Swimming, biking, and running all depend on your alignment, breathing, and core strength, so triathletes are always searching for ways to enhance those capabilities. Pilates, a nearly century old strength training program, ticks all the boxes. Pilates, according to Wikipedia — “improves flexibility, builds strength and develops control and endurance in the entire body. It puts emphasis on alignment, breathing, developing a strong core, and improving coordination and balance.” On May 18 a NEMS meeting at Apple Therapy Services in Nashua looked at the role of Pilates in swimming, biking, and running, and then offered a taste of advanced Pilates workouts.
There is a natural progression to Pilates training. Most people start with a weekly class at a local adult education center and learn movements they can execute on a mat. But if you’re bitten by the Pilates bug, you will eventually look for opportunities to work under the individual supervision of a qualified Pilates teacher on dedicated Pilates machines, including the Reformer. The Reformer is one of the slickest exercise machines ever devised, and one with infinite capabilities for exercising the deepest and most critical muscles and muscle groups. Apple Therapy Services Nashua has several Reformers, as well as a Pilates chair, a trapeze, and other equipment associated with advanced Pilates. The photo below shows Lynn Novier demonstrating an iconic routine on the Reformer. She makes it look easy to strengthen your arms, shoulders, core, and legs simultaneously. For the record, it’s not easy, but can be fun.
Lynn Novier is Executive Director of Apple Therapy Services Nashua, and she led the NEMS meeting, which amounted to personal instruction for the members in attendance on Apple’s Pilates machines. Lynn is certified as an Advanced Teacher by Polestar Pilates, the premier Pilates certification group. Lynn and Orthopedic Clinical Specialist Shad Hansen demonstrated a variety of Pilates routines on the machines and then cued, spotted, and supervised every willing NEMS member in executing the movements. It was an evening of learning and exercise!
The meeting may have been a mere taste of the way Pilates can help in core strengthening, stretching, alignment, and balance, but it clearly persuaded all the members in attendance, each of whom moved just a little more gracefully by the time the meeting ended. Apple Therapy Services, a NEMS sponsor, offers personalized Pilates instruction based on individual postural assessment and functional movement assessment. If you need strength training (and what triathlete doesn’t?), it’s worth looking into.