Polar Opposites or Kin Interests?Posted by Ian Kullhem on May 28, 2015
Pilates and football might strike you as polar opposites in nearly every regard. But football players are starting to turn to Pilates to fine-tune their bodies for the demanding rigors of the sport.
Pro football players have realized that the repetitive, isolated muscle movements they play out on the field and use in a traditional workout are not enough to keep them healthy over a lengthy career. The lack of symmetry and alignment in an athlete’s body can end a career prematurely. That probability has inspired increasing numbers of professional players to seek out healthy, non-invasive fitness alternatives to extend their careers.
Strengthening, Stabilizing and Mobilizing
Since Pilates is low impact, it allows athletes to work hard day after day without enduring the impact fatigue that a field session or a gym workout could cause. Pilates provides opportunity to address old injuries while proactively improving conditioning to prevent the possibility of new injuries.
Pro football players are tough. To perform well, they need strength, speed, agility, and endurance. Like many athletes, pro ball players also tend to have a “strong side,” the side of their body they favor when not on the field. This can cause over-development in one side of the body, destabilizing the player’s muscular and skeletal structures.
Additionally, time spent in a traditional gym lifting weights heavy enough to crush the average person can compress joints and spines and does little to elongate their muscles. While these typically aren’t issues for short-term athletes, joint problems can result from compression and tightening of muscles. Compressed joints and tight muscles don’t have the flexibility or mobility necessary to perform optimally. For example, in order for a player to sprint, he needs to have long, lean, flexible hamstrings. When the hamstrings are tight because they have been strengthened but not extended, the sprinter’s stride is also curtailed preventing the athlete from covering as much ground and ultimately slowing him down.
If you’ve spent any time doing Pilates, you can vouch for the parallel between the exercise and the sport. Pilates emphasizes elongating the muscles and promotes total body performance by lengthening the muscles, promoting the creation of space between joints, improving stability, and increasing range of motion.
Because Pilates targets numerous muscle groups through full-range-of-motion movements, it can also facilitate more efficient movement for players on the field. In a sport where every physical advantage makes a difference, total body efficiency can be a major differentiator.
At Pilates in the Pines, we offer many options for serious and amateur athletes to step up their game with low-impact, strengthening workouts that improve flexibility and mobility. Call us today for a consultation: 720-733-9307.