Innovative Dryland Ideas for Masters with Pilates and Yoga by Conrad Johnson (20080


Published


Thank you and good morning. I run a program in New York City called Team New York Aquatics and we swim at five sites, and actually 30 of those swimmers are actually not affiliated with Team New York, they are a YMCA team that I keep under my umbrella in my little swimming empire in New York of just under 400 swimmers. I want to introduce Jaime Windrow who is a Team New York dryland coach. She is going to run the computer for us this morning and will be doing the demonstrations. This morning I just want to hand out two things about Pilates in the swimming media, the top thing is from 2002, most of the other things are more recent from Swimming World or ASCA Swimming Magazines. I have two sets up here so maybe while this is going on you can just sort of pass one up there. So how many people here have been to a Pilates Studio? How many people here have not? Just so I can get some sense so for those of you who haven’t been there, have you ever walked by one or looked in or seen one or noticed what is happening there? Well most of the equipment in the Pilates studio has a certain sort of like mediaeval torture quality to it, but what we are going to talk about today really is about mat Pilates. In many people’s minds, there is equipment – there is a big thing there called “the reformer” and a big thing called “the Cadillac,” but we are going to talk about mat Pilates because in the end, what you will get from this talk is really a sense that you can do this program in any dry place near the pool or you can just do it by having just a dry place available in the same building as the pool.

I am going to summarize the whole world of swimming dry-land in an unforgivably brief manner. We did this very long extensive analysis of the history of swimming dry-land and it really came down to three pivotal things: the first thing that was really brought to swimming dry-land is very old by today’s standards. It is called, “How To Be Fit,” a book by Robert Kiphuth, and if you take a look at this book and I will pass this book around too, if you take a good look at this book and this quote here is actually from Vern Gambetta, who is sitting in the back. “Not only is the old becoming new, but most coaches do not know what the old is.” Well, one of the things is this book was written in the 1930’s and if you look very closely at this book, you will see that there are a lot of elements in here that are very much dance-like and this almost looks like a kind of ballet fitness manual for the New York City Ballet. This was written in the 1930’s, but nothing has really changed since then. If you take a really, good look at this you will see all sorts of dance like patterns in this book. That is the kind of thing that we are really looking to stress here, there is something very fundamentally different about doing Yoga and Pilates as part of swimming dry-land.

So, moving right along here, is to move to the second pivotal aspect; we came to the Vern Gambetta authored USA Swimming Core Strength project in 2005 and the ASCA Dryland Course and in a way – all of swimming dry-land training over all the years has really boiled down to this. It starts with that Kiphuth book, it goes all the way to this “Core Strength Project” and nothing in between has really made any real degree of difference to the whole history of swimming dryland. There have been medicine balls. There has been core strength language. If you went to a swimming conference maybe ten years ago and you heard the swimming coaches in the hallways, “before the dry-land we do a lot of core,” and nobody really understood what that meant because it was just doing sit-ups and doing all sorts of other things, but nobody really got a sense of what that was really all about. So let’s go on to the third pivotal trend, and let us talk about Bill Boomer. Now, Bill Boomer was also very influential in thinking about body movements. A lot of us saw him in the late 1990’s into the 2000’s and we didn’t really know what to make of a lot of the things that he talked about. He was thinking about the way people move in the water. The drills that he did were very precise and difficult and there was no sense of applying this to a college program with many engrained habits or to an age group program with hundreds and hundreds of kids and that certainly would apply to Masters programs with hundreds and hundreds of grown up kids. What he did do in all of this was a very profound rethinking of what happens to humans when they move through the water, so this is where he came from.

We have this whole body of swimming dry-land and we have this whole body of knowledge that Bill Boomer brought in of how people move in the water and we tried to bring them together. In doing so, we really discovered that what was really lacking in all of this was a sense that moving through the water in dry-land or doing dry-land was to try to recreate something that had to do with things that were very dance-like and very graceful. The swimmers are trained to place your intentional relationship with the aquatic environment before your velocity needs. Now again, that too, also can give you a bit of a headache, but what it really says is there is something profoundly different from moving in the water and this is where Yoga and Pilates comes in. We are going to talk mostly about Pilates in this talk, because most of the yoga stuff that we could refer to comes from this book – “The Athlete’s Guide to Yoga” by Sage Roundtree. So, if you ever want to get it, it is really a very wonderful book and I will leave it around here. What we have here is that in swimming dry-land there is very much of two different mind-sets that goes on here. There is the mindset of balance and alignment and all of those things that you talk about when you talk about medicine balls or dry-land or core strength and then there is this whole idea of mind/body relationship that goes on when you talk about Yoga or Pilates.

So there is this historical disconnect from the physiological language used with high-end competitive sports. So, Yoga and Pilates is sort of one denomination and then all these other sports are in this other denomination and rarely is there much of an ecumenical relationship between the two. So part of what we tried to do here and this is really much more of a two year study that is going on about how we got to this point. What we are trying to do is to bring a whole lot of things together and move forward. If Yoga and Pilates makes one more physiologically attuned to human movement in the water, there is an increased pathway to improve themselves and this connection grows stronger with age. There is an increased sense of awareness as one develops further, so I was always saying to myself, what do you do with a 45 year old Masters swimmer who has no relationship to the weight room, no relationship to cycling, to do anything like that and I said to myself that this is really a perfect person to try Yoga and Pilates.

What we have done here is to try to bring the two strains together. We are trying to have this ecumenical dialogue that is not going on between the two schools, when training in an environment that can be reasonable, constant and unchanged, compared with the racing environment which can be chaotic with swimmers having to make tactical decisions in a very unstable setting. So, you have this idea that when you train everything is very stable and when you race, everything is very chaotic or very tactically chaotic and to try to bring the two things together and all of the dry-land that we have looked at over all the years have always tried to address what happens in a very stable environment. Then in a racing environment that is a very unstable environment so we have these two things going on and we are looking for again this ecumenical relationship between the two. The chaos drill theory which is just a concept that somebody created whereby swimmers working in a more unstable training and racing environment, they execute the techniques more effectively when training and racing is merged. With this theory, we have this idea that you have this very chaotic process going on when people are racing and then all the dry-land that we have brought to date has always been about very much in a very controlled setting and we are trying to look for something that can bring the two things together. You can actually send away for a brochure for a certification for Pilates in a weekend.

Then there are also these other courses where you go to where you could be in these Pilates classes for a year or two years and one of the things that we very much wanted to approach here was that if you do Pilates in the way that it was really intended to be done, then in that sense you are really doing things much more in this mode of chaos drill theory. So with that, we wanted to just say briefly that when I was working at the YWCA and Jaime came to me and she said well we had a Yoga class there and she said, well, why don’t you have a Pilates class and I said “well, I guess so,” and I went and started this Pilates class. She said, well, why don’t you go and get trained yourself, so I took some money from my budget and I went and I went to a STOTT Pilates which is a very regimented Pilates class and I went basically 9-5 for three straight weeks Then I did all this practice teaching and I came away from that curriculum with a really very sound philosophy about the whole physiology of Pilates, the whole physiology of human anatomy and movements. It was a really very important thing for me because what came across that is missing from all the material that is being sent around the room here, is the sense that Pilates has an important core, a distinction, is that when you do Pilates you do the Pilates very much from a perspective when you talk about activating your core and activating your core means that you are engaging

ALL of these muscles that you can’t ordinarily do by any other kind of exercise, whether it be crunches or any kind of abdominal things one does. When you are doing this core strength movement, it takes about six or seven days of working with this, doing this in order to get this position/balance exactly right. I wanted to just move on very quickly and just keep going and then we will get to showing something with Jamie doing something in the middle of the room. So, let’s keep going. Breathing in the water is profoundly different from breathing on land and Yoga and Pilates being more attuned to this critical difference makes it more attuned as reflected in this vital breathing methodology based on the difference in rhythmic nature. Now what that means basically is that you can’t breathe in the water the same way you breathe on land, but in Yoga and in Pilates there is a very rigid sort of and I do not mean rigid in the sense of its type, but a very careful delineation of how you breathe. Whether it is in Yoga or whether it is in Pilates and such, you are always very conscious about breathing on the exhale before starting an exercise.

The average swimmer is 30-40% stronger, 40% in the upper body, 25% in the lower body. The nature of swimming is that we cannot do what comes naturally because the terrestrial and the aquatic environment are different. This sport is a sport of extensions and all of this stuff that we do in aquatics has to do with extending and all of the breathing is different. The training similarities are not equal to running, biking or other aerobic activities. The real dynamics at play here are the gymnastics and dancing. Water is like an aesthetic sensibility that punishes rushed movements and it rewards smoothness and grace. The harmony in the water becomes the Zen of aquatic movements. Terry Laughlin said it is about people swimming like fishes, when people swim like fishes and fishes have 400 million years of evolutionary, aquatic history behind them, always swimming impeccably balanced, never sinking the tail. They always maintain a tailored shape and whole body movements that create no turbulence so with that what we really have – what we are really sort of saying is that what you are going to look for in Pilates is gymnastics and dance and we are taking this whole methodology and language from gymnastics and dance and this whole methodology and language from swimming and bringing them together.

We are doing this in the sense that this is something that you could do from all levels of activity and all levels of ability and all levels of prior knowledge. So, Jamie why don’t you just come up here and do this little thing, just going back to when we first started the whole idea of this Pilates Swim Masters program. [Jaime Windrow takes over] I am also a special dancer in addition to the TNYA Dry-land Coach and I use Pilates for strength training in the dance world and I was really interested in bringing it, this is going back like five or six years ago, bringing it to the Masters Team – I thought …………………. I am sorry – you cannot hear me? How about if I speak really loud? So what we wanted to show you today – obviously we are not going to teach you an entire Pilates mat program right here – I am just going to show you for instance one exercise showing how it uses all the core strength, but taking it from a very beginning level into a very advanced level and what is really great about Pilates – some of this you may have seen if you have done it – it really can be done anywhere and that was the whole idea is that I think a lot of swimmers tend – if they are going to skip a workout it is going to be a strength training workout and I shouldn’t even just say swimmers, I would say that all of my athletes, if any workout gets skipped every week, it is always strength training, always. So, there are even just five exercises in Pilates that you could have your swimmers do for a quick warm-up and it really will make a difference – sort of this whole mind/body connection so I am going to get on the floor.

There are two big positions in Pilates with the pelvis and it is neutral position and then imprinted. So don’t worry, I have shorts on, so I am just going to show you really quick the two positions are your neutral position where if you wanted to place a tea cup or a beer right here, it would balance. It would be able to balance here – if you placed your fingers in a little triangle your fingers and your thumbs would be on an even plane. There is a slight space underneath your lower back. This is neutral. That is one position that we work in and the other is imprint. You are slightly tilting the tailbone up. You are not digging your lower back into the ground, but you are slightly imprinting so you are now – your abdominals are supported. We like to use the word “supportive” now rather than imprinted. So, the more advanced athlete wants to move on to the next level they start doing exercises in imprint and they would move on to neutral position. So, for instance, we are just going to take a basic version, I am going to bring in a few modifications, that being a position known as “tabletop.” Your legs are always at 90 degrees, knees over the hips to challenge the abdominals more, bring your knees in this way, you are not going to be using your abdominals as much.

So, you have, you can jump in whenever, I am going to take a simple single leg stretch first. There are five abdominal exercises and if you can learn these or someone on your team can learn them and teach them to everyone. If that can be done before every workout, I promise you, and you will see a difference. This is just one of them and they are called the single leg stretch. So, you are taking an inhale and getting the back of the neck, curling up, that is how every exercise begins. Arm in an imprint position, I am a beginner so I am starting here. A single leg stretch first, this would be straining one leg – bending the other and just simple movements like this. Now, you can start adding the breath in with your athlete. You can inhale, inhale and then exhaling. The next progression would be for your athletes to do this in neutral position. I do not recommend anyone doing these exercises once your feet are up in the air in neutral and so they really dangle off the strength because you can put a lot of pressure on your lower back – so that would be your next progression, is doing it in neutral. It is sort of hard to see, this would be neutral position, this would be imprint, so it is just a slight, and that small little distinction is very important because that is the difference between, when they talk about having your abdomen engaged, all the abdominal muscles are engaged at that point.

The difference with Pilates, rather than just doing a crunch; I mean why don’t I just sit here and do crunches, when you are doing just traditional core strength you are really just working these outer fibers. You are not working like all the deep muscles, the transverse abdominis, the pelvic floor, all these things that are going to really make a difference when you are in the water. Once they find that connection and start working those deep muscles there is this whole, what we are talking about, the mind/body connection in the water. Let me just really go on and show you – this is, by the way, one of thousands. I am just doing one exercise and bringing you through so we start off with a single leg stretch. The next thing would be to increase the levers and using two feet so now you are challenging while the upper fibers are stabilizing, you are challenging the lower fibers so you can add in straight leg and around, exhale out and then sort of make it more challenging, you can inhale out.

So all of these thing are just, that is just one exercise, there are a thousand so obviously I am not here to teach you, that was just one example. So again, when you talk about a correct version of Pilates, you are talking about having your abdominals really engaged. [Conrad Johnson continues] The little thing that she did on the floor there, which had to do with making the abdominals engaged, the deeper, the transverse abdominis, is very critical because if you do not do that right, you are not doing real Pilates and so many people who say well “I got a certification in a weekend,” do not buy it. If someone says I got a certification in a month, don’t buy it. If you get a certification that is over a long period of time with a good solid denominationally grounded, school of thought, like the STOTT Program for instance, which is how I got certified and she got certified.

Now we moved on to other things, because the studio (Pilates Academy International) where we are doing the work now has become an independent studio, but also independent in a more rigorous way, so that is very important. What we are trying to do here is that we have to have the internal abdominals, the internal transverse abdominals have to be activated. [Jaime Windrow continues] Right here, just in case anyone doesn’t know, we are talking about the transverse, if you place your hand here and you cough, and you feel those deep muscles – that is your transverse abdominis. Most people probably never used it, I take that back, many people that come in for Pilates for the first time – when I start using these exercises – they are so sore the next day – even if they have a good fitness level because they are not used to really working that deep. Did you show all five? No, that was one. I was giving you an example, mostly. I wish we had a whole hour to do Pilates. It is the abdominal series and if I can teach any of my athletes anything or any of my clients – it is usually those five and I am going to do this before any workout and then you can take those five and get a hundred exercises out of it. You start off and that would just be so you would start with the – and to make it more challenging you would never come down. But, you can always come down in-between. So you would go from the hundreds, roll down if you would like, you can see that your legs will come up, you do a single leg stretch and there would be breathing involved and then you would go to scissors, you would come in and then you would go into obliques and the difference between obliques in Pilates, rather than traditional exercises, you are thinking of really more lengthening rather than just deep leg stretches, and then you would go into the leg stretch.

Those are the five, you can switch the order a little bit and there are tons of different ways if you have bands, if you have got a bosu on deck, the rings, you can pull them between your legs – there are so many different ways, but those five I usually try – if I could teach anything I would do those. Q. Just so I understand, the supportive position is for the more novice? A. Whenever your feet are up in the air – it is important, starting off with anyone, even if you are a really strong, fit athlete, but whenever your feet are up in the air, in that table top we would start straightening the head and levers, always imprint and it is really for the advanced person to really start doing things, always supported because then your lower back is just gently on the ground. You are not jamming it, the table is slightly tilted, you don’t have a natural curve of your spine. [Conrad Johnson continues] She says you are extending on the thing again, it is a sport of extensions so we are thinking about the extension there. We are also thinking about the motions that she did there.

You see, Pilates was originally invented after the First World War and it was used for rehab in hospitals and basically you take the hospital bed that looks, what is now called the Cadillac, which is a Pilates machine. But what happened was after the war ended and all the people got rehabbed and went on to live and then where did this whole thing go? The person who adopted it was George Balanchine who was then the Impresario of the New York City Ballet. When you were injured in ballet and you couldn’t dance, you went into Pilates class and so these studios maintained themselves in New York City for many, many years, actually doing rehab and fitness for people who were dancers and that is how she got involved with it and this his how the studio, they got involved with it. All along the physical fitness of the average New York City ballet dancer is extremely high (akin to an Olympic athlete) and so when they are not dancing they need to do something in order to keep that fitness level up.

Pilates became very much of a dance-focused dance-oriented specialty for a very long time. When it became popular, maybe 10 – 15 years ago when suddenly everybody had Pilates on their fitness club menu, a lot of that got lost and people just became of the mindset that we actually “get Pilates,” so we are going to do a fast certification in a month and we are going to get somebody out there who can teach the class. But, they were not really teaching the original Pilates and so part of what we are arguing here is to bring back what is old to be new again and that is what we are really looking to do. That is why we are saying that it takes a very long preparatory process before you become a certified instructor. It is absolutely critical. All of the stuff that I handed out, all the material in there now, some people here have very experienced instructors. I know that Natalie Coughlin had a very experienced instructor, but not everybody in those articles talks about how difficult it was to become certified. Now, I don’t want to say that it is not something that everybody in here can’t do, but it is very important that you do get a commitment of time and energy to do this and the best way to do it is to do like she did. She went to someone on the team and said, well, why don’t you become certified? I am sitting there going “well, I just run a swim team.” I would go get certified and in doing so I came back six months later and I was really very knowledgeable about all the things I never had any experience in before, so again, the sport of extensions; it is bringing the dance/gymnastics into the discussions of swimming dry-land and in doing so we need to re-create a kind of dance-like motion that most great swimmers do when they swim.

World Class swimmers swim with a great deal of gracefulness, a great deal of incredibly, it sort of looks like there is almost no effort being expended, while they do this, so again, that is also very much what we want to get across to you right here is that this is possible to do by having a committed person go to get the proper training and then come back to the program and then re-teach this in a way that is very good for everybody. They are knowledgeable, they are certified and that is what we are looking to do for people when you say innovative dry-land, that is what is missing in all the material that we passed out for you, is that very core strength about how to engage all those internal muscles and really becoming anatomically very conversant from the world class swimmer to the middle aged Masters swimmer.

Q. Once you did your training in Pilates and I am sure during the training you were actually doing it right. So, when you finished that you walked on the deck and you started, I mean, even before you do dry-land – as you are watching your swimmers I am sure you were able to teach them differently about how to gain that awareness in the water, right?

A. Well yes, and in fact one of the things that is you have to do this little translation, when you are starting to talk about Pilates stuff into swimming stuff and some of the people you know when you talk about an alignment you know in the water whether it be a spinal alignment as in yoga or a spinal alignment, you are going to talk about that in a very different way; there is a new door to communication that gets opened there when you begin to talk about that Anybody else have any questions? When we started this program we actually did, we started about twice a week and we actually did an hour before the workout. We are not reinventing the wheel at all, now there is yogalates and all this fancy stuff and to me, let us just go back to sort of the basic. I just want to stress again in that book that passed around, that Kiphuth book , there is a very much, like it looks like I said, the ballet manual for the New York City Ballet, it is really a beautiful set of photographs and it was done in the 1930’s. We are trying to bring that back. We are trying to create Pilates as it was originally intended to be done. With very rigorous training, preparation and in doing so these other things become possible, the whole idea of the gracefulness and the mobility, the fluidity that comes with swimming, then re-emerges itself in dry-land training.

Q: This might be going outside of the traditional Pilates playbooks, so tease me and I will pet you, I do not mean that sarcastically, but you just showed a few movements in the supine position and it seems to me that whether it is a kid or a high-performance athlete or a Masters, you know, in the prone or the standing and there are probably, I don’t know, principles or styles that could be applied so could you comment on if your use of Pilates in not just the supine position on the ground

A: I was just using that as an example, you move through all different positions in Pilates, standing up is a down prone side. I am feeling you have equipment which is the whole point that we are talking about, not using that. You can do much more stuff standing up, but there are some limitations, athletes that are injured or cannot lie on the ground, there are ways to modify it; obviously, the whole point is that we are adding some levers in the arms and legs which is why we are doing a lot down on the ground. There is a very wide range of that can be done standing – some people – like Vern Gambetta was in the room before – he said that 90% of what he does as core dry-land strength has to be done in the standing position and we are not saying that any of that is really different except that we are saying that that 10% now can become 30% by adding Pilates to it. Does that answer your question?

Q: For example, I do not know if this resonates or helps anyone else, but for example, if you are helping somebody with no equipment, just a body weight squat or a body weight lunge, are there things that you feel yeah, if you did Pilates or if you knew someone who knew Pilates you could improve the level of the instruction or the applicability to the water.

A: Yes, absolutely. In the end what this is all doing, if it does not make the translation to the water there is no reason to be doing it. Otherwise, we should spend the time in the water, but in doing this we actually help make this transition because again, we are bringing in new elements to the situation. The dance like – the gymnastics you know, using your body as your own lever – all the things that happen in a compromised environment in the water ahead.

Q: If you are going to try to incorporate sets just take her (Jaime’s) five, in your program, how long do you do each of those exercises? I mean, do you do 20 repetitions? Do you do a minute to start and

A: (Jaime Windrow answers) That is something that you can kind of play around with, I mean the traditional usually, the number for exercising the entire body is like 6-8 – somewhere around there. One repetition would be inhale – inhale – exhale – exhale – that is one, but we generally, when I am doing like the fab 5, I usually do 10. I think 10 is actually a good number, but again – that is something to decide based on the individual.

Q: Isn’t that also something that when you are doing the exercises correctly and don’t need them?

A. Exactly, when you are doing it right. What I always say when people, Pilates is not easy, you have to explain and it takes a little while to really get it and if I have to go there, one often says, I am just not feeling anything, you are just not doing it right you know? You will get it – it takes a little while to feel those muscles when I deal with ——–when you are doing it right – that is a little philosophy of mine, but you do not need to do that many and if you are doing a whole hour you are always using your core. (Conrad Johnson continues) Just try to get the type of person who has no gym sensibilities, which is the 40 year old Masters woman, and my program is full of them. It is a way to get them involved in the dry-land part of your program in a way that is non-threatening so that is also an important thing.

Q: What I have gotten so far is Pilates is here in a long program, but part of us do not live in New York or California. I live in Grand Junction, Colorado. Yeah, there is a big program there, 3 hours away from a city so you know. How do we incorporate, where do we go for information.

A: Well that depends on how serious you want this to happen. If you really wanted to implement this into your program I would recommend, I am sure you could find someone – maybe even on a list that you may want to bring in that is already certified or maybe invest in having one of your coaches do a Pilates Masters Certification. Believe it or not, you might have to travel a few hours to get certified.

Q: Right, so what you are saying is a long-term program is the best and is there a shorter term program that may not be the best, would that be sufficient?

A: Well again, there is a very fine line between yes and no. Are you going to answer that question? (Jaime Windrow continues) I was just going to make a suggestion. There is this great DVD that Palmer Cook put together. Palmer Cook has worked with world class athletes, and he has the DVD that you could order off the website. And the STOTT Pilates– you can Google on the big ones and they will come up. They have actually a video/DVD, there are a little bit more instructions on it. You are teaching this to your athletes, you want to really understand it for yourself before you start teaching them, but there are ways of doing it without committing a year of your life. Again, if the preparation is good for the instructor, the teaching is of a very high quality. You have to do less so I would say that ideally if you did it twice a week, that would be great for Masters athletes. For someone who is more of a high level competitive athlete then more. We did twice a week and most people came both nights, Tuesday/Thursday nights. That was like the full hour of class, but we are also talking about before, you can just take 10 or 15 minutes if you can get your athletes there five or ten minutes early you could do like, you could probably, after they have leaned some of these theories, it is amazing just what you can get in just that ten minutes. When I am performing and I only have ten minutes for a warm-up, I don’t have time for anything else. You are going to get blood flowing, you are getting your heart rate up, you are stretching. You know, we all have limited time though. If you can do it a little bit before each swim practice, that is fabulous, but if you can get in two hours a week, that is even better.

(Conrad Johnson continues) Is there a quantifiable thing? What we would do to quantify this, if we had a group of swimmers you would have to divide them into two groups that are similar and you would have to put them through, one in a Pilates program and one in a non-Pilates program, then what would happen is that you would compare later on, but even that is not really what is going on because if any of you look at what Natalie Coughlin did, that she definitely had enormous progress as time went on and she kept going and she is actually into it even more than she was before.

Teri McKeever do you want to say something? [Teri McKeever] I was going to say that I was an active coach, a part of what you would think you were selling is fitness and this is about fitness overall health in my opinion, I mean, that is the way that I fell into the college program – it is a lifestyle. It is awareness that we don’t talk about at swimming and I know a lot of swimmers that swam for 10-15 years and then they have health issues because all they did was swimming and I just felt it was really important because it put the element of fitness and awareness into it. I think it helps eliminate injuries, but the only thing that I would say is I have used different people and this is probably, people are competitive, I catch them when they take a mat class, four at a time and the instructor went into trying to outdo them and they were trying to outdo each other and I had three backs blow up on me last fall and I was really convinced it was overdoing it. I kept going, saying things and I made a mistake, I didn’t pull the plug soon enough and you know like you were saying, how long do you do it? Just that idea of being in the right place, it takes a lot of people a full week.

Q: I see a lot of Masters swimmers are coming in, leaving other sports and they are coming into swimming and then they have weird injuries and they say they are doing their own core training somewhere else, but is it that core training is not adequate for swimming.

A: (Conrad Johnson continues) When I was at the YWCA and everybody in the same building, I said to my swimmers, “God save you if I ever see you in the fitness center unsupervised.” There I had some control over it. Now I do not have the same kind of control over it, but I would maintain that same level of discipline. You have got to see what they are doing, when they say they are doing things on their own. But part of also what we are stressing – this is a very injury free thing. Now, what she (Teri) is talking about is instructors coming in and moving much too fast. Pilates has a basic method, an intermediate level and an advanced method. The simple method alone could take you six months to master. Then you would move on to the intermediate, but when you go all the way through to the end, you can do what dancers do. They can go all the way back to the beginning and start again, with a new level of precision and a new level of applicability to their swimming, now that they have seen it in the water. A warm-up and single leg stretch, scissors, obliques, that is just the basic and I could probably, those are pretty much like the original names and I could probably out of those five, come up with maybe a couple of hundred exercises with modifications. Altogether there are 57 mat Pilates exercises. The top ten of them are much too hard for almost anybody in this room to do, unless they really put their mind to it and worked towards it, but the first 30 are really very appropriate for Masters swimmers to learn, no matter what their level of fitness or their ability or their adaptability to learn it. I think Pilates mat is actually harder than even the equipment.

With that, I am just going to leave you with that we are trying to bring a level of dance/gracefulness into swimming, trying to bring a level of conscious artistic expression into swimming and we are trying very much to stay away from the high end competitive sports. We are trying to bring some innovative things into swimming dry-land training and this is one way to do it.

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