At first glance, Pilates and Spinning don’t appear to have much in common – doing 100’s on the Reformer is a world away from sprinting on a stationary bike. However, as a devoted Pilates student + trainer and Spin instructor, I’ve noticed how my Pilates training has improved my performance on the bike. Pilates builds a deep awareness of our muscles and breathing – it can act like a biofeedback loop that can have big results and impact.
Here are 3 ways Pilates can help you take Spinning to the next level:
1. Stability, form, and balance. Pilates builds a strong core, which improves posture and form on the bike. Strong abdominals anchor your body to the bike seat to power your legs and prevent locking out the arms. When standing on the pedals (or “out of the saddle”), the core muscles (especially the hip stabilizers) preserve good form and maximize the workout by preventing swaying from side to side and leaning too heavily on the handlebars.
2. Better breathing. When the flywheel is heavy and you’re pushed to your max, it’s really easy to let your upper body slouch and rib cage collapse. But this inhibits breathing – obviously not good! Pilates training helps strengthen the upper back and teach back extension, enabling you to keep the chest open, shoulders back, and increases awareness of the lungs inhaling and exhaling so that enough oxygen keeps flowing to the muscles during the hardest part of the workout.
3. Stronger legs. Pilates lower body exercises – bridges, leg lifts, side kicks, and lunge series – work together to build long and lean quadriceps and hamstrings, the most used muscles in Spinning. Strong leg muscles power the sprints and climbs that are part of every Spinning class, and solid quads and hamstrings help to protect your knee joints, too.
Side Note: It's important to mix in both Cardio and Strength Training (yes, Pilates counts!) in your weekly routine to get strong and lean.