Pilates for Runners: Overview, Benefits, and Exercises

Training to become a better runner? Boost your performance through these effective Pilates exercises

Published by The Running Blawg
on Nov 22, 2021
Image Source: Pixabay
Stretching and doing exercises are the most common ways for runners to prepare for a run, but another method can be extremely beneficial. This is where Pilates comes into play.

Pilates is a low-impact exercise consisting of controlled movements that improve core strength, mobility, flexibility, balance, and mood. Whether you're a beginner runner or a seasoned athlete, Pilates offers several benefits, making it the ideal approach to get your runs started!

Running is a repetitive action that demands the normal functioning of the body. Overworking specific muscles, notably those in the legs, causes them to strain quickly. Overcompensation by stronger muscles to compensate for strained muscles can lead to muscular imbalances.

Doing Pilates is one of the best options for faster recovery. Let us walk you through the amazing benefits of Pilates, why you should incorporate it into your training and the basic exercises to get you started.

Image Source: Pixabay

What is Pilates?

Pilates originated from Germany in the 1920s by Joseph Pilates, it is used as a training regimen for World War I veterans recovering from injuries. It became more popular over time, and some even consider it to be similar to Yoga.

Pilates stretches for runners are primarily low-impact exercise that does not require extreme physical prowess or endurance. These Pilates exercises are ideal for stretching after a run or as part of a pre-workout routine.

Pilates exercises typically last from 45 minutes to 60 minutes, making them appropriate for all types of cross-training. Workout time varies since there are different levels of Pilates exercises designed for both beginners and advanced runners.

Image Source: Pixabay

Pilates does not require considerable training for novices because it may be done at one's own pace. Beginners will quickly become familiar with the fundamental Pilates movements with the help of professional instructor and enjoy the process.

Pilates also make use of a variety of equipment to maximise efficiency during training. These includes the following:

  • Pilates Ring
  • Resistance Bands
  • Ladder Barrel
  • Foam Roller
  • Pilates Reformers
  • Pilates Mat

Each piece of equipment is used for a specific exercise and has a specific purpose, so familiarising how to use it properly is essential for performing effectively.

Image Source: Pexels

What are the Benefits of Pilates?

The benefits of Pilates for runners include almost all of the significant components needed for running:

  • The low-impact exercise is designed to improve posture, strength, flexibility, stability, and mobility.
  • It can be used as a full-body workout, targeting all of the body’s muscle groups.
  • Some people who practice Pilates notice significant improvements in their endurance, reach, and core strength.
  • It also protects runners' muscles from strain or injury while also allowing them to gain muscle mass.



Pilates is more than training for runners who seek improvement in their runs. It is beneficial in many ways, making it ideal for muscle development, cross-training, and recovery. 



The effectiveness of pilates in providing numerous benefits to runners piqued the interest of researchers. In a study, researchers discovered how Pilates training could improve 5-km run performance by changing trained runners' metabolic cost and muscle activity.

Strength training has always been the dominant factor in improving distance running economy and performance. The results have suggested that runners who have completed a 12-week Pilates training program and core strengthening workouts showed significant improvement in their training performance.

Image Source: Pixabay

Pilates Exercises for Runners

Pilate exercises are classified into two types: those that use Mat Pilates and those that use Pilates Reformers.

Each has its distinct methods and benefits, giving the runner the freedom to choose which exercise is best for them.


Mat Pilates for Runners

Half Roll Down - Lay on a mat facing up, with your feet on the floor bent upward at a 45-degree angle. Roll up into a seated position with your chin aimed at your chest. Keep your hands on the back of your thigh. Align your spine with your shoulder, and keep your posture for a few seconds. Aim your chin towards your chest again while firmly gripping your thighs.

Let your chest sink while you slowly lower your back towards the mat. Your body should form a letter C until the tailbone, and then you hold the position. Inhale as you move backward and exhale as you return forward.

The Half Roll Down | Image Source: Howcast.com

Hundred - Begin by lying on your back against the mat and drawing your stomach inwards. Your arms should be straight down the hips, with the fingers pointing ahead. Keep the legs close and lift them towards the ceiling. Slowly lower your legs until they form a 45-degree angle. Then, you lift your head, neck, back of the shoulders, and arms off the floor. Lastly, pump the components while Inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.

The Hundred | Image Source: Pixabay

Reformer Pilates for Runner

Stationary Running - Lie down with your toes on the foot bar and your hands at your sides. Extend your legs up, drop your right heel, bend your left knee, and slide down. Then, extend your left leg pushing yourself up, and raise your right heel to go back up again.

Stationary Running | Image Source: Pilates Anytime

The Frog - Use two straps for resistance. Start by lying down on your back. Then, gradually bend your knees. Assign each strap to a different foot. The resistance strap must stay in between your knees. The hands are still at the sides, and your back is straightened. You then extend your legs, allowing the reformer to slide you up, then return your legs to starting position.

The Frog | Image Source: Align-Pilates

Reshaping your Runs and Lifestyle

Pilates is more than training for runners who seek improvement in their runs. It is beneficial in many ways, making it ideal for muscle development, cross-training, and recovery.

Doing Pilates is a challenging task at first for some, with all the mechanics that you need to follow, but with consistent training and proper guidance, you will master the basics and appreciate the benefits that it will provide.

Like this article? Comment down below or share it with your friends! Follow ActivePlace and The Running Blawg for more helpful information, inspiration, events guide, and running tips.



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Published by The Running Blawg
on Nov 22, 2021