How Pilates can help you become a better athleteMarch 24, 2017
You train, you stretch, you see your physiotherapist, you use your foam roller religiously, you train again. But those tight hamstrings stay with you and your shoulder never quite feels “right”. What can you do to get beyond these niggles and gain the edge?
The answer, of course, is Pilates. Often imagined as a leisure activity for personalities such as Madonna, Pilates is used by many of our sporting and athletic heroes to maintain their prowess. For example, athletes as diverse as Roger Federer and Venus Williams (tennis), Gabby Douglas (gymnastics), David Beckham (soccer), Tiger Woods (golf), Kerry Walsh-Jennings (Volleyball) and the New Zealand All Blacks (Rugby), all incorporate Pilates into their training regimes.
At Fortius Sport & Health we offer two forms of Pilates: Clinical Pilates and Pilates Mat Classes. Clinical Pilates is led by a physiotherapist, usually in individual or duet sessions, and utilizes special equipment to help you reach your goals. Pilates Mat classes are offered as part of our group class schedule and run in six-week cycles throughout the year.
So now you may be asking, how can Pilates help you in your athletic pursuits? Here are some of the ways Pilates is used as a tool to build and maintain strength, reduce injury risk and ultimately enhance performance.
Utilizing specialized equipment, Clinical Pilates can help you to hone in on specific muscles and encourages a strong mind-body connection. This enhances motor control and motor patterning, which improves the way you recruit muscles, resulting in more efficient movement. Greater movement efficiency means that more energy can be spent generating speed, power and strength, which in turn means that you can go faster, jump higher and sustain yourself for longer.
Pilates builds the mind-body connection, allowing you to increase your physical and mental prowess – both important attributes for any athlete. With focus comes increased precision, coordination, balance, stability and grace; this is the finesse of movement. And again, with this movement finesse comes increased efficiency, which means that you can focus on further skill refinement.
While balance is important to keep us upright, it is also necessary for our alignment and optimal movement patterning. Too often it is an imbalance around a joint that leads to tightness, soreness and dysfunction. By focusing on balancing muscles across joints, as well as developing postural control, Clinical Pilates can improve our movement precision and accuracy.
And then there’s your core. Pilates describes the core as the “powerhouse” of the body, with all movements and exercises incorporating deep core recruitment. By developing the core as the foundation for all exercise, overall stability increases, improving load transfer and your overall body control. Better control also lends itself to higher, faster and stronger performance!
Pilates helps you to improve performance, build a stronger core, increase your balance and focus and teaches you how to move more efficiently. Because of this, you will ultimately be less prone to injury and generally more resilient through your season. And if you do take a hit, your body will be adaptable and strong, making your rehabilitation more streamlined.
REGISTER NOW FOR SUMMER CLASSES!
Our 2018 summer Pilates cycle kicks off July 9! Visit our Pilates website page to learn more and register today.