For peak sporting performance you cannot afford to have any imbalances in the body. Efficient movement can be inhibited by any overactive tight muscles or by poor balance and control. Pilates uniformly develops the body, stretching tight muscles and targeting the bodies ‘core’, correcting natural alignment. Pilates moves from a central core of stability and is a mind body technique. Prescribed Pilates identifies areas of imbalance, and the exercises will correct these through postural correction and controlled flowing, strengthening movements.
Understanding More about Muscle Imbalance
Unless you have perfect posture (which is very rare!) the body will be thrown out of natural alignment and this in effect causes muscle imbalances. The body has layers of muscles. The outer layer are composed of the ‘prime movers’ these large powerful mobilisers move parts of the body. For example, the hamstrings bend the knee, the quadriceps straighten the knee. Beneath this layer of prime movers there is another layer of deeper, smaller muscles. These are the bodies ‘core’ muscles. With poor posture the core muscles become held in a stretched position and the result is a weakening of these muscles. The outer muscles then become overactive and tight. This will inhibit performance of the prime movers. The body learns to preferentially recruit the mobilisers and neglects the stabilisers increasing the imbalance that has developed and good posture and balance continues to deteriorate. The brain accepts that this inefficient movement is ‘normal’ but movement is not as natural as it should be (i.e. as it was when we were young before these bad habits were learned).
This theory of muscle imbalance can be closely related to Joseph Pilates theory of ‘Contrology’. He said that pain was caused by imbalances in the body caused by habitual patterns of movement from repetitive lifestyles. He believed that the human race evolved for cave man living and our current sedentary lifestyles and ‘fast living’ is un-natural for the body. Joseph Pilates was a sickly child and he overcame his ailments by excelling in sport. Joseph Pilates was a boxer, diver and gymnast. He developed his matwork exercises from a combination of yoga and the ancient regimes of the Greeks and Romans. The Pilates approach was recognised as being beneficial in the rehabilitation of athletes and dancers in the New York Ballet as early as 1926 when Joseph opened his first studio in New York. Today many elite and youth sports performers have begun Pilates to rehabilitate injury and improve performance. Correcting imbalance, improving posture stretching, toning and building strength from the ‘inside out’ in the process. A recent study even promotes the use of Pilates in football rehabilitation for groin injuries.
KTB have worked with various sports teams and individuals including the youth World, European and British number one acrobatic gymnast, members of the National swimming team, the British number one youth decathlete, professional footballers and Linford Christies elite sprint training team. KTB works to prevent injury, correct postural imbalances and rehabilitate injury through the Pilates approach.