Pilates for Enhanced Strength Training

In the evolving world of sports science, the pursuit of optimal training methods continues to drive research and innovation. One such exploration is the integration of Pilates into athletic training programs, renowned for its focus on core strength and muscular endurance. This article delves into a groundbreaking study that investigates how an eight-week Mat Pilates protocol could significantly enhance the physical performance and core muscle activation of young volleyball players. By bridging the gap between traditional strength training and the nuanced control offered by Pilates, this research offers new insights into how targeted exercise regimens can boost sports performance and overall athlete resilience.

The Study

The study titled “Pilates increases resistance performance in young volleyball players,” published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies (2024), aimed to explore the impact of an eight-week Mat Pilates protocol on core muscle activation and performance in young volleyball players. Sixteen athletes participated, undergoing assessments through electromyography (EMG) and sport-specific endurance tests both before and after the Pilates regimen.

The Results

The results were compelling, showing a significant increase in the athletes’ performance on the sport-specific endurance plank test (SEPT). Interestingly, there were notable reductions in the EMG activities of the external oblique (EO) and erector spinae (ES) muscles, suggesting enhanced muscular efficiency post-Pilates training. The findings indicate a moderate to weak correlation between the improved SEPT performance and decreased muscle activation, particularly in the EO and ES muscles.

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The Biomechanics

Pilates emphasises the control and stabilisation of core muscles, which are pivotal in maintaining proper alignment and transferring force during athletic movements. By strengthening these muscles through isometric contractions, Pilates can enhance the body’s ability to support heavier loads during strength training. Improved core stability allows for better force application in various movements, reducing the risk of injury and increasing overall strength capabilities.


Fitness professionals can leverage these insights by incorporating Pilates into strength training regimens, particularly for athletes needing enhanced core stability and efficiency. By using Pilates exercises that target core stabilisation, trainers can help athletes develop a more robust muscular foundation, potentially improving performance and reducing injury risks in strength-intensive sports.

Identifying Clients

Clients likely to benefit from Pilates include those with weak core strength, those recovering from injury, or athletes who engage in sports requiring high levels of stability and core strength. Fitness professionals can assess a client’s core strength and stability through specific tests like the SEPT to determine if incorporating Pilates could be beneficial.

The study clearly demonstrates the positive effects of Pilates on core muscle activation and overall athletic performance. By integrating Pilates into their training programs, fitness professionals can help their clients achieve a higher level of physical fitness and performance, tapping into the biomechanical benefits that this method offers.


Karolyne Stéfanie Sousa Barbosa, Lara Andrade Souza, Hugo Vinícius de Oliveira Silva, Antônio Ribeiro Neto, Vinícius Jordão Silva, Daniel Ferreira Moreira Lobato, Dernival Bertoncello. “Pilates increases resistance performance in young volleyball players,” Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, Volume 40, 2024, Pages 224-229, ISSN 1360-8592, Click here to review the full research article.

Teach Pilates for Improved Strength Training

Elevate your career as a Pilates instructor with our comprehensive Level 3 Diploma course at TRAINFITNESS. Recent research underscores the significant benefits of Pilates in enhancing core strength and athletic performance. By mastering the techniques taught in our course, you can empower athletes to reach their peak performance levels through improved core stability and muscular endurance. This knowledge not only broadens your skill set but also enriches the training programs you can offer, making you a pivotal asset in any athletic training regime. Enrol today and transform your understanding of fitness and wellbeing through the art of Pilates.

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