Swimming is such a great low-impact activity, excellent for cardiovascular activity, endurance and muscle strength and an all over body workout. No wonder so many people opt for swimming. Whether you swim just for fun or whether you are a professional swimmer, Pilates can be a game changer for improving your technique.
Just like swimming Pilates works on coordinating movement with breath, an essential skill in the pool. Not only this but Pilates is well known for strengthening our inner support system, including deep abdominals and spinal muscles which act as an anchor for your upper and lower limbs. Strengthening deep postural muscles will help achieve correct body alignment, aid correct muscle firing patterns and allow a strong core to integrate fully with the shoulder girdle and pelvis. This will allow you to work actively from your core when swimming.
Pilates also focuses on flexibility and lengthening of the spine ensuring a better postural alignment leading to longer, more powerful strokes. Increasing flexibility and stretching tight over-used muscles due to swimmings repetitive nature can help to balance out dominant muscles and therefore your stroke. Maybe you have noticed you have more power one side of the body, or that you veer off on a diagonal due to rotating to one side more than the other. Pilates will help to highlight these imbalances and aim to correct them, giving a more balanced stroke. Stretching out and mobilising tired muscles helps boost recovery, pay special attention to mobilising your shoulders as a lot of drive happens through the shoulder girdle and might need releasing to increase your range and prevent injury. Next time you are warming up or cooling down poolside try to incorporate some Pilates and see the effect!