Male Athletes find their edge with Pilates

Pilates for Professional Athletes

As with other professional sports athletes, the New York Nets have invested in Pilates equipment for their weight room. The players were so dependent on their Pilates workouts that throughout the NBA playoffs in 2002, a leading Pilates company shipped special equipment to the team’s hotel on road trips.

As mainstream as the Pilates method of developing core muscle groups has become, male professional athletes interested in adding it to their training programs used to feel that they had to get past the stigma that this is largely a women’s exercise.

Pilates Case Study with a NBA Athlete

Jason Frederick Kidd is a retired American professional basketball player who is currently the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks of the  National Basketball Association. Back in 2001 his wife, Pilates enthusiast Joumana Kidd told Jason to try it for rehabilitation of a broken ankle, but he put her off for a while. When he relented he confesses “my first thought was that it couldn’t be that hard.” His first session with Pilates specialist Susan Whitlow turned out to be “a real eye opener,” he recalls. He kept at it, and noticed amazing things happening to his NBA-abused body. “I immediately discovered how tight I was,” Kidd recalls, after one session I was energized. From that point on I was convinced it was a great workout”.

Then, thanks to regular sessions on the Pilates Reformer in his basement and at the team’s practice facility, he has. He says “I just try and keep the fine line of a little iron and a lot of the Pilates machine” in addition to the exercise he gets on the court. Thanks to the fact that Kidd found Pilates at about the same time as team Strength and Conditioning Coach, Rich Dalatri, the Nets became the first NBA team to embrace Pilates. Several of the players now have the equipment at home, which may have contributed to the Nets’ staying almost injury-free.

Pilates deserves some credit

Kidd finished a close second in league-wide MVP voting and thinks  Pilates deserves some credit. That’s why he says it’s a good bet that in the injury-riddled NBA, “Pilates is not going to be a secret for long.” At 34, Kidd is having perhaps the best season of his career. It is unusual that a player his age is still considered one of the best at his position in the world and has actually improved as of late. But that’s what Pilates does for athletes that are looking for the edge. For Kidd, Pilates is all about finding the edge. He estimates 30% of his strength and flexibility training comes from Pilates. “Pilates has made me quicker, more explosive,” he says.

Article submitted by: Summer Lopez
Courtesy of: USA Today ( August 2012)

physiotherapist and pilates instructor in Jamaica


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