In addition to being a standalone form of exercise, Pilates exercises are designed to help correct muscular imbalances caused by the repetitive movements an athlete undertakes in pursuit of their sport. Thy help increase flexibility, agility and can help prevent injuries.
The last five years has seen Professional sports teams embracing Pilates as a necessary part of all athlete’s training regimens. One professional sport that has seen considerable rewards from the Pilates training modalities has been soccer, or football to most of the world. One of the reasons for this uptick in soccer players moving to Pilates has been the quick improvements to hip flexibility they see from Pilates training.
According to Pilates trainer Lauren Cross, “Soccer players originally thought that [Pilates] was just an exercise to make them feel better and recover after games. But then they started seeing results in performance. They’re stronger and have more flexibility in their smaller muscle groups, which, when working with powerhouse muscles, is essential in maximizing movement potential and injury prevention.”
For soccer players, hips are a huge problem area. Lauren goes on to point out that their hips are so tight from being in a turned out position much of the time and from the strain of the sport. “Most of the guys can’t even sit cross-legged on the floor without their legs being up to their elbows, and they need their hips to open up to execute an effective shot in soccer.”
“Gareth Bale (top professional soccer player) is an incredible specimen; he looks after himself, is beginning to realize how good he can be and embraces the sort of medical advice available at all the top clubs,” according to The Daily Mail.
Devon Sandoval is another such player: “As a striker I’ve got to have flexible hips in order to maximize each shot attempt. For the longest time I had really tight hips. Pilates helped me find any weaknesses and has helped me become a stronger and more balanced athlete,” says Devon. “Working on the Tower opened my hips and made me much more flexible, which has led to a much more powerful shot. It’s been an absolute game changer.”