Men get tough with Pilates
If you’re a professional athlete, there are some things that come with the territory. Getting injured is one of them. Most athletes will tell you that they continue to train with various ‘niggles’ and that’s what separates the dedicated from the amateurs.
Albert Einstein once said that the “definition of stupidity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result”. Whilst your average Jock hasn’t always been renowned for being blessed with smarts, there are clearly some guys out there who have realised that there has to be a better way of doing things and are very smart indeed.
LA Lakers’ Kobe Bryant and Dallas Mavericks’ Jason Kidd are two of the growing number of professional athletes that have incorporated Pilates into their training schedules. In the competitive world of sport, it’s not surprising that new training methods are tested. What is surprising is that an exercise regime that has more recently been associated with the glamorous women of show business, is gaining popularity amongst male athletes.
Joseph Pilates developed the program of exercises, originally called ‘Contrology’, in his native Germany. He brought his ideas to America, via the UK, when he migrated there during the mid-1920s. He believed that Pilates was ‘an ideal system to transform the body into a perf ect instrument of the will.”
Using controlled movements and an emphasis on a strong ‘core’, Pilates instructors will often use props such as exercise balls, resistance bands, Pilates rings as well as specific Pilates apparatus such as the ‘Reformer’.
Although dubious to start with, Jason Kidd told USA Today, “After one session I was energized. From that point on I was convinced it was a great workout.” Team coaches are quickly recognizing that using Pilates is not only great for building strength, agility and speed but it keeps athletes off the injury bench too. The San Francisco 49ers, the Philadelphia Flyers and the Cleveland Indians are just some of the professional teams that have found the benefits of Pilates.
England and US Soccer star, David Beckham was introduced to Pilates whilst at the European club AC Milan and has said “I do an hour of Pilates a day .. and fitness-wise, I am the best I have been for a long time.”
Other sportsmen who are discovering the benefits of Pilates to improve their game include: Golfer Tiger Woods, 2009 NBA World Champion MVP and captain of the LA Lakers , Kobe Bryant, Olympic Gold Medalist Boxer Andre Ward and retired Boston Red Sox Pitcher Curt Schilling.
The reason that Pilates works so well for men is that it concentrates on stability, core strength, flexibility and efficient movement. Pilates’ deep abdominal core work will result in that much sought after six-pack whilst overall a lean, toned and strong body can be achieved. Pilates offers a much better long term strategy for men who want to get fit and stay strong.