When Joseph Pilates created Contrology – what would eventually become Pilates – he developed his program for male wrestlers and boxers who were recovering from hospital stays. Since its inception to its skyrocket to injury recovery and mitigation with New York City Ballet dancers, athletes have come to Pilates studios and found amazing results.
Now, more and more athletes across all disciplines are using Pilates to cross-train their bodies with noticeable results. Don’t take our word for it – just listen to the New York Giant’s Dexter Lawrence!
We’re glad to hear that Lawrence has seen increased flexibility from his Pilates regimen! Many other professional football players include Pilates in their training, including Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. And for soccer fans, Cristiano Ronaldo combines cardio workouts with running, rowing, and Pilates to complement his game.
So why do so many athletes gravitate towards Pilates?
Pilates exercises protect the body and help it age without aches and pains
For pro athletes, their body is their livelihood. It is their source of income, their biggest asset, and also their biggest risk. After all, serious injuries not only end a season – they can end entire careers. With so much pressure on the body, it’s critical to care for it and give it the tools to operate at peak performance.
This is true for more than the pros. No matter what sport you love, Pilates functions as a fun and effective cross-training exercise that can reduce and prevent injury while also improving performance.
“I started at RTR as a client in 2017. At that time, I was playing and coaching soccer and basketball. I developed some nagging issues with my low back, hip flexors, and hamstrings. At my physical therapist’s suggestion, I tried pilates. Right away, my body and I both fell in love.” – RTR Instructor Quintus
Balance and flexibility improve performance in every sport
Athletes who gravitate towards one sport typically build muscles by performing repetitive movements. This process overdevelops some muscles, underdevelops others, and typically emphasizes movement on your body’s dominant side. This imbalance can lead to an increased risk for stress injuries, while also hindering the body’s overall balance.
That’s where Pilates comes in. Pilates builds balance and flexibility by developing the entire body and muscle system. By building overall core strength, aligning the spine, improving posture, and balancing muscle development from the feet up through the shoulders, athletes find their bodies are better prepared for peak performance.
Many of our clients experience a number of benefits from regular Pilates, including:
- Better control and awareness of the body
- Improved flexibility
- Less muscle tension
- Improved hip mobility
- Increased range of motion
- Less lower back pain
- Better results at game time
“With my background in sports coaching, I want my classes to feel like a team. While in the studio, I want everyone to feel like we are all in this together. I hope clients leave class with a strong mind-body connection. I try to make sure that I am offering as many variations as possible so that clients can take what is the best fit for them.” – RTR Instructor Quintus
Weight lifting versus Pilates
A lot of people who come from weight lifting as a cross-training exercise will find that Pilates works their muscles in entirely new ways. Many weight lifters focus on building a muscle’s mid-range, because it creates visible results quickly. As a result, the muscles closest to the joints can become underdeveloped, which can be especially problematic around the knee joint.
In Pilates, we focus on lengthening the muscles and activating them throughout their entire length, not just at the muscle’s midrange. But focusing on the entire length of the muscle protects the joints, which leads to a better overall musculoskeletal system, and a longer, happier fitness life.
Keep doing the activities you love
If you love weight-lifting, amazing! If you love football, soccer, or golf, that’s fantastic! If your sport is chasing around a four-year-old, well, that’s a lot of cardio, but that’s awesome too! Regular exercise is critical to our health as we age, but the ability to do what we love – what brings us joy – is also important to our long-term health.
No matter what sport speaks to you, Pilates can keep you in the game and turn you into a star player. So keep doing what you love, and give your body the tools it needs to support a long-term active lifestyle.
Ready to give Pilates a try? Get your first month of unlimited classes for just $129.