The philosophy of Pilates being used by fitness trainers of professional athletes.

Main article by:  Alex Gheciu “Fit Tips” Chill Magazine, Dec 2012

I picked up the “Chill” magazine this weekend and low and behold the Fit Tips section discusses functional fitness that works on developing movement over strength – something I have been focused on for over a decade.  The emphasis of this type of training works the body from the inside out versus working the exterior muscles with a lot of weight.  Here is a brief synopsis of the article.

A triad a ‘elite’ fitness gurus; Sylvestor Walters of Evolution Extreme Fitness, former Toronto Raptors Doug Christie and Washington State track champ and professional trainer Tim Manson, claim to have developed a movement based training method which has upped the games of top-shelf athletes from the NBA to A-level soccer players.  While many guys are obsessed with pumping iron, looking like Arnold won’t won’t help you with athleticism.

“Bodybuilders are the worst athletes in the world.” says Tim Manson.  They train from the outside out for aesthetics.  You need to train naturally from the inside out and learn how to move.   Movement training made popular by this trio has boosted the the performances of pro athletes by training them to move efficiently while avoiding injury.  Based on the belief that size isn’t strength, the philosophy is a call to drop the weights and use your brain.   Add the weight after you learn to move!

They do not use bench press machines at their facilities, as you need to control your body first – moving in a way that controls the forces your body generates.  This is done by having proper co-ordination between the muscles.  You must find a way to get the most out of every movement without expending too much energy.  Once you do, you’ll have boundless flexibility, mobility and balance, as well as, the ability to leverage your strength during different movement patterns.

“You don’t just jump with your ankles; you jump with your whole body.” Christie explains.  The whole body is trained to take advantage of the greater strength in your quads, calves, hips, lower back and propel yourself with your arms.  Your body doesn’t identify individual muscles but the entire kinetic chain.

This group of fitness trainers believe athletic excellence can be achieved by synchronizing “mind, body and sport.”  They add that many athletes are not harnessing their full potential because they don’t truly understand the fundamentals of movement.  Mastering those fundamentals, according to Walters et al., is a seven- stage journey consisting of stabilization, mobility, strength, power, energy system development, rest restoration and recovery and mental training.

I truly appreciate this trio’s emphasis and the way they are presenting fitness training being more than a bunch of exercises, but a step-by-step process that works on developing the functional fitness of the entire body.  Great work which is ideally what the Pilates method is all about.  I thank you for communicating the message and bringing it to the realm of male professional sport.  I look forward to following your posts.


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