The Benefits of Pilates

Swimmer Natalie Coughlin, winner of eleven Olympic medals, credits Pilates as part of the dryland training that has led to her success in the pool. Pilates has, “without a doubt,” improved her performance in the pool, says Coughlin, who began doing Pilates in 2000. “It’s been huge for my training because it’s all about strength with form and flexibility and engaging your core, things that are absolutely crucial when you’re in the water,” she said.

“It’s taught me more about my body and how it’s supposed to work,” she says. While chronic shoulder tension and the accompanying tension headaches are not uncommon among competitive swimmers, Coughlin said, those residual compaints vanished in her body because Pilates “helps me focus on the muscles that need to be working, and relax the muscles that don’t need to work.”