‘SWIMLATES’ – Pilates for Swimmers

by Dora Pandeloglou

Pilates is common form of rehabilitation designed to improve body awareness, strength and flexibility through one’s functional range. It can be used to assist in reducing acute, subacute and chronic pain, in addition to enhancing sporting performance.

A common misconception of Pilates is that it is slow, easy, effortless and isolated movements of the transverse abdominals (TA) (inner core) and pelvic floor (PF). This it far from the truth! Pilates challenges the neuromuscular system through the body’s large slings including the deep stabilising muscles that help to control and integrate the trunk, pelvic and shoulder girdle.

The TRUE core incorporates the internal stability system of the body (TA, PF, multifidus, and the deep rotators of the hip and shoulder) working effectively and efficiently together with global muscle groups to assist in stability through your entire functional range of movement.



Why ‘SWIMLATES’?

Swimming is a unique sport whereby that body is exposed to high volume and extreme ranges of motion. As this is the case, proper body alignment is critical and the slightest misalignments can cause inefficiency and an increased risk of injury. A swimmer’s training mainly focuses on global movements working superficial muscles. Some of the common problems that swimmers experience can include poor control through their shoulder blades, stiffness in the thoracic spine (mid back), reduced activation and strength in their gluteal (bottom) muscles and increased tightness in calves, pectorals and latisimus dorsi (large back muscle).

‘SWIMLATES’ addresses these common problems swimmers experience integrating this large global system with the internal stability system to improve:

1. Body awareness through the water
In order maximise efficiency in the water, swimmers need to have awareness of their body position. SWIMLATES enhances this imperative skill set and teaches optimum joint positions and movement patterns in swimming specific positions.

2. Dynamic strength
SWIMLATES strengthens the connection between the shoulder and hip complex through the torso. This enables a stable base in which all four limbs can produce the most amount of energy when swimming.

3. Balance
SWIMLATES challenges the body’s ‘balance’ in swimming specific positions, improving the body’s position in the water.

4. Breathing
SWIMLATES improves and challenges diaphragmatic and controlled breathing, an essential aspect to maximise efficiency in the water

5. Functional mobility
SWIMLATES improves dynamic flexibility through the functional range a swimmer requires. This is imperative for enhancing performance and preventing injuries as swimmers commonly ‘tightening up’ after their high load sessions and therefore put their body at risk of injury if their mobility is not maintained.


If you are a swimmer interested in enhancing your performance and preventing injures please contact PhysioHealth for more information and to book an appointment.
This entry was posted in Articles, General Hip & Groin, Knees, Mid & Lower Back, Mobility Exercises, Neck & Shoulders, Strength & Control Exercises, Swimming, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.