Pilates, Yoga Have Benefits for Triathletes

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URBANDALE, Iowa -- At Spark Barre, Pilates and Yoga in Urbandale you’ll find those types of exercise with a twist.

“When I teach the class to athletes the goal is a little different and the style of teaching is a little different,” says owner Pauline Tan.

She knows how to motivate athletes, because she is one. She understands that most hard-charging triathletes don’t want to take time away from swimming, biking and running.

“The way I explain it is, we’re working this muscle group and it will help you in this way.”

The Pilates Reformer uses tension and tiny movements to help us work big muscle groups in the lower body that help us power through a run. We change the position to mimic being on a tri bike, but instead of working our legs, we are hammering the core.

“Your body is never in isolation,” Pauline explains, “you don’t just move your arms or your legs, it’s all connected. When people learn that and how to channel the core it gives them a different kind of energy.”

Other moves help us strengthen muscles swimmers have to recruit – triceps, biceps and latissimus dorsi.

The Reformer isn’t the only piece of equipment Pauline puts to use. You can place feet or hands on the pedals of the Pilates chair.  It offers countless possibilities, from single-leg to a pike with a mountain climber. Pauline makes it all look easy.  It’s not – which is perfect, since most athletes aren’t looking for easy.

Pauline finds the perfect balance between pushing them, and persuading them to pace themselves.

“We want to keep your body healthy and strong for the rest of your life,” she reminds us, “it’s not just about the race season, it’s about forever.”