Pilates Center of Austin: Sports-Specific Training Programs

» All newcomers to Pilates, whether seeking a "general" or "customized" fitness program, must first participate in a short Introductory program to learn the fundamentals of the Pilates Method. See "Getting Started"

Pilates for professional or recreational sports

If you've come to this page on our site, you probably play a sport, either professionally or recreationally, and are striving to improve your personal best. So here's a tip-off: Pilates can be your best friend! And here's why, and what you'll discover when you read on: There is simply nothing like Pilates to re-balance and strengthen your whole body, rehab injuries, and, most important, prevent future injuries–while at the same time dramatically improving your game!

The days of Pilates being reserved for strengthening the cast of Swan Lake are over. The baton has been picked up by the likes of Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, Curt Schilling, and Gold Medal Olympians like Sanya Richards Ross (who trained for seven years at our studio), Dara Torres & Kerri Walsh. Athletes the world over are turning to Pilates both to refine their game and to accelerate rehabbing from injuries.

Sanya Richards Ross wins Gold at 2012 London Olympics

“Pilates has played a huge role in my success as an athlete, and in my life’s goal of winning Gold in the 400m at the 2012 London Olympics. Working with Wendy has helped me to really focus on the little things that help elite athletes become better. From increased flexibility, to improved breathing habits, and a heightened awareness of my body…Wendy's techniques have improved my performance on every level. Pilates is a whole body, mind, and spirit experience and Wendy made it relate to every part of my life.
Sanya Richards-Ross
World and 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympic Champion

Pilates as Contrasted with Traditional Training Methods

Traditional athletic training methods will help develop the muscles required in a specific sport, but may not address the deeper stabilizing muscles around the joints or the torso. Often, one muscle is identified and exercises are designed to isolate that muscle, usually in a single plane of motion. Pilates exercises, on the other hand, are more complex, in that they focus on the whole body in every movement.

Every sport has its own distinctive patterns of movement. Some sports use certain muscles repeatedly while virtually ignoring others, creating the risk of an unbalanced physique. Many sports–golf, tennis, bowling–are one-sided games, leading to muscle imbalances and overworked tight muscles. Others demand more finely tuned efficiency to minimize the potential damage caused by a high-velocity repetitive action, such as pitching in baseball. Impact sports like soccer and football require a high level of conditioning plus a good range of movement around the joints. Common to all is the need to build long, lean muscles without bulk, and to activate the deep core support from foot to head. Pilates addresses these coordinating requirements and is an ideal complement to other training methods.

In fact, sports training experts have identified seven physical performance factors of great significance to athletes' overall conditioning practices and rehabilitation of sport-related injuries: posture, balance, mobility/flexibility, stability, coordination, functional strength and endurance—all of which are addressed with Pilates, making it perhaps the most well-rounded, whole-body program to be found anywhere!

Colorado Rockies Pitcher, Matt Belisle

Colorado Rockies pitcher Matt Belisle: "Pilates has become a fundamental source I use in everything I do, on the field and off."

Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) and Pilates

All sports now embrace the concept of Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD): acquiring the ABCs of movement–Agility, Balance, Coordination and Speed–at a young age, then gradually moving the approach to training from general to specific and from simple to more complex, as the athlete matures both physically and mentally. It's a system designed to produce sports players with physiques appropriate to their chosen sport and with the necessary strength, stamina and suppleness to perform at the top level, under stress, for long periods of time with a reduced risk of injury.

Pilates harmonizes perfectly with the LTAD approach across every sport. If you're coming to sports as an adult, you can still benefit from the philosophy behind LTAD if you approach your chosen activity with informed awareness and an open mind when tackling new skills. Pilates will accentuate this learning process, whether you are an elite performer or a complete novice.

For more on Pilates and the Young Athlete: ideafit.com / Pilates for Young Athletes.

Budding Olympic hopeful, Sara Colon

Budding Olympic hopeful Sara Colon gains balance, strength and flexibility on the Pilates Reformer.

Pilates and the Male Athlete

Joe Pilates was an athlete who developed this brilliant training regimen for his own benefit–and now it has taken the sports world by storm!

Just look at how Pilates has caught on in the male-dominated sports world. Many male athletes use it today to cross train. Colorado Rockies pitcher Matt Belisle (whom we feature on our video sidebar); 10-time PGA Player of the Year Tiger Woods; tennis great Roger Federer; New York Knicks point guard Jason Kidd; retired Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling (a three-time World Series champion); and retired Chicago Bears offensive lineman Ruben Brown practice Pilates to increase their core strength and range of motion.

For more on Pilates and the male athlete:

In addition to instruction in Sports-Specific Training, we offer specialized programs in:
General Fitness, Weight Loss, Post-Rehabilitation and Pain Management, SeniorFit™, Prenatal & Postnatal Programs, Workplace, Structural Integration (Rolfing) and Therapeutic Breathwork (Buteyko Method Asthma Relief).