17 Oct
pilates london irish

How Ireland’s Top Athletes Use Pilates For Optimal Performance

There’s no doubt about, Pilates has become an integral part of top athletes training. Why is it so popular? Well in a nutshell, it is a beautifully designed system that conditions the body for optimal performance.

Pilates works to improve functional movement, to speed up post match recovery and prevent injuries by exposing biomechanical faults. It does this by stretching muscles, strengthening muscles and improving proprioception.

Muscle Stretching

Sport tests the limit of your body’s movement and range of motion. During a game you will be required to twist, bend, flex, extend and squat to name just a few actions. Even a simple movement like reaching back overhead to catch a ball puts major demand on your body.

Tight muscles restrict your body’s capacity to move. Pilates stretches your muscles to increase your flexibility allowing your body to reach its full movement potential and full muscle function. This is also critical to prevent injuries that occur when the limits of your range of motion are surpassed.

Stretching is especially important after playing matches, when your muscles will be tight and sore. A simple stretching session can reduce this tightness and speed up post match recovery.

‘For me whole approach that Platinum Pilates takes makes it the perfect tool for our recovery and rehab sessions. Our training schedule can be gruelling and yet we have to be at the top of our game in terms of flexibility, suppleness & core control all the time. Platinum Pilates have carefully designed sessions that take all of this into account and whilst the sessions can be tough I always leave feeling like I have more mobility, stability and movement. I would highly recommend it to any person serious about their sport.’

Rob Kearney, Leinster and Irish Rugby Player.

Muscle Strengthening

To perform at peak level your muscles need to be strong. Muscle imbalances are a major problem for the body that are often exposed during sport. Weak core and gluts are the biggest offenders. With weak muscles comes over strain on other muscle groups to compensate, leading to muscle fatigue and injury. Pilates is designed to work through the full chain of the body to correct these imbalances.

Our bodies tend to favour one side of the body for movement. This is particularly true when playing sports such a golf or tennis which are by in large unilateral sports. A combination of muscle stretching and strengthening is critical to avoid over use injuries and discomfort.

‘I have been working with Annie for years now and I have found it a pivotal part of my training and recovery and would recommend it to everyone. Annie creates fun, challenging classes, with particular emphasis on hip mobility and back flexibility.’

Michael Darragh Macauley, Dublin Senior Footballer.


Proprioception is known as a sixth sense and is the bodies ability to sense its own position and movement. It is an essential but under rated aspect of sporting performance. We work on proprioception by challenging balance, muscle reflexes, coordination and dynamic stability. Together these factors work together to improve athletes awareness of their movement. This gives players the edge during games to know how to react when there body is in a certain position. Think of how a rugby player must almost instinctively move when dodging tackles and twisting and turning.

No matter what your sport, you can benefit by introducing Pilates to your training Improve your flexibility, strength and balance and notice and jump in your stability, agility and overall performance.

Source Annie Kirwan on Elverysblog.com

Annie Kirwan is a Pilates Instructor at Platinum Pilates works with some of Ireland’s top sports stars.

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