Supplementary Training-Pilates

This month we have been looking into how to get the most out of your performance, and a common theme that comes up is PREHAB. How to prevent getting injuries and having time off training. We’ve been in touch with a midlands based Pilates and therapy centre to investigate further.

balance body exercise female
Photo by Burst on

Nikki Howes is qualified as Level 3 mat Pilates instructor and has been teaching Pilates for the past 3 years. She is also qualified in Level 4 Exercise for Back Pain Rehabilitation and Exercise for Cancer Rehabilitation as well as Exercise Referral Qualified.

We asked Nikki what her top tips would be for starting Pilates as a rower……..

Pilates can be delivered in the form of either mat Pilates or equipment (Reformer) Pilates. You should take time to research the type of session that you feel you would enjoy, as well as which would benefit your training. For example, time and budget may leave you only available to attend a group mat or equipment class; or you may feel you would prefer to work on an individual basis with an instructor on a One to One basis to be able to really focus on your performance goals. Many Reformer sessions are delivered as a one to one session and some mat classes will request that you attend a one to one session prior to the group class to enable the instructor to deliver a posture assessment and to help you learnh the basics of Pilates before the class. Individual and Reformer sessions will be more expensive than a group class as you will be receiving specific instruction individual to you. When looking for a Pilates class or Instructor make sure that they hold a relevant Pilates qualification such as a Level 3 Mat Pilates Qualification or Reformer Pilates Qualification and always make sure that they hold insurance. If the Instructor is advertising as a specialist in a certain area, ask them about their qualifications or what experience they have to support this.

Key benefits of a Pilates workout include

  • Better mobilisation and stabilisation of muscles and joints throughout the body and highlighting and imbalances or weak areas.
  • Improves posture stabilises joints and develops stronger core muscles which better support the spine and help create a stable base to work from when rowing, thus supporting the rowing posture and giving better mobility and stabilisation of limbs thus improving rowing power.

Nikki’s top 3 stretches for a rowing athlete are

  1. A Hamstring Stretch is important to stretch out the back of the legs. Using a resistance band loop it over the ball of one foot and lay flat on the floor. Fasten both elbows to the ground and dorsi flex the foot and raise your leg to your highest point until you feel the stretch through the back of the leg. You could even add in hip circles at the highest point of the move to mobilise the hip joint.
  2. Upper back mobilisation with a chest stretch – side lying in a clam position with arms level with shoulders pointing to the same side reach the top arm back across the body and allow the head to follow the line of the arm. You should now be lying with both arms outstretched with knees to one side and head in the direction of the top arm. You should feel the stretch through the chest as you mobilise the back.
  3. Hip Flexor Stretch. Lay on your side with legs together, take the top leg back behind the body until you feel a stretch just in front of your hip bone. If this pulls on the lower back tilt the pelvis forward slightly. Raise your top arm over your head and pull the belly button towards the spine. Take three deep breaths and slowly roll onto the other side to repeat.


Nikki and her team work with a varied client base of people of all ages and fitness levels as well as athletes such as rowers, World Class Equestrian Riders and Ballet Dancers use their services at the centre. They deliver mat Pilates and Yoga classes as well as Reformer Pilates and Physiotherapy and Sports Therapies, so if you’ re a midlands based rower, we would highly recommend you check out Lutterworth Pilates and Therapy centre in Leicestershire.

Lutt Pilates Advert Nov 18 (1)

Published by averowingboatsuk

Ave Rowing is made in Portugal. Designed by rowers for rowers. Representatives across Europe are currently distributing single and double sculls for Olympic class boats and coastal boats

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