Not too long after I became a fully certified pilates instructor, a client landed in my lap that changed the way I thought about pilates. As you can read in my first post here, I started pilates because I sat at a desk all day and had back pain. Throughout my training I really learned how much pilates could change people's bodies. I heard countless stories from dancers (yes, I certified in New York City and I was one of the few non-dancers in my class) how it helped them stay injury free through their careers. But pilates is NOT just for dancers.
So this client that landed in my lap was training to run her first marathon. She was actually featured on a segment running (no pun intended) on The Today at the time called "Today Runs a Marathon". She walked into her first pilates session and said "I am running the New York City Marathon in November and they told me I need to add in cross-training, so here I am."
She honestly could not have arrived in a better place. I wasn't a long distance runner at the time but I knew how much core training helped all types of athletes from my training.
She took to pilates immediately. I could tell it was just what her body needed, especially as her mileage increased. The pure method of strengthening and stretching her leg muscles alone was making her feel and become stronger.
One day she came a bit early to the class and asked me the following question, "I am having a hard time with hills, can you help me run hills better?" Short answer: No. If you want to be better at running hills...run more hills. Pilates will help strengthen all those deep muscles that will help you run those hills...but the honest truth...you still have to practice running hills. (Hence why my first half-marathon was purposely planned at the beach because it would be FLAT. But that is another blog post)
So here is the moral of the story. Pilates will make you stronger and will ASSIST in making your golf swing, backhand, hill times, etc. improve...but practicing the swings and running the hills are still required.