Pilates can both assist with enhancing performance as well as countering the effects that sitting on a bike can have on the body which can result in neck, back and shoulder pain as well as tight gluteals, quads, hamstrings and hip flexors which can have a knock on effect on knees.
Pilates practice seeks to improve core strength while promoting correct body alignment. Pilates offers a full body workout which strengthens and lengthens the body at the same time as focusing on improved posture, however it can also target specific muscles through tailored exercise programmes.
Keeping a strong core while cycling takes the pressure off the back muscles and helps to maintain a better cycling position avoiding the typical 'hunched over handlebars' stance which is so detrimental to the back muscles. It also helps to achieve greater hip stability and overall balance. This translates into better bike handling, more efficient pedal stroke, which in turn will inevitably increase endurance and enhance performance. Pilates practice also focuses on regulating the breath and in particular on lateral thoracic breathing (intercostal) which helps to maintain abdominal contraction while exercising.
Finally, as well as focusing on better posture, Pilates improves flexibility and therefore can assist in stretching out those muscles that are most afflicted from cycling while strengthening them, thereby acting as a preventative measure to avoid injury.
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