Some of our clients may have become aware of the link we have developed with the art of Pilates. All of Sentient Archery’s coaches are practicing Pilates in some form on a regular basis, as are quite a few of our top performing archers and other clients. As some of you may know, Charni has taken it quite a few steps further and pursued Pilates as a second profession by completing two high level Pilates instructor courses. Namely the BASI Comprehensive Teacher Training Course and BCP Beginner Mat Teacher Trainer Course.
The question you might ask yourself... Why Pilates? The point of this post is to answer that question and to ask for support for our very own Pilates Instructor.
Archery is an incredible discipline for testing your body’s functionality. It quickly brings awareness to any imbalances and weak areas as well as flexibility problems and movement faults. Every single person we see come in for archery training has got at least some imbalance in muscle strength and/or flexibility. People with very little issue in this department usually come from a background of sport or a martial art. These people naturally shoot with good form and develop very quickly within the sport. However, Archery in itself is actually quite poor at developing these areas. Archery requires relatively little active movement except for a limited, asymmetrical and repetitive shot routine. This means that shooting a bow will only develop a small range of muscles and if there are any imbalances they will quickly be set in place with strong muscle memory and will most likely worsen with the repetitiveness of shooting many arrows.
So what does this mean and how do we work around it?
Quite simply, any archer wanting to achieve significant growth in the sport must take on a supplementary discipline that covers these areas and focuses on maintaining and developing muscle and skeletal balance and proprioception. There are many movements and movement disciplines that develop the body in the holistic manner required to maintain and develop a healthy functioning body. Swimming is a great option, Yoga is another great choice, as are popular gym type exercises such as crossfit and any other general compound exercises. However, no discipline that we have come across even comes close to the benefits we see from Pilates. Pilates by nature is all about core stability. All movements in Pilates are designed to test the body’s ability to hold steady and maintain core connection. Often isolating movement to a single limb or section of the body while holding the rest of the body in a set position. The exercises are deceivingly simple in nature but require incredible amounts of focus and body awareness to execute effectively. Archery by nature requires you to be able to keep good posture and core stability while resisting the forces the bow puts on the body. This is why Pilates is arguably the single best exercise to supplement an archer.
I have done all sorts of sport and movement throughout my life, from more generic sports such as swimming, athletics, hockey, rugby, to more dynamic movement such as gymnastics, parkour, skateboarding, mountain biking and rock climbing. None of them, however, come anywhere close to the development and integration of body awareness gained from successful Pilates movements.
What we suggest?
Give Pilates a try! Yes, for the guys too. But make sure you work with a Pilates instructor who is focused on quality and correctness of movement rather than quantity and “getting fit”. Even better.. find a Pilates Instructor who is also an archery specialist! Definitely not many of those around, but luckily we have our very own ;)
Charni is focusing more and more on Pilates and how it integrates with Archery. She is looking for new clients and really needs our support. She already works with a few archers and coaches in private lesson format. I have personally opted to have her come through weekly for a private lessons, she is simply phenomenal. Very few people I have met have the focus and intention Charni shows to her clients and their particular bodies.
She offers a free first time session to assess your body and for you to get a feel for how she teaches. Please seriously consider contacting her and giving her a try. No cost and no strings.
She is also doing some group classes at the Our Movement Studio at Randridge Mall.