No Men Allowed?
I think that as a rule of thumb, most blokes are put off the idea of taking up a form of exercise like Pilates, dismissing it as being an airy-fairy, and that it’s mostly women who do it. They don’t feel as though it would be enough of a challenge for them, and they wouldn’t want to be the odd one out in the class.
Well I’m here to hopefully surprise you with a list of top male athletes that praise Pilates as being a key factor behind their impressive performance capabilities:
- Tiger Woods
- Lebron- James (his famous ‘Thrown Up the Rock’ celebration pose is even inspired by one of his favourite Pilates exercises)
- Ryan Giggs
- Mike Atherton
- Andre Ward
- Seve Ballesteros
- David Beckham
- Andy Murray
- Sir Steve Redgrave
- Andrew Flintoff
As you can see there are lots of high profile names of successful sportsmen who compete in a wide range of sports, and the list could go on. There are also many other high profile men who sing the praises of the Pilates exercise method, including:
- Hugh Grant
- Ian McKellin
- John Cleese
- Tony Bennett
- Danny Glover
- Patrick Swayze
Again the list could go on, but I’m sure you get the picture. My point is, that if the likes of Andy Murray and Ryan Giggs can find enough of a challenge in a Pilates workout to help boost their sporting performance, and that other celebrities like John Cleese and Hugh Grant use it to boost their general health, then why couldn’t you?
As for the other point raised before, regarding being the odd one out in a group, we are seeing more and more men take up the Pilates form of exercise as word of its benefits and uses become more well known, so again I ask you, why not join them? Your list of excuses is starting to run a little thin…
And as for the Ladies
Luckily I don’t need to try as hard to convince the opposite gender of the perks of Pilates for athletic performance (amongst other things), as the stats tell us that it still is a lot more popular with the women than with the men (although this is becoming less of a trend). Still, it wouldn’t hurt to remind ourselves of the women who can’t recommend Pilates highly enough, including:
- Lindsey Davenport- Tennis
- Natalie Coughlin- Swimming
- Kim Vandenburg- Swimming
- Misty May-Treanor- Volleyball
- Kerri Walsh- Volleyball
- Sanya Richards Running
- Andre Ward- boxing
- Julia Mancuso-skiing
This list barely scratches the tip of the iceberg. All these are successful athletes who all credit Pilates exercise as being key factors in their health and success. You’d be mad to at least not give it a go!How?
So, we’ve seen that there are a huge number of successful sports personalities who credit Pilates with giving their performance that extra little kick, but how might this actually work? And how can you harness these benefits yourself to help beat your PB in your weekly cycle, run or bench press?
Well, the answer can be as simple or as detailed as you like, really. We’ve already discussed in previous posts how certain Pilates exercises are brilliant for helping to increase strength and flexibility, both of which would quite clearly improve sporting performance, but what Pilates also adds is benefits to stability, control, and also to the mental side of sporting performance.
Below are the top 3 exercises to improve your athletic performance:
Leg pull in Prone
Have you done a plank before? Take your plank to the next level with pilates leg pull prone level 3. Learn to stabilise your body with more than just your arms and legs. This exercise will be sure to have you shaking and can’t be done without a tight core. Something you need to increase your performance
Leg pull in Supine
Ever wonder why your opponent is just that little bit faster than you, stronger than you, and maybe more skilled? Do you need something to give you that extra edge over your opponent? Have you been putting in extra hours practising your sport and not getting the results you want? The leg pull in supine is only one of many pilates exercises that can help strengthen those muscles that can give you that one up on your opponent. With this exercise focusing on your hip extensors and glutes, it’s bound to give you the results you have been looking for3.
Side Kick in Kneeling
Does your sport require you to spend time on one leg? Are you often balancing on one leg, while trying to generate power through the other? If you’re answering yes to the above, then side kick kneeling is for you! This pilates exercise is specific not only for your deep core but also transverse abdominous and the stabilising muscles that we often forget about on our side.