Pro Athletes Who Use Pilates To Improve Performance

Professional athletes have long used Pilates to improve performance. In fact, Joseph Pilates himself was an avid boxer and gymnast.

Pilates improves alignment and teaches you to move and power from the core, which improves strength and efficiency.

It also improves flexibility, and balances all muscles in the body, which aids in longevity and injury prevention. The mind body aspect helps with focus, mental calm, and concentration.

(Read: 10 Reasons Athletes Should Do Pilates)

Here are some top pro athletes who have improved their game with Pilates:

1. Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta, known for being the leagues best pitcher, credits his career success and turnaround on his Pilates practice.

"What I noticed from Pilates ... was that I have much better control of my body,” Arrieta says. “I repeat my delivery consistently. My balance is much improved. And the mental and physical toughness Pilates requires to complete movements the correct way have directly helped me on the mound... I think it’s only a matter of time before you see a reformer in every big league clubhouse.” (Sports Illustrated)

2. Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, known for his amazing footwork, honed his skills with Pilates.

"Even more remarkable than his dynamic play this season is the fact that Brown doesn't lift weights in the off-season. Instead, he incorporates Pilates workouts into his training. They have enhanced his core strength, developed explosive power in his hips and glutes and created muscle balance through strengthening and alignment." (Stack)

Brown noted that his Pilates practice helped him know "how to get my feet where [I want] to go." (Why These Seven NFL Receivers Do Pilates)

3. Soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, the force behind Real Madrid's surge to a third consecutive Champions League final, has found the fountain of youth in Pilates.

"Despite his 33 years Cristiano Ronaldo is still ending the marathon season with a sprint finish, heading into his sixth Champions League final in great form and a phenomenal physical shape that belies his age and astounds both fans and rivals.

He insisted this week that he actually has a 'biological age' of 23, and claimed 'I can keep playing until I'm 41'." (Daily Mail: The secrets that make Cristiano Ronaldo a physical phenomenon)

4. Top Ironman Kendrick Louis says pilates helped him go from No.5 to No.1 in the ironman series.

"But at first I didn’t think pilates was for blokes. I started doing a bit more research and I noticed a lot of top-level athletes like LeBron James and Cristiano Ronaldo lived by pilates... It is one of those things that you don’t know how good it is until you actually do it,” he said. (How pilates has helped Manly-based Ironman Kendrick Louis go from No.5 to No.1)

5. Miami Heat NBA player Dwayne Wade was turned onto Pilates by then teammate Lebron James, a longtime Pilates devotee.

"I really felt the Pilates loosen up my muscles," said Wade.

The attention to stretching has paid off during the season.

"I recall making a move, and the basketball ended up on my foot and I almost did a split on the ball. Normally, that's a groin pull, but I bounced back." (Pilates a key workout for Miami basketball star Dwayne Wade)

6. Tennis player Andy Murray, Wimbledon champion in 2013 and 2016, has long turned to Pilates for stability and injury rehabilitation.

Pilates has been an important part of his routine since he experienced back problems in the run up to his 2013 back surgery.