As we all know, the benefits of Pilates classes are wide-ranging. But did you know that many of the world-class Olympian athletes from last year’s games are Pilates devotees? A Pilates practice can significantly enhance your performance in all other sports and physical activities. Everyone from dancers, Yogis and gymnasts to football, basketball and baseball players choose this form of flexibility training as an integral part of their regular exercise regimen, whether doing floor work, mat classes or reformer workouts.

These 5 athletes are just a few of the Olympians who take Pilates classes consistently.

1. Lolo Jones, who specializes in the 60 and 100 meter hurdles, uses Pilates to strengthen her muscles and help maintain flexibility. Since her sport is so much about focus and concentration, the Pilates principles make this the ideal training regimen for her. Pilates is also a very rehabilitative form of movement, which helps reduce the toll all the running and hurdles take on her body.

2. Kerri Walsh, winner of the gold medal in Womens Volleyball, does reformer workouts consistently, which helps her expand her long reaches for the ball and keeps her flexible for those times when she has to dive.

3. Gold medalist Misty May Treanor, Kerri’s volleyball partner, incorporated Pilates workouts after giving birth to get back in pre-pregnancy shape. Those killer abs and the gold medal hanging round her neck clearly make her Pilates practice well worth the effort.

4. David Boudia, Bronze medalist in Synchronized 10m Platform Diving, also maintains a regular Pilates practice. A former gymnast, Boudia knows the importance of increasing flexibility to help boost performance and prevent injuries.

5. Dana Vollmer is a gold medalist in the 100m Butterfly, and also holds the World Record. She uses Pilates to hone her focus and precision, while strengthening those muscle groups we often overlook.

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