoulder blades down away from your ears and spread the fingers pressing your whole hand into the floor. Relax the neck so you are looking back through your legs. If you have sciatica then keep the knees bent.


These exercises were taken from the DVD ‘Pilates by Caroline Sandry’ which has two half hour workouts plus a 15 minute flex band routine.  Perfect for runners!

Available from 

Sponsored links

Sponsored links