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The Role of Pilates in Sports Rehabilitation

The Role of Pilates in Sports Rehabilitation


Pilates was developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates to help rehabilitate soldiers during World War 1. Pilates focuses on centering, control, precision, breathing and flow. It is now used by many athletes as a form of cross training and sports rehabilitation.

One of the main focuses of Pilates is on strengthening the core. Our core muscles are considered the “centre” of our body and include our deep abdominal muscles and muscles which attach directly onto the spine. Athletes with good core strength are thought to have better dynamic (neuromuscular) control of their movement and are therefore less likely to sustain injuries.

All exercises in Pilates are performed with optimal spinal and pelvic alignment. This is vital in improving movement patterns when running/playing sport, which in turn helps avoid injury. An improved body awareness and ability to perform a good movement sequence, also greatly facilitates recovery from injury. No matter what sport you participate in, Pilates can help simultaneously increase your power and minimise your risk of injury.

Many injuries are caused by muscular imbalanced within our bodies. Pilates address and increases awareness of these imbalances and muscular asymmetries by strengthening weak muscles and dampening down overactive muscles. This prevents injury by decreasing the amount of load and stress on unstable structures.

Muscular balance and symmetry is also interrupted after injury. Muscle inhibition, which develops after an injury means other muscles in your body end up compensating and being overworked. If allowed to progress this can then lead to further injuries, on an already strained system.

In summary, the main goals of Pilates are to:

  • Enhance and normalise muscle recruitment
  • Identify faulty movement patterns and work towards efficient movement patterns
  • Enhance segmental spinal stabilisation
  • Improve mobility and stability
  • Improve postural alignment and awareness
  • Restore shoulder and hip movements

There are so many benefits for athletes, both recreational and high-level, not only in helping them come back from injuries stronger and faster, but also in preventing future injuries by continuing with Pilates long after the injury has healed. Pilates also enhances sporting performance by increasing body awareness and improving the way the body moves.

Here at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic, we run a number of pilates classes to cater for beginners, intermediate and advanced levels. If you are interested in booking a free Pilates assessment, contact us here.

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