Tunde Olayera is a pilates instructor, as well as a fashion designer and an illustrator based in London. She speaks to GLUE on how to use pilates as an additional training regime for cycling fitness.
Q. Why is pilates good for cyclists?
Pilates is a total body conditioning system. It has many benefits for athletes including professional and recreational cyclists.
Q. One of cyclists biggest challenge is developing core stability. Our lower backs can feel pretty tired quickly due to weak abs. How can pilates exercise helps improve this?
Pilates strengthens the body’s core, toning deep abdominal and back muscles, creating stability of the pelvis and spine reducing the risk of injury.
Q. What advice would you give to cyclists who are training for sportive, cyclocross and triathlon?
I would encourage cyclists training for any of the mentioned events to add pilates sessions to their training regime, as it will help strengthen and lengthen muscles so you would develop lean muscles rather than bulk. Pilates also helps relax over dominant or tense muscles, releasing tension in the neck, shoulders, back, thighs and hip flexors – cyclists do tend to have tight hips.
Regular sessions help as preventative measure against injury, strengthen your joints while increasing range of movement and flexibility. Deep lateral breathing into the side and back of the ribcage, which is, used in pilates charges the whole body with oxygen, increasing endurance and stamina.
Q. What inspired you to become a pilates instructor?
I have always been enthusiastic about exercise, participating in many forms of physical training over the years. I initially took up pilates due to a persistent knee injury caused by the impact of physical exercise.
Through pilates I was able to realign, stabilise and strengthen my knee and improve my overall fitness. Since then I’ve never looked back, and that was over ten years ago. I decided to become a pilates teacher in order to share the many benefits of pilots with others, helping people develop greater body awareness, improve fitness levels and enhance overall wellbeing.
Q. Tell me about your pilates illustrations. They are amazing.
Pilates exercises are performed in controlled flowing movements, lengthening outwards from the core. I experience pilates as a form of art too; it’s a beautiful way to exercise. When I’m not teaching pilates I love to create stylized figurative illustrations, drawing inspiration from the aesthetics of the human form and nature.