injury prevention, physio, running

Exercise #3: Pilates-based Strengthening for Runners.


It’s the final week of our January Blog Series – Pilates-based strengthening for runners…and I’ve saved one of me favourites for last: the side-lying leg press.

This exercise challenges the ability to maintain neutral through the spine both in the side lines as well as the anterior(front)-posterior(back) line while working the gluteals.

Here is the Reformer version:

1. Lie on your side on the reformer with your top foot on the footbar and the that knee at 90 degrees. Keep the bottom knee bent about the same amount, this foot can hover during the exercise, working the adductors(inner thigh muscles) of that leg.

Pilates Strengthening Runners side

2. Press into the heel of the top foot and straighten your knee out, moving the carriage towards the top of the reformer.

3. Hold at the top for 5 counts then slowly lower back to the starting position.

On our Balanced Body reformer, I like to use two reds and one blue spring for this exercise. You can also vary the position of your hip/foot on the bar so that they are pointing towards the ceiling to work the more posterior fibres of the gluteal muscles.

Here is the home version using a door anchor and 5 feet of blue Theraband:

1. Attach the door anchor in the door just below the handle height

2. Loop the blue band through the door anchor and place both of the loops you have tied in the band around your foot

Pilates Strengthening Runners blue TherabandPilates Strengthening Runners blue Theraband

3. Start with your top hip and knee at 90 degrees, your spine neutral and core engaged

4. Press through the top foot to extend your knee and hip, pressing the leg straight while keeping it at the same level in space (this will work your gluteus medius – an important stability muscle)

Pilates Strengthening Runners blue Theraband extend

5. For this home version, you can also work into a bit of hip extension at the end of the exercise by bringing your leg back behind you slightly(as in the picture). *Just be careful not to lose the neutral position of your spine and extend into your lower back.

Thanks for following over the past 4 weeks for our January Blog Series for Runners!

If you are interested in further clinical pilates to target the muscles that are specifically weak and/or tight for you with your running, I would be happy to work with you more in the clinic. It is a great treatment modality for re-training body awareness, isolating hard to activate muscles, and unwinding habitual movement patterns.

Also, stay tuned….for February we have our running specialist physiotherapist Florence sharing about running technique to prevent injury and improve performance. We’ll post her first edition next week. Follow us on Instagram or Facebook to stay in the loop.

Happy Training!