What Leading Sports People Say About Pilates

Andy Murray Training Session

There is a real trend among professional athletes to include Pilates in their training programme.  Pilates is a great way of assisting or accelerating a physiotherapy programme when coming back from injury. Also, by engaging in Pilates core exercises regularly, athletes can create better movement patterns and decrease the chance of aggravating old injuries and developing new ones. In short, Pilates can help athletes achieve optimal performance and get the most from their bodies.

Here’s what a number of leading athletes from a broad range of sports have to say about Pilates and the role it plays in their training and success…

Triathlete, Ashley Wenzel: “Pilates helps alleviate pain caused by endurance sports and strengthens the essential muscles that make you a stronger cyclist, faster runner, and more efficient swimmer.  It develops stability, strength, and flexibility, which are all needed to gain speed and prevent injury.”

Chris Froome: “One of the things I wanted to do was calm my upper body movement down and become more stable. Pilates core strengthening work has helped me with that.”

Lawrence Frank, NBA (National Basketball Association) coach: “Pilates workouts are an excellent conditioning tool for the NBA. The strength, agility and performance of my players have increased and Pilates has become an essential part of our workouts.”

Beauden Barrett, All Blacks

Kevin McNaughton, Cardiff City: “I wasn’t sure about the [Pilates] sessions at first, but after just a month I felt an improvement. It’s given me an extra half-centimetre stretch already. It’s not like the cliché of sitting in tights, stretching and meditating – there’s a great deal of strength work too.”

Conditoning Coordinator, Pittsburgh Steelers, Garrett Giemont: “I look for ways to turn every ounce of potential into winning performance for my players. Pilates training strengthens the core muscles, increases flexibility, and helps my guys stay on the field — and off the injured list.”

Victoria Pendleton: “I’ve been doing Pilates for more than a year and for me it’s been a real breakthrough in managing back pain and building my postural muscles. I have lots of lumbar spine issues from spending my life hunched over a bike.”

Beauden Barrett, All Blacks: “I’ve been working on my flexibility.  I’m quite a stiff bloke and Pilates and yoga have definitely helped.  It’s more a recovery thing for me.  It’s great for the mind as well as the body.  It’s important to get that balance and I’ve seen great benefits from it.”

Bradley Wiggins: “I focus on strengthening my core for 30 minutes each day, mixing up Pilates and yoga moves and using exercise balls. Without a solid core you can’t transfer power efficiently, and you’ll be left with dust in your eyes, however strong your legs are.”

Andy Murray: “Since I had my back surgery, I’ve had to work on my flexibility.  And I have very stiff hips as well.  [Pilates and gyrotonics] not only help my tennis, but improve the quality of my life as well. My back was sore all the time and now it is way better.  I don’t think I could compete at the level I do without the flexibility work.”

Michele Landry

Four-time Ironman finisher and world championship qualifier, Michele Landry: “If you are new to Pilates, you may walk away from a session not necessarily feeling tremendous muscle fatigue or soreness. Pilates workouts are designed to make you physically balanced while building strength in the muscle groups specific to endurance sports. Pilates focuses on the tiny muscles that support your dominant, superficial muscles.”

Harry Rednapp: “Pilates can prevent long-term injuries creeping into the squad, which is why they have a class before each training session.  I think Pilates is just an amazing thing.  It makes the players more supple.”

Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears: “To counteract the joint compression caused by weightlifting, I go straight from weights to Pilates as often as possible. It helps me work on rebalancing and activating my muscles…supporting muscles that hold up the bigger ones.”

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To close, a track from my gym training playlist…please consult your doctor before working out to this song…


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