Athletes’ Not-So-Secret Weapon
In the past few decades, Pilates has built a reputation in the dance world. The deep abdominal core work and use of smaller intrinsic muscles makes it a perfect match for cross training for dancers looking to build strength without bulk, rehabilitate injuries, and work on muscle imbalances. However, what you may not be aware of, is Pilates’ has a long history with almost every imaginable sport. From professional golfers to football and baseball players, Pilates has proven benefits for restoring muscle imbalances building strength, power, endurance and precision for most, if not all sports. It has been shown to be beneficial for golfers, cyclists, equestrians, long and short-distance runners, as well as competitive divers, baseball, football and basketball players (Some of our very own 49ers have turned to Pilates to help their game). Here are a few reasons why Pilates is perfect for cross-training athletes at any level.
Pilates Benefits for Athletes
Targeted & Specific
Pilates can be modified to meet the needs of a particular sport or action. If you’re working on your golf swing, there are exercises that target the specific muscles, strength, and balance necessary to improve.
Building From the Inside Out
Building strength from the inside out means Pilates targets the smaller, deep muscles that are closer to the joint and are responsible for fine tuning movement. It takes a few sessions to feel, but you will become more aware of these smaller muscles that work “quietly” and that you may not have never felt before. This will not only help your sport but also reduce the risk of injury due to fatigue and faulty alignment. It’s a win-win-win.
Increase Mobility & Core Strengthen
Pilates will increase your range of motion and mobility, while simultaneously strengthening your deep core muscles. And the kind stretching in Pilates is active stretching which means it will increase your mobility while your moving.
Ever seen videos of pro athletes training balance by standing on a stability ball while doing squats? While we would start there (lol!) but we will training balance which is key in most sports. Pilates trains all of the small stabilizing muscles that are directly responsible for maintaining balance.
Strengthen Your Mental Game
As Cubs pitcher, Jake Arrieta stated, “the mental and physical toughness Pilates requires to complete movements the correct way have directly helped me on the mound.” Sometimes an athlete’s biggest hurdle is mental. With Pilates, mental endurance and strength is just as important as the physical.
Athletes training in Pilates has recently received a lot of media attention. Stories about Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta, A’s pitcher Liam Hendricks, 49ers LB Ray-Ray Armstrong or Super Bowl 50 champ Kayvon Webster have got amateur athletes thinking it may be a way to improve their favorite sport too. I bet Pilates can help take your game to the next level.