How Pilates Can Enhance Your Athletic Performance in Sports

How Pilates Can Enhance Your Athletic Performance in Sports

Although working out on a Pilates reformer offers an excellent all-around full-body workout, many athletes use Pilates to elevate their game for specific sports. While Pilates movements may look deceptively easy, these simple movements combined with specific breathing patterns make a significant impact on your sport-specific movement.

Whether you play pick-up games on the weekend or compete in a high-performance capacity, adding a Pilates reformer routine to your weekly workout regimen can be a game-changer for your sport. In this post, we highlight the benefits of using a Pilates reformer for specific sports to show how using one can enhance your performance and make you a more competitive athlete.

Pilates reformer

How Pilates Makes You a Better American Football Player

Your vision of someone who does Pilates probably doesn’t match the picture of a football linebacker, but American football players have been harnessing the potential of a Pilates reformer workout for quite some time. In fact, some NFL teams make Pilates part of their regular training.

Core strength factors into just about anything an athlete needs to do, but for football players, the coordination, core strength, and increased mobility and flexibility gained from Pilates have not only made them better football players on the field but also has aided in injury prevention as well as rehab from injuries. Some players even attribute the longevity of their careers to Pilates.

On the field, all football players need strength balanced with explosive movement. To acquire these, players use a Pilates reformer workout off the field to build strength and mobility in the areas they need for explosiveness: core, back, and hips.

Most positions in football require some level of sprinting, often changing direction quickly. Making these directional changes while sprinting requires core and hip strength as well as flexibility, all of which players increase while including a Pilates reformer workout in their training.

Although some may equate Pilates with small, svelte dancers and models, the same Pilates benefits they receive can aid large linemen when blocking and tackling. The balance and mobility gained through a Pilates reformer workout helps these players focus their strength and deliver power every time they strike.

How Pilates Makes You a Better Soccer Player

Whether you kick, shoot, or pass, you need hip mobility, explosive movement, core stability, and strength. Soccer players have discovered that, like other sports, reformer Pilates can offer a full-body workout to get the mobility and core strength needed to level up your soccer game.

Soccer players need balance and control as they sprint and kick, and increased core strength and stability enable them to change direction while on the move. Hip flexibility is also important as soccer players tend to have tight hips from the strain of what they do.

Using a Pilates reformer helps you increase your flexibility, alignment, and core strength so you can maintain balance as you play and focus your power when you kick. However, in soccer, you often get knocked off balance in the midst of play. So your reformer workout also helps you play just as powerfully while off-balance as well as recover your balance quickly.

Pilates reformer

How Pilates Makes You a Better Golfer

You might think of golf as a low-impact sport and wonder why you need a core-strengthening routine to play better. However, many golfers, especially those working at a desk most of the day, lack mobility because of tight thoracic spines, and without flexible hips, you can’t have the rotation and power you need for your swing.

A Pilates reformer can expand your flexibility as well as mobility throughout your spine and hips to create a positive impact on your golf swing, and the strength and alignment you build offer better balance to shift weight when you swing. Like all sports, your core strength offers power to your game and lessens your risk for injury.

How Pilates Makes You a Better Basketball Player

Basketball requires dynamic movement, sprinting, balance, and directional change at a moment’s notice. Whether you’re passing, shooting, rebounding, or playing defense, your trunk control—focused on core muscles—plays an important role in your success.

When it comes to shooting the ball and passing, any imbalance can cause you to miss the mark, but consistently using the Pilates reformer can strengthen your core, enhance your posture, and keep you better aligned as you play. Better alignment and balance lead to more accurate shots and more completed passes.

Explosive, balanced movement underpins many basketball skills, and strengthening your core and increasing your body awareness with a regular Pilates reformer workout can help you make the most of those skills. The controlled movements on the Pilates reformer build your core strength while also stabilizing your spine.

What seems like small movements can make a big impact on the court. Your increased body awareness and better alignment help make you more explosive when you run, jump, and pass the ball because you employ better balance and greater mobility all while protecting you from injury.

How Pilates Makes You a Better Runner

Posture and stability factor into every movement of running, which depends on a strong core. Even the tiniest imbalance can cause injury with repetitive movements in running. Anyone who participates in reformer Pilates begins to see their balance and posture improve, and the more core stability you build, the better your running will be. Correcting the imbalances, even with minor adjustments helps you stave off the risk of injury as well.

Pilates reformer

Many people think of their abdominal muscles and lower back muscles as their core, but your core is your entire torso, including lesser-used muscles that don’t normally receive any focus while training. The more you strengthen and balance all of the muscles in your core, including the ones playing supporting roles, the better you can control, focus, and maximize the force you produce while running.

Like many sports, runners have a specific way of breathing while performing. The specific breathing patterns used in Pilates help runners better understand the muscles involved in breathing and makes them more focused on the process. This body awareness helps runners better utilize their breathing patterns for optimum oxygenation, increasing the oxygen levels pumped to your muscles. This higher level of oxygenation results in less muscle fatigue, faster times, and more efficient running.

How Pilates Makes You a Better Swimmer

Swimming and Pilates have a lot in common. Swimmers need great body awareness and alignment to move through the water efficiently. Complementing your swim training with a Pilates reformer workout can further build body awareness and alignment so that you move through the water with less effort. Like any other sport, working out on a Pilates reformer also helps swimmers avoid injuries, such as overuse injuries common among these athletes.

Many swimmers already have good flexibility, but the low impact of moving through the water means body awareness, alignment, and control are much more important. Streamline position is very important for every stroke in swimming, but holding streamline requires strict alignment and control. So working out on a Pilates reformer can increase your body awareness to give you the alignment you need to effectively control your streamline.

The core stabilization and strength you need affect your power and control when kicking and pulling. While all swimmers do some form of dryland training, incorporating a Pilates reformer into your dryland provides the most effective way to build your core strength.

Like running, swimmers have specific ways of breathing for each stroke for both sprints and long-distance swimming. So the mindful breathing of Pilates increases your ability to control your breath while swimming. Not only will the deep breathing engage your core but also you’ll funnel more oxygen to your muscles to prevent fatigue.

No matter what sport you participate in, you need to be strong and mobile to be competitive, even if you only play recreationally. Working out on a Pilates reformer builds strength, evens out imbalances, and allows you to generate more power in the moves you make. Plus, the reformer offers flexibility so that you can adjust your workout to adapt to your needs each day.

A Pilates reformer takes you through a variety of movements through all the planes and axes that translate to on-the-field, on-the-course, or in-the-pool action. Just like drills focus on a specific skill, Pilates focuses on functional movement that transfers to better performance in your given sport.

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