Benefits Of Reformer Pilates For Runners

Lockdown Rules and the beautiful weather have inspired you to lace up your trainers, dig out the headphones and head into our beautiful Formby Woods or to escape (did we just admit that?) down to the beach for a casual run?  We hear you and have compiled this article on the benefits of reformer pilates for runners to ensure you optimise your running potential!


reformer pilates for runners


The popularity of running has rapidly increased over recent years and the number of runners out and about has sharply inclined in 2020!  This means that the incidence of running-related injuries is also on the incline and this is particularly relevant among new runners. Running injuries are extremely common, with statistics indicating that as many as 90 percent of runners miss training time every year due to injuries like IT Band Syndrome, hamstring issues, shin splints and stress fractures.



Whether you’re running to train, to loose weight or to stay sane, it’s important that you prepare well and remember that injuries need not be an inevitable symptom of running.

Follow our guide for an injury-free run  (they are particularly important if you’re training with an event or a distance in mind)


Are you starting from zero?  Are you dusting off your running shoes and have past experience of running?  Are you a regular runner and train for marathons, distance runs?

New To Running?

If you are new to running, it’s very important to begin with foundational work – you are about to load your joints with intense and repetitive actions so you have to load incrementally and over time with resistance training and increasing mileage.

If you’re new to running, haven’t run for a while and/or or have a sedentary desk job, adding strengthening exercises to your programme will help you increase your mileage sagely.


One of the biggest causes of injuries during running is the background and lifestyle of the runner. This means that they don’t have the joint health to withstand a high impact, repetitive exercise.

You have to use it, or you will loose it!  This means that if you are working crazy hours sitting at a desk all day, the likelihood is that your joint health may not be at maximum potential.


how reformer pilates can help desk workers


The healthier the joints, the more chance of withstanding any kind of repetitive action.  Most injuries are caused when movable joints receive impact through repetition which can be detrimental over time, especially if that joint is not healthy in the first place. The muscles around the joint become more fibrous and tight, and motion is not as smooth as it needs to be. Joint health for distance running is critical!

Our studio trainer, Chris Rimmer, reminds his clients regularly: ‘running without strengthening the joints and stretching the muscles can be damaging’

He also insists that ‘asking your body to withstand impact and pressure that has never been received before is most likely to cause problems.’


Long distance runners particularly need to keep their core strong!  Training to run long distances cannot just be about focussing on your legs.  Any long distance runner will agree that having a strong core will not only minimise the risk of injury, it will also dramatically improve your running speed and endurance.

reformer pilates for runners

Recently released research published in the Journal Of Sports Medicine & Physical Fitness found that three-dimensional core exercises such as plank variations and postural chain movements improve running endurance.

Study Evidence

The participants did a 30-minute core strength and mobility workout 3 times a week for 6 weeks. The results were significant:

  • Participants decreased five kilometre run times by an average of 66 seconds without a significant difference in mean heart rate
  • Participants increased ability to hold a plank by over 60%
  • Ankle range-of-motion asymmetry decreased by 46% while running on a level surface
  • Running economy improved (a measure of how efficient you are as a runner).
  • Through continued core workouts, running speed increased


Core Exercise and Leg Work are not the only areas that a runner should focus – think of your feet and ankles…how do you strengthen those areas of your body that are critical to your success as a runner at any level?

Dynamic Reformer Pilates can also be a beneficial complementary exercise for runners. In our Dynamic Reformer Pilates classes, the obliques are featured heavily, as well as exercises that integrate cross-sections of the body. Not only is this a low impact form of exercise – a perfect complement for the high impact demands of running – it can deliver big benefits for runners looking for that extra edge.

Want to find out more about our classes?  Click here.

With Reformers, the closed chain environment provides a particularly effective workout according to an article in Runners World. “We can really work on correcting hip, knee and ankle alignment, and improving the tracking of the knee”, explains Lynne Robinson. “Particularly useful for runners with knee problems, we can focus on the vastus medialis obliquus, one of your quadriceps. Even though runners often get strong quads, this stabilising muscle can be weak. There’s also a Reformer attachment called a jump board, which is great for improving your running action.”


Patience is the key; be realistic with your training and don’t push too hard too soon if you want to remain injury free.  This will also put you in the greatest position to achieve your own personal bests!

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