How Can Pilates Help Athletes?

How Can Pilates Help Athletes

Pilates was developed by Joseph H. Pilates in the early 20th century. He created his method after observing the movements of circus performers and dancers, with the goal to create exercises that would strengthen the body without causing damage or strain.

Pilates is a form of exercise that combines stretching, strengthening, balance, and control. The benefits of Pilates include improved muscle tone, increased range of motion, reduced stress, and better posture.

This article will discuss Pilates, and how it can help athletes to improve their performance.

The History Of Pilates

Joseph H. Pilates (1883-1967) was an Austrian gymnast who studied medicine at university before becoming a physical therapist.

He began teaching gymnastics classes in Germany in 1912. After World War I he moved to New York City where he opened up his first studio.

By 1920 he had built a reputation as one of the best instructors in Europe. Pilates believed that the human body should be trained through controlled movement.

He designed exercises that focused on building core strength while maintaining proper alignment.

Pilates believed that working out in this manner could lead to greater overall health.

Modern Pilates

In the 1940s Pilates began developing what we know today as modern Pilates.

Modern Pilates uses many of the same principles as traditional Pilates but with more advanced techniques. 

It also incorporates some new methods such as the Reformer. What is Reformer Pilates? This technique uses a special machine called a Reformer, which allows you to perform exercises from multiple positions simultaneously. 

Benefits Of Pilates

Improved Core Strength

A lot are wondering, is Pilates strength training? While Pilates focuses more on stretching, it definitely a fantastic way to improve posture and develop core strength.

Core strength refers to your ability to maintain stability when performing certain activities.

Your core includes your abdominal muscles, back muscles, and pelvic floor muscles. These are all important for stabilizing your spine and preventing injuries.

When performing Pilates exercises, you work these muscles throughout the entire session.

This helps to develop them so they can support you during everyday tasks.

Increased Flexibility

Pilates improves your flexibility by challenging your muscles to stretch further than normal.

By doing this, you increase the range of motion in your joints.

This increases the amount of time you can spend moving freely without pain.

You can also use this increased mobility to move around more easily.

Reduced Stress Levels

Stress is a natural part of life. However, too much stress can cause problems such as headaches, neck stiffness, and soreness.

Pilates reduces stress levels by focusing on breathing and relaxation.

When you do Pilates, you focus on relaxing your mind and body. This leads to less tension and stress.

Better Posture

Posture is another area where Pilates excels. Most people have poor posture because they don’t pay attention to their bodies.

Pilates focuses on improving your posture by training your core muscles to keep your spine in its correct position.

This prevents unnecessary strain and injury.

How Does Pilates Help Athletes?

If you are looking for ways to improve your athletic abilities then Pilates may just be the answer.

Pilates works your whole body rather than isolating specific areas.

This means that if you want to improve your running or jumping ability you need to incorporate Pilates into your workout routine.

You will notice that every exercise in Pilates involves the entire body. For example, the Downward Dog requires you to bend over and touch your toes.

If you are trying to jump higher then you need to strengthen your legs and lower back.

It is important to know how often you should do Pilates to get the best results from your workouts. 

How Does Pilates Help Athletes

How Does Pilates Improve Sport Performance?

Pilates has been used by athletes for years. The following are just a few examples:

  • American Football Player – Improves core strength and flexibility
  • Basketball Players – Increases agility and speed
  • Soccer Players – Improves balance and coordination
  • Tennis Players – Improves overall fitness
  • Swimmers – Improves core strength
  • Golfers – Improves core strength, flexibility, and endurance
  • Track & Field Athletes – Improves core strength (especially for sprinters)
  • Weightlifters – Improves core strength.

Pilates Is Better Than Other Exercise Programs

While other exercise programs focus on isolated muscle groups, Pilates focuses on the entire body.

This makes it better suited for athletes who require total-body conditioning.

Pilates is also easier to learn than most other forms of exercise.

It doesn’t involve complicated equipment or special clothing. All you need is a mat and some basic tools.

Pilates Exercises For Athletes

The benefits of Pilates are endless. Whether you are an athlete or not, Pilates can help you achieve better results.

There are several different types of Pilates exercises that can benefit athletes. Here are some of the most common:


A plank is similar to a push-up except you place your forearms on the ground instead of your hands.

Side Plank

Side planks are performed lying down on your side. They require you to balance yourself while keeping your upper body straight.


The bridge requires you to lie face down on the mat. The goal is to hold this position for as long as possible.

Reclining Twist

This exercise is done with your knees bent at 90 degrees. You should be able to feel your abs working hard during this move.

Seated Forward Bend

Seated forward bends require you to sit upright and stretch your arms out in front of you.

Child’s Pose

Child’s pose is one of the easiest poses to do. It is also one of the most popular yoga for sciatica and shoulder pain relief. Simply lay flat on your stomach and bring your forehead towards the floor.

Where Can I Learn Pilates?

If you are interested in learning how to perform Pilates exercises, there are many options available.

Many gyms offer classes that include Pilates. Some studios even offer private lessons.

Other places to learn Pilates include yoga studios, fitness centers, and health clubs.


There are many reasons why Pilates should be included in any athlete’s workout program.

From improved performance to increased flexibility and strength, Pilates offers countless benefits.

If you're into yoga, you can also check out our article on yoga for athletes to help you stay healthy, strong and flexible.

Kevin Harris