Rotational disks benefits for athletes

“Forward and back, forward and back. Nothing side to side. Resist rotation. No wasted motion. You’ll run faster if you cut out that wasted motion and keep it all forward and back.”

This statement can often be ringing through the ears of track athletes or sportspeople developing their speed. But is it anatomically correct?

There are obvious health benefits from having balanced strength in our joints and in all the planes of movement they are designed to move in. This allows our joints to move to the best of their functional ability and prevent unwanted wear and tear or injury. But how can we harness rotation in particular to improve our sports. Motion, momentum, energy; these need to be used and controlled for optimal output but as part of an organised sequence.

For example a good sprinter needs to counterbalance the rotation of their pelvis/lower spine and shoulders to produce greater power forwards. A footballer will benefit from lower spine rotation when kicking a ball over a long distance too, not only do they wind up more power this way, they are also effectively make their kicking pattern longer. Longer kick or gait pattern often means a further kick or a quicker pace.

Running from our centre, in Pilates terms would mean having a strong spinal rotation pattern in particular from the pelvis/lower spine, the strength to control this rotation as the hip moves from extension to flexion in a powerful stride pattern. It is also important to recognise the spine is a chain and if you move one part there will be a ripple effect response through the rest of the spine, we need to allow this to happen but in a relative amount… Our centre moves first and our extremities then follow.

You can have a lot of fun with the Align-Pilates Rotational Discs using exercises to improve all your clients gait patterns working on stability and mobility.

About the Author
Sarah & Philip Harris founded Harris Mind & Body in 2006 to provide Physiotherapy & Pilates across West Berkshire. They are a team which specialises in Musculoskeletal physiotherapy, with specific interests in chronic back pain, sports injuries and neurological rehabilitation as well as offering Pilates, to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to wellness & health!