How does Pilates exercise help professional athletes?

School Of Pilates Posted Mar 20, 2017 Future Fit Training


The controlled and precise movements of a Pilates workout are beneficial for a variety of populations.

How does Pilates exercise help professional athletes?

Athletes looking for a way to cross-train in a non-traditional way that emphasises a close attention to detail for functional strength and flexibility should look no further than the Pilates. If you have a passion for sports, attaining a diploma in Pilates is a great way to help the athletic population be at the top of their game.

Why Pilates?

Many football, basketball and baseball players use Pilates to not only to throw better or prevent injuries but also to improve their mental focus and lung capacity. A devastating injury can sideline any great athletes career, and Pilates is a way to prevent that from happening in the first place.

There are many reasons Pilates is such a great tool to help professional athletes perform at their peak and prevent injury. Some of these include increased body awareness, more range of motion in the muscles and joints, improved core strength and better posture in combination with deep breathing.

Good Alignment

Pilates places emphasis on proper structural alignment first and foremost. Injury often happens when the body is pushed to an extreme that it cannot handle due to poor posture or weak or tight muscles. By slowing down in a Pilates class to understand where a particular movement should come from, it can make the explosive movement required in sports much more powerful.

For example, any sort of overhead athlete who throws is likely to develop an overuse syndrome in the shoulder joint, which can be painful. Pilates will break down the movement to figure out where your weakness may be while also emphasising balance to train both sides of the body. Many athletes have overdeveloped major muscle groups and Pilates works to fine tune this by activating smaller muscle groups.

A Gentle Stretch

The characteristic bulky muscles seen in athletes can also point to signs of muscular tightness within the body. Limited range of motion is a contributing factor to injury because you cannot move a joint past its range of motion, which may have a tendency to happen when adrenaline is high. Pilates exercises work to develop flexibility in a functional way. Many exercises gently stretch the hamstrings and spine, which can help movement flow more freely from the centre.

Move From the Centre

The centre of the body is another hot spot that Pilates will improve. Pilates teaches a specific way to use and tone the deep abdominals, particularly with the breath.

A strong core will improve all ranges of motion and movement to be more efficient. The core in Pilates deals with not only the abdominals but how they work in relationship with the lower back and hips as well. Repeated movements such a flexion and twisting of the spine can put pressure on the body, so a strong and stable core will help in all areas of balance and coordination related to sports.

Breathe Deeper

By adding the breath component as well, more oxygen will also circulate throughout the body so that every muscle can work to its best potential under challenging conditions. The lateral breathing and percussive breathing help to align movement with breath, which will in turn increase muscle firing activity and focus in the brain to be more in the present moment during a game. 

Working with athletes to develop a Pilates programme requires a fine eye and attention to detail, which can be provided by completing a Pilates diploma course. Our flexible diplomas will give you all of the necessary qualifications to begin a successful Pilates career.

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