Pilates for Athletes

Last year in the NFL it seemed like teams continuously suffered major injuries. From ACL tears, hamstring strains, broken bones from falling, Achilles tears, torn rotator cuffs, and other injuries, it just seemed to plague every team, taking players out potentially through the entire season; some injuries bad enough to require players to miss a few games in their next season. Some injuries were even career ending. And each time I saw an injury occur, the first things I would do was look at my fantasy roster to see who I just lost, and then look at my dad and say “You know what would have prevented that? Pilates!”

I know, I know. Not every injury can be prevented by doing Pilates. However, I think in seeing the professional athletes that have added Pilates to their routines, you can see the difference it makes in their game. Take a look at the current athletes that have added Pilates to their routines…You’ve got WR’s Brandin Cooks & Antonio Brown, LeBron James, Missy Franklin, Venus Williams, Gabby Douglas, Chris Simms, Martellus Bennett, Kenny Stills…That’s just a short list.

How does Pilates help to prevent injuries? First off, it builds the most important muscle in the body…the core. A strong core helps improve balance, thus helping prevent falls. A strong core helps prevent injury by helping to distribute weight properly in the body. A strong core helps people learn to stand and sit properly. A strong core helps to protect the back and spine, again preventing other injuries. Pilates also helps improve flexibility, another great way to prevent injuries such as muscle tears. A few more benefits are increased endurance, stamina, and coordination just to name a few.

Pilates helps to strengthen the smaller muscles in the body, therefore supporting the larger muscles. Athletes tend to work out their larger muscles with no problem. However, they tend to neglect the supporting muscles around them. By strengthening all the smaller muscles, there is much more support, and with more support, injuries are less likely to occur. With Pilates breathing is also a core element to practice, which is incredibly important for all athletes to perform at their best.

I get many parents who ask me if Pilates would be good for their teen involved in sports and my answer is simple. Absolutely! And the earlier they start, the better they will grow into their bodies. Bodies will begin developing natural protection. Teens also have not finished growing so it’s a great time to teach their bones and muscles to grow the rest of the way properly. This means less work as adults to stand properly and use their bodies properly. They also develop control in their muscle movements. Habits are formed at a young age. So, this is absolutely the perfect time to get into a healthy exercise routine which helps the body throughout the rest of their lives.

 

For me personally, I notice a huge difference in my own body when I am not regularly practicing. My back begins to flare up and movement is painful and I can feel my knees hurting a bit more. When I hike my fourteeners the first thing I do after is head into my studio and work myself out on a reformer to get my body back into alignment. When I do that, my recovery time is much quicker. Usually I just have a day of soreness. When I don’t do Pilates, it takes at least a week for me to feel better. The difference is remarkable! I have figured out how to do what I love, and not spend extra time hurting after. Which I believe can be the benefit to any athlete. Especially those that put their bodies in strenuous situations with their sport.

The only way to really experience the benefits though is to get in and practice yourself. Whether you’re an athlete or not, you will feel the difference in your body. Talk to those that have established a regular Pilates practice. They will never leave. And when they do, they’re always back at some point because they have realized how much better they feel with a regular practice.

We love our jobs as instructors because we get to be a part of helping others feel better. And avoid many future doctors’ visits for bodily pain. Ready to get started? Curious? We are here for you!

Namaste!

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