How Does Pilates Help Athletes ‍ | Maven Stories

Joseph Pilates created Pilates in the early 1900s to improve a person's overall health and well-being. It is based on six principles: breath, concentration, centering, control, precision, and flow. The focus of Pilates is to enhance strength, enhance core stability, increase flexibility, and help people achieve balance, grace, and fluidity through controlled movements and specific breathing techniques.

Practicing pilates helps athletes to be strong, stable, flexible, and have good control over their movements to perform at their best. Additionally, controlled movements and specific breathing techniques help to prevent injuries and enhance recovery.

5 Ways Pilates Helps Athletes and Improves Performance

1. Core Stability and Endurance

The majority of Pilates exercises focus on improving core stability through the activation of deep trunk stabilizers which is crucial for athletes, as having a stable core improves power and force. By targeting the deep trunk muscles, Pilates helps athletes achieve a stronger, more balanced, and stable midsection, which can lead to improved performance and endurance in their respective sports.

2. Balance and Symmetry

Many sports involve unilateral movements, such as baseball pitching and hitting, golf swinging, volleyball serving, or kicking a soccer ball. These types of movements can result in asymmetry in strength and mobility between the two sides of the body. Pilates helps to address this issue by using balance, stability, and flexibility exercises on both sides of the body to even out these asymmetries.

3. Flexibility 

The high-impact and explosive movements in many sports can lead to stiffness and tightness in the muscles, making them more susceptible to injury. By incorporating Pilates into their fitness routine, athletes can improve global mobility and flexibility which improves their overall performance by increasing their range of motion and reducing muscle stiffness. 

4. Body Awareness and Control 

Athletes need to have good body awareness to perform movements with proper form, alignment, and control. Pilates works to help fine-tune small movements and improve overall body awareness by focusing on precise movements and controlled breathing. Pilates also helps athletes develop a better sense of their body, its alignment, and how to move effectively and efficiently.

5. Low Impact

Pilates is an excellent rehabilitation strategy for athletes who have suffered an injury. It provides a low-impact activity that strengthens the body and improves mobility while they recover. Pilates can also serve as a beneficial active recovery strategy during days off or rest days. With its focus on controlled movements and precise breathing, Pilates allows athletes to get a great workout without putting excessive strain on their muscles and joints. This helps prevent overtraining and allows athletes to continue to make progress and improve their fitness, even on their rest days.

Pilates at Maven

Looking for Pilates exercises near Santa Monica and LA? At Maven Physical Therapy and Performance, we understand the importance of Pilates for athletes. That's why our team includes certified Pilates instructors who provide one-on-one specialized Pilates programs utilizing the Cadillac, Reformer, and Wunda Chair, to provide the best possible experience.

Through the targeted activation of deep trunk stabilizers, correction of asymmetries, improvement of mobility and flexibility, and enhancement of body awareness and control, Pilates is a great low-impact tool for athletes. At Maven, we’re dedicated to helping our athletes reach their full potential and maintain their overall health and well-being through our Pilates programs.