Research Leans Towards Pilates for Improved Athletic Performance

Joseph Pilates started exercising to combat his physical disadvantages, such as asthma, which allowed him to form his own system that we know today as ‘Pilates.’ Since the workout routines boom in recognition in the 1970’s, studies have followed on the effects of Pilates.

Studies show that Pilates improves lower limb muscle strength and trunk flexibility in women, lowers the rate of depression in postpartum women, and improves  hamstring flexibility in football players. Is Pilates the best option, over Barre, for improving athletic performance?

Barre is designed to be a workout for every woman, but not many studies can be found on the effects of a Barre routine.

Mariska Breland of Fuse Pilates in Washington D.C., says Barre doesn’t make you better at sports. “It’s not a complete workout,” says the instructor, “It’s not very functional.”

Jennifer Rockwell of Pilates 4 in Virginia Beach says “equipment Pilates is definitely good for people that are post physical therapy, it is a very rehabilitative type exercise, it is a full body workout, but it is slower paced, it is much more mindful, you’re getting more one on one, so you get lots more corrections, vs. in a Barre class, you can only correct to the general, you can’t spend all your time on one person.”

An article by USA Today in 2003 reported on athletes improving their performance through Pilates, such as quickness, power, flexibility, weight loss, and injury-free seasons.

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