7 Sports That Can Benefit From Practicing Pilates

Want to up your Game with Pilates? Pittsburgh Pilates Expert Breaks Down the Benefits

Lisa Pellow
Lisa Pellow
7 Sports That Can Benefit From Practicing Pilates

In recent years, Pilates has come into the mainstream, and more recently an increasing number of professional, amateur, and recreational athletes are discovering Pilates’ benefits. More and more athletes are adding Pilates into their routine as an integral part of their conditioning program. Here is a sampling of several sports and how a comprehensively trained and certified Romana’s Pilates® instructor from Touchstone Pilates in Pittsburgh can tailor a workout to fit your body and improve your performance. 

What is Pilates?

Explore Pilates principles and set yourself apart from the competition at the premier Pittsburgh Pilates studio.

man stretching on pilates equipment
Devin Bush of the Pittsburgh Steelers takes advantage of Pilates to increase his power, speed, and endurance. 

Pilates is a total body workout with each exercise containing a stretch and strength component. This is what sets Pilates apart from other types of training. By focusing on strengthening the center of the body – or “Powerhouse” (the core abdominal and lower back muscles and buttocks) – and the muscles around the joints, Pilates strengthens, stretches, and helps you control your body. In our Pittsburgh Pilates studio, we provide you with the finest equipment and most knowledgeable instructors to get you started on your journey. 

When practiced consistently, Pilates can increase your power, speed, and endurance. Your flexibility will improve, leading to greater quickness, agility, and speed. As a bonus, you will become more in tune with your body and mentally sharper. Joseph Pilates, the creator of Pilates, believed that the mind controls the body which takes concentration and awareness. Through Pilates, you’ll develop proper breathing techniques, which bring oxygen-rich blood to the muscles and allow you to move more efficiently and with greater endurance.

7 Popular Sports Whose Players Can Benefit From Pilates

baseball player at bat
Practicing Pilates is beneficial for anyone, and athletes can see the benefits in their sport.

Pilates has gained recent popularity and can be helpful for any kind of sport. Connecting the mind and body through this type of exercise will decrease your chances of injuries and strengthen your body as a whole. There is no discrimination when it comes to Pilates, there are classes for all skill and experience levels. 

  1. Baseball 

Whether throwing a 90 mile an hour fastball or trying to hit one is your dream, it takes core strength, spinal stability, and mobility to come close to accomplishing this goal. Mimic the movement of throwing or hitting a fastball and you will realize that it takes all the muscles in your body to accomplish this. By working the entire body through each exercise, the practice of Pilates can lead to improved throwing accuracy and velocity as well as greater hitting distance through the batter’s swing.

As with sports that work one side of the body more than the other, muscle imbalances will occur. Pilates’ emphasis on total body conditioning, strengthening the Powerhouse/core, and strengthening the muscles around the joints reduces the chance of back injury, improves muscle imbalances, and increases power and endurance.

  1. Basketball 

If you know the difference between an alley-oop and a hula hoop, then you know how important core strength and flexibility are to the game of basketball. In basketball, developing core strength and flexibility enables the player to move more efficiently, jump higher and dunk harder and with more control. Proper breathing improves endurance and movement. The mind/body connection also increases the focus and concentration necessary to make the shot. 

Joseph Pilates believed that this mind/body connection was essential to one another. Our Pittsburgh studio will allow basketball players to take Pilates classes at ranges of various fitness and skill levels. Receive supportive and transformational instruction to take your skills to new heights. 

  1. Cycling 

Everyone would like to push the pedal to the metal like Lance Armstrong, but don’t be a ‘dope’! Bring that oxygen-rich blood to the muscles and build strength and endurance with Pilates. Cycling is an endurance sport requiring flexibility in the hips, legs, and ankles. Cyclists tend to have overdeveloped legs and don’t tend to do much upper-body conditioning. This muscular imbalance can lead to injuries as well as impede performance and speed. 

Developing strong core and postural muscles can help bring more power to the pedals by strengthening postural and back muscles and balancing weaker abdominal and upper-body and arm muscles. Improved strength, flexibility, and proper breathing techniques learned through consistent Pilates conditioning lead to improved posture and endurance on the bike over long periods of time, smoother and more powerful pedaling strokes, and improved time. 

  1. Football 

Flying through the air with the greatest ease normally refers to a circus performer. However, to be successful in football, today’s receivers and defensive backs need to be more like acrobats than powerlifters. To stay healthy and injury-free during a demanding season, the football player needs a total body workout – not just curls, bench presses, and squats. Adding Pilates to the football player’s conditioning program works the entire body uniformly, helps the player run faster, jump higher, and withstand hits by improving core strength, muscle imbalances, and flexibility. 

By stretching and strengthening the muscles around the joints, Pilates helps avoid muscle, groin, and joint injuries. Not only can Pilates improve focus by requiring concentration and body awareness but proper breathing techniques and exercise sequencing – the principles of Pilates – can improve endurance by bringing oxygen-rich blood to the muscles. 

  1. Golf

The game of golf is about consistency, muscle memory, and total body control. Every guy at the golf outing wants to win the longest drive, closest to the pin, or longest putt contests. Pilates, by working the entire body and strengthening the core or Powerhouse, can replicate, balance, and strengthen the golfer’s swing. By strengthening these muscles, the golfer can hit the ball farther while avoiding back pain and injury. As the range of motion in the shoulders, torso, and hips improves, the golfer’s swing becomes smoother and shots more accurate. The prizes you win at the golf outing will more than cover the cost of your Pilates sessions. 

  1. Swimming and Diving

Whether swimming with the ‘sharks’ or ‘ripping’ an entry off a springboard, you need strength, total body control, flexibility, and breath control. I should know. I did just that for the PSU Lady Lion Diving team. How I wish I had known about Pilates back then! For the diver, explosive power off the board fast and efficient spinning and twisting come from flexibility as well as strong abdominal, back and gluteal muscles (the Powerhouse). Pilates develops the body uniformly for balance and control and strengthens the muscles around the joints so the body can withstand impacts of up to 50 miles an hour off the 10-meter platform. 

Since every exercise includes a stretching and strengthening component, the body becomes strong and supple. Swimming is a total body sport requiring strength, power, efficient breathing, and endurance. Practiced consistently, Pilates also increases flexibility in the shoulders and hips for improved range of motion and fluid stroke. 

  1. Figure Skating

Don’t be fooled by the figure skater’s exceptional lines. Behind that long, lean body are stretch, strength, and control. These three words epitomize what Pilates is all about. You won’t see big bulky muscles in a figure skater but long, lean lines that carry the strength needed to maneuver on edges and balance/transfer weight with total control. The skater can’t build this kind of strength by simply ice skating. The kind of stretch, strength, and control to keep you from collapsing out of jumps is dependent on a strong core and lower body strength and flexibility. When skaters gain strength in these areas, the precision of their movements is considerably enhanced.

Whether you are a weekend warrior or a competitive athlete, Pilates can help you gain a competitive edge and prevent injuries. As the only Pilates studio in Pittsburgh offering the method handed down directly by Joseph Pilates to his world-renown protege’ Romana Kryzanowski, Touchstone Pilates will assist you in mastering your sport and connecting your mind and body together. Contact us today to schedule a class.

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