Q & A with Anthony Lett and Jennifer Pearlstein

by Anthony Lett

BASI Pilates Director of Advanced Education, Anthony Lett interviewed BASI senior faculty member, Jennifer Pearlstein about her upcoming workshop, Enhancing Athletic Performance. Check it out!

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ANTHONY: Thanks for giving your time up for us Jen. First, what are some of the topics you cover in your upcoming workshop Enhancing Athletic Performance?

JENNIFER: The topics covered, are how Pilates can be a great form of cross training for athletes, we discuss muscle imbalances, and how to choose exercises that are appropriate for that particular sport.

ANTHONY: How do you think Pilates can assist with sports performance?

JENNIFER: Pilates brings a balance to the athlete, both physically and mentally. It helps prevent overuse injuries and increases core strength. It helps develop body awareness, breath and focus.

ANTHONY: Do you look at injury prevention in the workshop, for example, exercises that counter the types of muscle imbalances that occur in sports people’s bodies, or is it focused more on particular exercises that may enhance performance? Can you give us a few examples?

JENNIFER: We discuss the common injures that occur to a variety of sports, for instance football players tend to get groin stains. So we discuss Pilates movements that will help prevent that.

ANTHONY: The issue of transference is a big one for any off field training program. By that I mean, how do the exercises performed in the Pilates studio, or weight room, etc. transfer to the sporting environment? Do you have some thoughts on this issue?

JENNIFER: We choose a lot of functional exercises that will transfer to their activity. For example rotation exercises for the golfer, improving their flexibility and strength in that range if motion to improve their drive.

ANTHONY: Psychologically, how about the type of mindful engagement that is experienced in the Pilates studio. Do you think that may transfer to any benefits on the sporting field, like improved focus?

JENNIFER: I do.  The Pilates studio environment gives the athlete time for inner exploration, mental focus, breath awareness. And I think that the deeper control and concentration improves their overall activity.

ANTHONY: Related to this is the question of embodiment. As an ex-athlete, one of the things I loved about Pilates when I started was the different relationship that one develops within the body. In my experience as an athlete, the body was viewed as a machine that could be subjected to all kinds of abuse for the sake of the sporting outcome, irrespective of the damage that one might be doing to oneself in future. In Pilates, there was a view of working with one’s body, that it was you, not some machine to be thrashed around. Have you noticed any shift in perspective in athletes that you’ve worked with?

JENNIFER: There has definitely been an improvement in the way they observe their bodies.

ANTHONY: Is the course for Pilates teachers of any background?

JENNIFER: The course is good for Pilates teachers of any background.

ANTHONY: Do participants need to learn new exercises, or just new ways of thinking and applying current repertoire, or both?

JENNIFER: Participants will learn both.  Some exercises will be familiar, and some will be new. We will definitely learn to think about the exercises differently and how we decide to choose which exercise are most beneficial for our athletes program.

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Find out more info about Jennifer Pearlstein and her upcoming Enhancing Athletic Performance workshop!

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