The first clients of Joseph Pilates and his wife Clara were dancers who studied at their studio in New York during the 1920s and 1930s. Today, athletes who use this method include runners, swimmers, skiers, tennis players, and cyclists. However, anyone can use the exercises to add core strength and flexibility, as well as increased mobility in the spine, hips, and shoulders.
Pilates looks deceptively easy. The exercises focus on a range of motion rather than resistance. This means that the entire body is working smaller, intrinsic muscles in each exercise. A client will increase strength in these smaller muscles that are close to the bone. Another benefit includes the extension of the spine which increases flexibility.
Joseph Pilates created his system of exercises for wounded veterans. He attached springs to their bedposts to offer resistance training while moving through a range of motion; this is similar to the concept of Reformers. Pilates can be done on the mat, or on equipment such as the Reformer, Cadillac, Barrel, Wunda Chair, and Ped-O-Pull.
As a certified instructor and athlete, I began using the Pilates system in 1997 and noticed an increase in my running speeds and less pain in my joints. One year later I came across the finish line in first place! Pilates became my streamlined practice, and I stopped going to the gym. Whether you are a beginner or an athlete who has been training for years, there is a level for you. According to NFL defensive back Johnson Bademosi, quoted in Men’s Fitness:
“It’s hard to prepare for what’s needed on the field by just lifting weights. Pilates challenges you with really unfamiliar movements.”
Schaerlaeckens, Leander (2018, March). 5 power Pilates moves to make you a better athlete. Men’s Fitness. Retrieved from https://www.mensfitness.com/weight-loss/burn-fat-fast/5-power-pilates-moves-make-you-better-athlete
Pilates and golf
Golfers will notice a better swing in their game. We focus on rotation of the spine and exercises that increase strength, flexibility, and range of motion of the upper back, shoulders, and hips. Exercises include the 100, a 10 cycle breathing exercise that builds core strength. Kneeling bicycle, side overs, and single leg circles are examples of other exercises to help your golf game.
Pilates helps to tone muscles rather than shorten them. This makes it unique to other strength training methods that use weight-bearing exercises which overload the muscle and shorten it. Bademosi, among other athletes, uses the system to increase his range of motion, and lengthen muscles through extension, rather than shortening them. Each exercise uses core strength so everyone can improve their game with stronger abdominal muscles.
Other benefits include improved coordination, balance, muscular control, better posture, reduced joint pain, and faster recovery time. A growing number of athletes are finding Pilates a benefit to their daily routines.
To book your first appointment at The Pilates Room, visit https://thepilatesroomnh.com/book-an-appointment-2/
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