Pilates reformer

The Top 5 Reasons Competitive Athletes Should Use a Pilates Reformer

You may think grueling workouts with heavy dumbbells and intense cardio are the only way to improve your athletic performance. And let’s face it: You may have some misconceptions about what it’s like to do Pilates or use a Pilates reformer.

However, if you want a way to enhance your competitive edge while still recuperating from your sport-specific workout, you need to reconsider Pilates. From pros to college and competitive club athletes, Pilates has become the most effective way to keep you loose and flexible while still building flexibility and strength on days you’re recovering from high-intensity workouts.

If you want to increase your physical strength and mobility on the court or the field and want to improve your mental game, explore the benefits of Pilates. This post explains why incorporating a Pilates reformer workout into your regular workout routine can elevate your game.

Pilates reformer

1. Pilates Strengthens Your Core More Efficiently.

Some trending workouts may involve targeted core work, but Pilates centers every workout and every move around your core. While mat Pilates can also give you an excellent core workout, using a reforming takes your core to the next level. The following specific parts of a reformer develop an amazing core while also targeting your overall body strength, flexibility, and mobility:

  • The carriage: Each reformer has a moving platform, called the carriage, which creates instability throughout each movement as you flow through a workout. You must engage your core at all times for each movement to provide the stability needed to perform the moves on the reformer. Every minute you’re on the reformer, your success depends on the use of your core.
  • The springs: In case you thought Pilates was only for light resistance, try adjusting the springs. While you’re movements use your body weight as resistance, the springs offer even more resistance to your workout. Just like the carriage, a simple adjustment of the springs allows you to increase resistance, which you’ll use every second you’re on the reformer. With a Frame reformer, you get the ease of push-button access for the springs, allowing you to quickly change the resistance rather than adjusting the springs on other reformers.

For many, the idea of a ripped core is appealing for the physical look, but for athletes, a strong core means better balance and stability. Better balance and stability mean making moves in your sport with more explosiveness and less risk of injury.

2. Pilates Increases Your Body Awareness

In the scientific field, proprioception refers to body awareness, which is your ability to recognize how your body is oriented in a space. This may not seem like an important concept until you want to dribble a basketball without looking, catch a football while avoiding defenders, hit a volleyball into a specific zone while watching your blockers, or swim efficiently through the water.

Every sport requires a high level of body awareness. Those moves you see that shock your system, make you stand up cheer, and have you asking, “How did they do that?” typically center around body awareness, and Pilates offers an effective way to build better body awareness.

Pilates focuses on movement with coordination. If you’ve ever tried Pilates and especially tried out movements on a reformer, you can understand just how focused you must be to perform the required movements. Your attention to how your body engages is key to your workout, and you’re learning not just how your entire body moves together but also how each muscle supports that movement.

Body awareness on a reformer gives you a parts-to-whole mindset that you can translate to movements in your sport. The more you use a reformer workout, the more you begin to understand and listen to your body and the more structural control you gain over your movements.

3. Pilates Improves Your Balance, Flexibility, and Mobility

Talking about balance and mobility used to be only for the senior population, but the reason this segment of the population concerns themselves with these two ideas is that they know it helps them move more effectively. The same is true for athletes. The better your balance and mobility, the better your movement in your sport.

Pilates has a lot of benefits that feed off each other, and your reduced risk of injury, better body awareness, and stronger core all work together in harmony and can be best recognized in better balance and mobility.

Mobility is often confused with flexibility, but they each depend on the other. Consider how these two differ in both function and physical body parts required:

  • Flexibility refers to how a muscle or group of muscles can stretch temporarily.
  • Mobility refers to how a joint or group of joints actively move through a range of motion.

Put a helping of high-level mobility and increased flexibility together with great balance, and you have a recipe for amazing athletic movement. While the drills you perform in practice seek to apply flexibility, mobility, and balance, drills aren’t the most effective way to increase these elements that create the foundation of your performance.

Practicing Pilates gives you an efficient way to increase all three at once. You develop these elements in harmony while moving on a reformer, and you can note the payoff when you train, practice drills, or perform in your sport. With better mobility, you’ll gain a deeper range of motion, which is necessary when training, but with the support of your increased balance and flexibility, you can make more explosive and focused moves when performing.

All sports require some kind of movement that requires a quick change of direction, pivoting, pushing off, and more that needs power behind it to make it effective. Your work on a reformer puts those elements together to offer better athleticism in training and competition.

4. Pilates Reduces the Risk of Injury

Nothing affects your sports performance more than an injury, but Pilates has several strengths when it comes to sports injuries:

  • Lowers the risk of injury: The focus on balance, flexibility, and mobility gives Pilates an edge over any other workout in terms of reducing your risk for injury. Muscle imbalance and misaligned movement are at the core of many sports injuries. Regular practice of Pilates allows you to build muscle strength in a balanced way. The whole-body movements in a Pilates workout require you to use your body in a balanced way to successfully pull off the move. Because you continue to increase your balance and mobility with Pilates, you end up being able to make more explosive movements in your sports or use a fuller range of motion in training that improves your overall athletic performance.
  • Allows you to work out while injured: No other workout offers the flexibility that Pilates does. Whether you’ve injured your knee, your back, or another part of your body, you can modify movements so that you can keep up intense workouts even while you’re injured. You don’t have to lose a lot of ground when an injury keeps you out of your sport.
  • Gives you a great resource for rehab: While you’re injured, once you’re cleared to rehabilitate your injury, you can begin incorporating the injured area into your workout under a physical therapist’s care. Most PTs have relied on reformers and Pilates for years to rehab injured players, and you can take advantage of this effective piece of rehabilitative equipment as often as your PT allows. So Pilates helps you get back to your sport quicker and with a healthy, healed body.

5. Pilates Boosts Your Mental Game

Pilates is a challenge—it’s a challenge to both your body and your mind. The mind-body connection is a huge element of Pilates. You are constantly challenging your mind to think through the minutia of each movement, and each time you practice Pilates, you push yourself mentally to push yourself through physical challenges.

You may be used to pushing yourself through drills, training, and competition, but Pilates gives you a different field of study for mental challenges. While you push to do things you didn’t think you could before, you can translate those mental hurdles and successes to competition and other parts of your training.

Change is a mental game first. If you want to be better and perform better, you have to first change your mindset. Because Pilates isn’t mimicking drills or movements you make in your sport, it gives you another avenue to explore your mental toughness and your focus.

Focus is a constant in Pilates. Just like any sport, the moment you lose focus, you lose your edge. With Pilates, however, focus is part of the mind-body connection. You learn to use focus to tie your mind and body together as you move, an effective skill for competition.

No matter whether you’ve used a Pilates reformer or not, Pilates can offer many benefits to your sport-specific training. Don’t think of Pilates as simply rehab or something to do on recovery days, think of Pilates as the pathway to the edge you need to elevate your athleticism and ability to compete at higher levels.

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