Pilates acts as a great exercise warm-up for many different sports and activities.
Pilates exercises are energetic and invigorating as they warm up the body through the stretching flowing and breathing sequences of movements.
Let’s look at some of the common Pilates exercises and see how you can benefit by using them for an exercise warm up.
"The Hundreds" as the name implies uses a sequence of pulse breathing over 10 sets of 10 breaths.
The purpose of the hundreds is to not only warm-up the body and core but to strengthen your respiratory muscles and work your arms at the shoulder.
The breathing work can prepare you for sports that require much focus like golf and tennis where it’s important to breathe at the right part of the swing for optimum recoil.
Single Leg Stretch –
The Pilates single leg stretch is a great Pilates warm up for your core while stretching the muscles in the hamstrings and back.
Stretching this way is very helpful for people who have back pain during or after sports or exercise to warm-up those areas.
Generally sports such as golf, cycling, running, basketball, tennis are hard on the back.
This may be due, in part, to tight hamstrings in the back of your thigh.
Warming up this area prior to sport can have a significant impact on how you feel after your activity is over.
I like to use Pilates with a stretch band to get deeper stretches and more work in the muscles.
Roll Up –
The Pilates Roll Up is one of the fun Pilates warmups as it articulates or opens up the vertebra in your spine and allows the cerebral spinal fluid to flow freely up and down the spine.
This happens through the stretching action in the back and the strengthening in your deeper core abdominal muscles.
I used this particular exercise with a friend of mine when we were doing a 3-day bike ride and it did wonders for his already painful back and tight hamstrings.
Rolling like a ball and with a ball (as shown) can be used as an exercise warm up or cool down exercise through its massaging action for your back and hips.
It looks like it's fun and easy to do, but when you really use your core muscles in trying to control your roll so you can balance when you roll up, you'll find it’s not as easy as it looks.
Be careful not to roll onto your neck with this exercise.
Rolling can be beneficial for sports that require good balance like mountain biking, hiking, and tennis.
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