It’s no secret that world-class Olympians have to endure relentless training schedules. Many of us will find thirty minutes on a treadmill to be a struggle, but professional athletes are required to place a huge strain on their body on an almost daily basis in order to push themselves to their physical peak.
Whilst many athletes incorporated high-intensity cardio workouts and weight training into their pre-London 2012 training programmes, it’s now emerging that many of the Olympics’ best-known faces also turned to Pilates to help keep them in tip-top shape for the global event.
Sports Stars That Endorse Pilates
So which sports personalities have been singing the praises of this hugely popular exercise programme? Well, tennis champ Andy Murray has recently been telling the press of his new-found penchant for Pilates. It’s been a hectic year for the star – he won the US Open in a thrilling match against Novak Djokovic, defeated close rival Roger Federer to clinch a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics, and has taken part in a number of other high profile tournaments throughout the year, so it’s no surprise that, by his own admission, his body is starting to feel the effects of his gruelling training regime.
However, according to The Scotsman, Andy has stated that his ‘body feels good’ after attending just a handful of Pilates classes in a bid to sooth his sore, aching muscles and joints. He’s even gone so far as to say to The Daily Mail that Pilates has made him a ‘better person’ and he is now able to ‘play much better and think a lot better on court’.
Sanya Richards Ross, a US sprinter, is now known to work closely with a qualified Pilates instructor and has openly attributed her excellent performance at the Games to the programme (you’ll find some of her empowering comments on pilates.about.com). Kerri Walsh, who won gold in the women’s beach volleyball tournament in 2012 after incorporating the exercise into her training, also puts her post-pregnancy fitness down to regular Pilates classes.
So Why Is Pilates Ideal For Professional Athletes?
These endorsements from such high profile sports stars have really helped bolster the ever-growing reputation of Pilates, which was originally created by Joseph Pilates back in the early 1900s.
The programme has received such glowing reviews from so many household names because it effectively improves your core stability. By training the muscles of the lower back, pelvis and abdomen through a variety of stretching and conditioning exercises, Pilates experts say you can improve your posture, coordination and overall movement efficiency. Athletes find that regular Pilates sessions will improve their body’s alignment, helping them to better synchronize their limbs and tap into an inner strength they never knew they had!
Incorporating Pilates Into YOUR Exercise Routine
Naturally, Pilates isn’t just for the incredibly talented, and neither is it solely for those who are extremely fit. Those who struggle with mobility due to underlying medical conditions will find the low-impact movements and stretches involved in Pilates to be a gentle yet effective way of getting themselves back into exercise. In addition, regular gym-goers will find Pilates to be a welcome alternative to running, cycling or swimming, as it focuses more on conditioning the muscles and boosting flexibility than simply burning fat.
If you can’t afford to splash out on a class or a one-to-one training session, there are plenty of exercises you can try out at home. Though specialist apparatus is often used within Pilates sessions, many exercises can be carried out on mats with just a select few pieces of equipment to hand, so there’s really no excuse not to give this latest phenomenon a try!
Stretch Physiotherapy offers the personalised one-to-one Pilates Essex needs. The clinic also offers specialised physiotherapy assessments and treatments.