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More sports stars are turning to Pilates for fitness

20th April 2016

More sports stars are turning to Pilates for fitness
When most people decide they want to get fitter, they head down to the gym and start pounding away at the treadmill or lifting weights. The results are usually not bad, especially if your aim is simply to bulk up and gain a more muscular physique.

However quite often, focus is not shared across the body. It is all about having big arms, or gaining abs. Yet areas such as the legs and back are pushed from focus. This muscular imbalance can lead to injury, in some cases more serious than others.

That is where Pilates can stake a strong claim to being the most effective workout there is. With exercises that work the whole body and in particular the core muscles around the spine and the abdominals, a pilates workout leaves you feeling strong.

The benefits of pilates haven't gone unnoticed and as a result a growing number of professional sports stars are taking it up.

Pilates in Football

Harry Kane and Gareth Bale have got more in common than you think. They both played for Tottenham, they're both going to the European Championships this summer and they both do Pilates!

Twenty years ago if you walked into the changing room and began preaching the benefits of pilates, you'd get some pretty interesting looks from your team mates. But as the nature of the game has changed and fitness has become more prevalent, pilates has become a staple in more footballers fitness regimes.

Harry Kane uses Pilates as part of his and attends the same class as One Direction front man Harry Styles. Kane uses pilates to prevent injuries and is enjoying a fine season in the Premier League.

Gareth Bale has used Pilates as part of his training for a number of years. Bale, who is known for his tall, muscular physique - not too dissimilar to Cristiano Ronaldo's - used pilates stretches to help him overcome muscular injuries in the earlier stages of his career. After adding it to his workout, his physique began to improve and a look at him now shows a player in peak physical condition.

Tennis

Andy Murray frequently practices Pilates. The two-time grand slam winner and
Olympic gold medallist added it to his training programme a number of years ago after recurring back problems. Since doing so, and also doing yoga alongside it, Murray has stayed all but injury free and had impressive success on the court. The British tennis star has become more physically fit and powerful, which has improved his game significantly.

Golf

Golf and pilates are the perfect pairing. With a lot of upper body rotation required, mobile joints and flexible back muscles are an absolute necessity if you want to be an able golfer, or any kind of golfer for that matter!

Pilates will work on your posture and help to lengthen and strengthen the muscles which support your spine. This will allow you to put more power in your swing, stabilise your body and cause less discomfort during repeats of the motion.

Tiger Woods suffered a string of frequent back injuries in recent years and this has prevented him competing at a level anywhere close to his best. As part of his latest recovery, he has added pilates to his plan in a bid to strengthen his spine.

Phil Mickleson, Camilo Vilegas, Annika Sorenstam and Eddie Pepperell are just some of the other names on golfs professional tour that use Pilates to improve their conditioning.

Baseball

Recently, Sports Illustrated did a feature on Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta, who in 2015, enjoyed one of the best seasons of pitching in the history of Major League Baseball.

This came on the back of a mid-season trade after previous club Baltimore had all but given up on the pitcher.

After arriving in Chicago, he began to turn things around. Completely by
chance, he ended up taking a pilates class with his wife and got immediately hooked. Soon after he was doing three sessions a week, before purchasing a custom-built reformer and having private sessions in the Cubs media room - the only free space he could find. He went from a regular athlete to one in incredible physical condition.

“Maybe it was a taboo in this sport. I think it's only a matter of time before you see a reformer in every big league clubhouse.

I have much better control of my body. My balance is much improved and the mental and physical toughness Pilates requires to complete movements the correct way have directly helped me".

Find a pilates class near you

These are just a few examples, if you look at other professional sports such as Rugby, Skiing, Cycling or Athletics, you'll also see it littered with stars who use pilates to increase their performance.

But you don't have to be a professional athlete to reap the benefits. Pilates can be suitable to everyone and can improve your health, body and mentality in a variety of ways.

To find a pilates class near you, simply visit Pilates Near You. With hundreds of pilates instructors and pilates studios around the UK offering everything from beginners mat classes, to advanced reformer pilates, there is definitely a class that will suit your needs.

By entering your postcode on our homepage, this will identify any instructors offering classes in your area. You'll be able to contact them and leave an enquiry, or book online to secure your place in a class.

Important note: If you have are pregnant, have an ongoing medical condition or are looking to rehabilitate from an injury consult your GP and pilates instructor before attending a class.
Source: Pilates Near You