Why Pilates is great for athletes
What professional dancers and performers discovered years ago, athletes and sporting professionals are discovering now. It’s that Pilates is not only a killer workout, it’s one of the best forms of full-body conditioning. And what that translates to is that Pilates is great for athletes - both female and male. We have a number of men who do classes at our studio, and some male instructors too, but we'd love to see more of them complementing their sports training with Reformer Pilates and here's why...
Research has linked Pilates to better flexibility, increase core stabilisation, higher focus and improved athletic performance. Whether it’s in team sports such as rugby or football, individual sports like tennis and athletics or endurance events, here is why more teams and athletes are making it a key practice in their training regime.
Increase core strength
When you start focusing on your core, you will realise that all your muscles are connected. For example, have you tried doing lunges without your abdominals? With a stronger core, the remainder of your workouts will begin to improve. More specifically, deep core strength in the abdominal muscles directly leads to improving the length and flexibility of the hamstring muscles which is vital for increasing speed. Core strength is one of the key benefits of all Pilates programs, enabling athletes to channel and make the most of their power.
Pilates allows you to strengthen while you lengthen. In one Brazilian study, when young women (without any prior Pilates experience) performed 20 Pilates sessions, they became 19 per cent more flexible. When you're tight, you shorten your muscle and limit your body's range of motion which is needed especially in professional sports.
More explosive power
The spring resistance of the Pilates' reformer and jump board create a great environment for plyometric training. Athletes can learn to rebound and explode with control which is very good in sports such as basketball and netball. One key to explosive power is the concept of triple extension (the coordinated extension of the ankle, knee and hip). Effective triple extension requires strength, range of motion and timing - all of which can be taught using the reformer in a Pilates class.
It hones your focus
Pilates urges you to focus on your breath, your body, and how they move together. It takes a lot of concentration and doesn’t allow you to zone out. That means you're forced to forget about work, family, kids, partners, and other drama for the duration of the class. A great skill to have in any competitive or solo sport, or in any line of work for that matter.