Pilates is often referred to as a conditioning method for the body and mind. It is a well controlled, focused physical conditioning program for the whole body, promoting balanced fitness and body awareness. Work on fitness aspects such as strength, flexibility, coordination and posture, leads to gains in overall body control, balance and assists dramatically in the reduction of and recovery from injuries.
Pilates has been used by the ballet and modern dance world since its beginnings-there are few dancers who are still ignorant of the transforming benefits that it has to offer to performing artists.
There has also been worldwide interest in the benefits that Pilates clearly offers to athletes of all disciplines and Pilates (in one-on-one or group training formats), can easily be tailored to meet the requirements of specific sports conditioning. Several of the world's top rugby teams including New Zealand and Australia use Pilates as an effective means of rehabilitative conditioning and there are numerous and ever increasing examples of top echelon athletes using Pilates exercise to bolster their performance and to maintain competitive conditioning consistency.
To mention just a few....
Cirque de Sole has a Pilates practitioner at every site to prevent injury and enhance performance.
Some of the worlds biggest sports stars use Pilates and GYROTONIC to help them gain the edge on their opponents, including Lebron James, Andy Murray, Gareth Bale, Tiger woods and many more! In fact the entire team of the New Jersey Nets has 10 Allegro Reformers (giant size) and they are benefiting enormously from the Allegro workouts.
Martina Navratilova incorporates Pilates into her training programme.
Auckland based golf professional at Golf Today, Stuart Malcolmson states "My flexibility has increased dramatically. I have greater rotation through my hips and legs, creating more power and consistency in my swing. I find I recover quicker from prolonged periods of swing and playing."
Golf/Tennis-The Polestar Studio in Miami Florida and numerous other Pilates studios in North America and Europe conduct Pilates training programmes especially tailored golfers and tennis players. In games that are so one sided with all the rotation in one direction it is important to maintain and realign the body. Pilates will develop even muscle tone - strengthening the weak muscles and stretching out the tight ones.
Swimming- In a repetitive sport like swimming, muscular imbalance is inevitable if training done out of the pool doesn't address it. This can lead to impaired performance and injuries. Pilates can help swimmers develop core strength and awareness, reduce injury and improve performance.
It is now universally accepted that the kind of movement quality and control required of high performance athletes in virtually any area of sports or movement discipline such as dance, stems from core strength. The deep abdominal and back muscles. Developing this strength is a primary focus of Pilates training.
Increased body awareness of all intrinsic and extrinsic forces influence the level of skill acquired in all physical disciplines. This awareness is created by proprioception (kinesthetic awareness) and is the task of the neuromuscular systems of the body.?Pilates is unrivalled as an exercise method that enhances proprioception.
The benefits of Pilates do not only apply to athletes but to a wide spectrum of people who may or may not participate in disciplined physical activity of any nature or level. Pilates is especially useful in the rehabilitation and conditioning of people who suffer from injury or certain kinds of physiological handicaps. Versatility is the key.