Pilates & Sport

Pilates exercises are a great compliment to many sports such as rugby, GAA, tennis, golf, running, triathlons, basketball etc. Many top sports people are now making Pilates an integral part of their fitness program to enhance their performance, improve their technique and keep their bodies strong, supple and injury free.
Pilates is especially effective in improving core stability, improving focus and injury prevention. All sports have their own key patterns of movement; repeated use of these movement patterns can result in muscular imbalance. Less relevant muscle groups become weak and inefficient, with the more predominant muscles becoming bulky and tight. This can often lead to injury. Pilates focuses on these imbalances and on the body as a whole, aiming to rebalance the muscles and improve postural alignment.
Pilates & GAA, Rugby, Soccer
A growing number of top footballers, hurlers, camogie players and rugby players practice Pilates as a way of improving co-ordination, mobility, flexibility and sporting technique, as well as for prevention and recovery from injuries. The Irish Rugby Team and the All Blacks are among the most high-profile advocates of Pilates.
Football, hurling, camogie, soccer and rugby all demand rapid directional changes, often at near-maximum pace. An inflexible physique hampers the movement required to do this. Players are also required to deliver controlled power from unbalanced body positions for tackles, scrums, passes etc – all Pilates movements are initiated from a strong core to provide stability. Targeting these requirements can aid injury prevention and enhance performance by developing stamina, co-ordination and strength.
Hamstring tears and groin injuries are common in field sports - focusing on the stabiliser muscles of the pelvis (the buttocks and groin muscles) through Pilates will help prevent these injuries and rehabilitate them faster.
Pilates & Golf
Tiger Woods, Annika Sorrenstam and Rocco Mediate have all incorporated Pilates into their training regime. The golf swing is a little one-sided, which can create imbalance in the body. Pilates helps you to swing from your core, not from your limbs, and to balance out the body against the forces of the swing. If you strengthen the core, increase your flexibility, build stability in the pelvis and shoulder girdles and balance both sides of the body, it will allow you to hit the ball farther, straighter and more accurately. Your endurance will also improve to allow you to achieve a more consistent game of golf.
Pilates for Runners & Triathletes
Runners & triathletes advocate Pilates because it builds long, strong muscles, improves flexibility and lessens the risk of injury. Runners & triathletes often suffer from lower back, hip, knee & shin problems from the constant impact involved in running, and the repetitive action of cycling and swimming. Pilates concentrates on posture and alignment – it opens up the hips, the vertebrae in the lower back and focuses on joint mobility.
Pilates & Basketball
Pilates can really help you improve your basketball game both during the season and in the off season. Pilates works your body from the inside out. It lengthens and strengthens muscles and improves your core stablility. This helps you stabilize when twisting, turning, jumping, pivoting etc. All of these sports-specific moves are key in improving your game. Other agility moves where Pilates can help is shuffling from side to side, sprinting and stopping suddenly. Pilates helps strengthen your back so you’re less prone to injury. Not only will you be more physically prepared for basketball, but you will strengthen your mental focus as well. You can practice some of your Pilates moves with a ball to improve your ball handling at the same time!
Pilates for Skiing & Snowboarding
Pilates challenges the deep abdominal ‘core’ muscles that help to maintain the dynamic, balanced posture that is essential for safe and efficient skiing or snowboarding. A strong core helps to counteract the twists and turns of the slope, and gives you the ability to negotiate the slopes with great balance and poise.
Dancers & Pilates
Pilates has been used by dancers for many years. They incorporate the Pilates techniques into their training regime, paying particular attention to re-balancing symmetry in the body upset by repetitive movement patterns and overuse injuries. The body becomes evenly balanced and conditioned, and so is less prone to injury.
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