Benefits Of Pilates Classes For Olympic Athletes

The Pros of Classes in Pilates for Olympic Athletes

It is a well-known fact that cross-training has become an essential part of sports training as it offers a host of benefits for elite athletes in pursuit of Olympic glory. Many athletes who train for the Olympics use Pilates to add that something special to their regimen that helps them take their particular sport to the next level and give them an edge over their competition. Pilates classes for Olympic athletes offer a whole-body, balanced workout that draws the mind into line with the physical body which is the perfect way to reinforce the stamina needed in world-class competition.

While it is good to know all about Pilates, here is how Olympians use the method to excel in their sport.

Some of the many benefits of classes in Pilates include:

– Building up the back muscles evenly;
– Strengthening the abdominals;
– Elongating and aligning the spine for better stability;
– Increasing overall flexibility, balance, and strength;
– Increasing the range of motion in the shoulders and hips;
– Enhancing body awareness and concentration.

Athletes are now discovering what professional ballet dancers have always known, that core strength-building is one the best conditioning exercises for top-tier athletes to partake in. Pilates develops an athlete’s core providing more agility that increases performance and prevents injury. The core consists of the deep muscles of the abdomen, the muscles located closest to the spine, and the pelvic floor muscles. Athletes are discovering how Pilates can help them jump higher, run faster, hit the ball harder, swim faster, and dive more accurately without pain or injury.

Pilates integrates the pelvis, trunk, and shoulder girdle with emphasis on correct pelvic and spinal alignment and proper breathing. Smooth, flowing movements allows the athlete to access each individual part of the body and become intimately familiar with its functional mechanics, correcting muscle imbalances and preventing injury. A strong core simultaneously increases flexibility and strength, improving agility, stability, and good posture. With proper breathing the athlete becomes aware of how the body feels, its location in space, and how to best to control its movements.

Pilates as Whole-Body Exercise

While the focus is on core strength, Pilates exercises the body as an integrated whole promoting balanced muscle development, increased strength, flexibility, and improves the range of motion in the joints. Integrated full body fitness includes the mind and the breath that provide athletes with the best foundation for any type of movement they need to carry out.

Encourages Good Posture

Proper alignment supported by a strong core is reflected in a good posture, a position from which the body can move freely. From the fundamental movements of Pilates through to mat and equipment exercises, the body is trained to express itself in harmony and strength. This is evident in the beautiful posture of dancers and athletes who practice Pilates to strengthen their core.

Increased Energy

Pilates promotes deep breathing and gets the circulation moving, stimulating the muscles and spine and flooding the body with endorphins – that great feeling experienced when the whole body is exercised.

Increased Flexibility and Motion

Pilates works towards safely increasing the stretch and length of the muscles and the range of motions in the joints. The goal is to develop a body that can bend and stretch to meet the demands an athlete puts on it and bounce back without pain or injury.

Joseph Pilates, the founder of Pilates (or Contrology as he called it), was adamant the exercises consist of complete coordination of mind, body, and spirit. One of the secrets of Pilates is the practice of each movement with full attention. In this way, the body unites with the mind to bring forth the best possible result from each exercise. The principles of Pilates are centering; control; precision; concentration; breath; flow; the fundamental concepts used to integrate body and mind.

You can find a Pilates class in nearly ever city of the United States and many places around the world. As an example, Arizona Phoenicians can visit to find Pilates classes in their area. You can view this video  to learn more about how this business uses Pilates for rehabilitation of athletes as well.

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