“My training philosophy is to get the midline in shape and then make the circle a little larger and a little larger around the body,” says Garrett Giemont, strength and conditioning coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “When you look at that philosophy and then at Pilates, a trainer can see that it is a great adjunct to what he or she is trying to accomplish from an overall conditioning standpoint.”
One Buccaneer who has seen a difference is punter Josh Bidwell. Bidwell began doing Pilates mat exercises during the 2004 season and statistically had his best overall season. This year he began working on a reformer. “As a punter I put tremendous pressure on my hamstrings, my lower back and my glutes,” says Bidwell. I'm not the most flexible person but Pilates has defiantly lengthened my muscles and increased my agility. I can really feel it in the way I move.” Bidwell had also been bothered by periodic, painful flare-ups in his lower back. But since he started Pilates that trouble has disappeared. “It is completely gone,” says Bidwell.
As costs of amateur and professional sports continue escalating, keeping an athlete on the field and off the injured list becomes paramount. Trainers who implement Pilates as a component to their conditioning programs will see increased results in flexibility, durability and strength.
Says Giemont: “When you take an athlete with a tremendous skill level and then give them the tools of length, strength and balance on a continual basis, it elevates their performance to an entirely new level.”