How Pilates Can Pair With Other Sports

How Pilates Can Pair With Other Sports

If you’re regularly playing a sport, you’ll know that what you do in between games and training sessions is just as important as the big events themselves. Having a routine that supports recovery and improves the aspects of fitness you need during your sports days can enhance your performance over time. 

Reformer Pilates is the perfect addition to your training program, with benefits that extend to a range of sports. The benefits for everyday athletes include better balance, a more aligned spine, increased core strength, greater lung capacity and a stronger mental resilience for training sessions or competitions. 

Building a Strong Core for All Athletes

One of the key principles of reformer Pilates is maintaining good posture with a combination of core strength and spine support. Your core encompasses more than just your abdominal muscles and also includes your pelvic floor and obliques. Having a strong core not only helps with balance, power and strength in any sport that involves running but can also reduce the chances of back injury. 

When your core is weak, your back will often have to compensate more, which can lead to strain or injury. When you’re using a reformer Pilates machine, your entire workout focuses strongly on correct posture, engaging your core and protecting your spine. There are a number of Pilates exercises that are designed to target and strengthen your core specifically. 

A strong core can help with everything from running faster and harder to improving twisting motions and a greater ability to lift and move heavy objects. 

Enhancing Flexibility and Range of Motion

Whether you’re a dancer, gymnast or martial artist, if your sport of choice requires good flexibility, reformer Pilates will be a good choice for you, too. Through the use of resistance bands that are combined with precise, smooth motion, both your muscles and tendons are utilised to stretch fully into each movement. Over time, your muscles become more toned and elongated, and the range of motion you have throughout your body will increase. 

Reformer Pilates is a self-paced and self-regulated exercise that requires the full body to engage in order to be practised correctly. With greater flexibility and muscle control comes better posture while also reducing the chances of accidentally over-extending your joints and muscles. This helps with injury prevention and can also be used as a recovery tool between events or when you’re slowly building muscle around a sensitive area. 

Injury Prevention and Cross-Training

Certain workouts are much higher intensity by their design, which, when they aren’t executed correctly, can lead to injury. Whether you’re trying to reduce the chances of injury or are actively recovering from one, reformer Pilates can help. The key difference in how Pilates works is that it’s incredibly controlled and is, by its nature, a low-impact exercise. 

Due to the nature of cross-training, the potential to strain joints, ligaments and muscles is high. The creator of Pilates, Joseph Pilates himself, said, “A few well-designed movements, properly performed in a balanced sequence, are worth hours of sloppy callisthenics or forced contortion.” 

Free weights and high-intensity activities in workouts like CrossFit are less controlled, which is one of the risks that can result in strained muscles. By contrast, reformer machines have resistance bands that can be adjusted to different strength levels. As you gain more muscle and increase your flexibility, they can be increased to make it more difficult over time. 

If your balance is off, you won’t be able to use your reformer correctly, which will encourage you to adjust your posture. Not only does this slower and more intentional form of exercise help with increasing lean muscle mass over time, but it can also help rehabilitate injured areas. 

Improved Body Awareness and Coordination

Any athlete will know that mental fortitude, focus and a strong mind-body connection are imperative for performing at your best. While some workouts become routine to the point that you can almost complete them through muscle memory alone, Pilates works differently. A quote from Joseph that sums this up is when he said, “Pilates is complete coordination of body, mind and spirit.” In order to engage with a Pilates workout as intended, you’ll need to combine your focus across your breathing, posture and movement. 

In order to achieve the benefits of increased flexibility, better spine alignment and improved balance and posture, you’ll need to engage with the exercises fully and do them as intended. This takes focus, which can improve proprioception over time. This is the body’s unique sense of both the movement and force of movement you’re using when you’re exercising. 

Many sports require intense focus and the ability to be fully present within your body. Whether you’re a skier, a boxer, or a tennis player, having control and awareness of your stance, breathing, and the force you can exert at any given moment can make a world of difference in your performance. 

Endurance and Breath Control for Cardio Sports

Breath control and being able to pace yourself for more endurance-heavy exercises or workouts that require short but intense bursts of energy is important. Reformer Pilates is an anaerobic exercise, meaning it doesn’t take oxygen from your blood to generate energy. Rather, it takes energy from your body’s fat stores. 

When you’re not getting energy from blood oxygen, you can slow your breathing down and focus more wholly on expanding your lungs to their full capacity. This practice can benefit athletes who regularly participate in cardiovascular sports, which are aerobic exercises that need higher lung capacity. Whether you’re biking long distances or are competing in a sprint, having the ability to regulate your breathing and maximise lung capacity can support improved performance long term. 

Whether you’re new to the world of Pilates or have tried a class before, it’s never too late to incorporate this comprehensive exercise into your routine. Experience the benefits yourself, from improved performance and recovery to a better connection with your body. Discover the range of Pilates reformers for sale at Kiva Wellness, or contact us for more information and recommendations on which reformer is best for you.