What do sports professionals such as Tiger Woods, Steve Ballesteros and Jason Kidd all have in common to help them stay in peak condition year round? They all incorporate Pilates into their regular fitness regime.
Pilates is a physical fitness and conditioning programme which helps build flexibility, muscle strength and endurance in the legs, abdominals, arms, hips and back. Popular with women, it is now becoming increasingly popular with men who find it a great addition to their fitness routines.
Colleen Brummer of ENERGY Essential Fitness – a Yoga and Pilates studio tucked away in Cricket Square, George Town, says that Pilates helps athletes develop core strength, increase flexibility, assist in rehabilitation after injury, and create muscular balance throughout the entire body.
“Pilates was actually developed by a man, Joseph Pilates, in the early 1900s and was originally intended as an exercise programme for men. Over the years, the dancing community began to gravitate towards Pilates and incorporated the system in their training and rehabilitation, and unfortunately I think this has been a big turn off for men today.
“Pilates is actually an extremely challenging form of exercise and very athletic in nature – it helps to create greater core strength, increases flexibility, helps to manage back pain, improves posture and relieves stress. Indeed, Pilates creates an excellent foundation for the myriad of sports and fitness training which men are involved in. Knowing how to properly activate the core muscles can make all the difference in sports performance and injury prevention.”
Exercises can be modified to suit all levels and intensity can be increased over time as the body conditions and adapts. Pilates can be carried out with basic mat work, as well as using larger apparatus like the Pilates Reformer.
Using a system of springs and pulleys, the Pilates Reformer provides an intense strength training experience that both strengthens and stretches muscles, while smaller equipment, such as weights, fitness circles, and flex bands, help to intensify Pilates mat work training.
“A group Pilates mat class is a great way to start working towards greater core strength and is the perfect supplement to any well-rounded cross training programme,” Colleen adds.