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Who takes Pilates?

I love Pilates because…it makes me a strong jiu-jitsu fighter.

“Jiu-jitsu training is intense and hard on the body, and a daily Pilates practice definitely helps me maintain peak performance. Things like inversions decompress my spine, which is important since jiu-jitsu places a lot of stress on the back. Leg springs on the Cadillac stretch my hamstrings and hips after my lower body is shot from playing guard, in which you attack your opponent while lying on your back. 

Because of Pilates, I can train at higher intensities than my partners can since it helps me recover faster and go hard day after day. The flexibility it’s given me is apparent in my jiu-jitsu game, allowing me to twist my legs into crazy positions. These effects make me harder to beat.” 

-Allison Deher, Pilates instructor at Equinox Greenwich Avenue in New York City

I love Pilates because…it rehabbed my NFL body. 

“I had a bunch of injuries and nagging aches when I played for the Tennessee Titans in 2012. Since becoming a group fitness instructor, my workouts have changed completely. Pilates is my bread and butter now.

It has taught me to be more aware of how my body feels. I can tell if my psoas or piriformis is tight, if my iliac is off, or if there are imbalances between my left and right sides that I never would have noticed before. I can feel my muscles and focus on even the little ones that we normally don’t pay much attention. As a result, I’m able to recognize and address my body’s needs so I can stay healthy and pain-free.” 

-Darryl Whiting, former NFL player and current instructor at Equinox locations and PROJECT by Equinox in New York City

I love Pilates because…it made me an Ironman.

“I was introduced to Pilates while prepping for my first Ironman event in 2015. It strengthened my core and corrected my hip misalignment, both of which made me a more efficient swimmer, cyclist, and runner. The practice also made me flexible and more importantly, taught me how to stretch properly. 

I’ve experienced various aches from plantar fasciitis and nerve inflammation over the years. Pilates has helped me recover more quickly than I would have otherwise. The fact that I’ve been able to return to my rigorous training schedule sooner than expected has enabled me to be my best. I truly believe Pilates improves performance in all workouts for multi-sport athletes.” 

-Gappy Tjan, Short Hills, New Jersey

I love Pilates because…it helps me manage multiple sclerosis. 

“In 2007, shortly after my first child was born, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. My symptoms were pretty severe at first, so all exercise came to a halt. The first year was not only physically exhausting as I recovered from pregnancy, dealt with my MS, and returned to work, but also emotionally draining. I had to face the possibility that my everyday mobility could be completely diminished. 

I took my first Pilates class at PROJECT by Equinox last fall with Helen Phelan. I loved the energy of her class and how my body ached afterwards, in a good way. A few months later, I started private sessions with Helen. I’ve never been flexible or coordinated or good at balancing, but Pilates has improved all these measures, made me feel empowered, and boosted my mental clarity. After a session, my stress levels are down and my focus is up, giving me the ability to take on MS.” 

-Mindy Massucci, New York City

I love Pilates because…it trains my body for bodybuilding. 

“Last month I competed in my first bodybuilding competition—and I won my class. I know Pilates had a lot to do with it. When I started working at Equinox, I took advantage of my complementary Pilates session. I was really bad at it. I had glaring weaknesses in my core. My body was literally shaking through the movements, but I like realizing my weaknesses so I can find ways to work on them.

I made Pilates a weekly practice for a year and a half as part of my bodybuilding training, sometimes doing it two or three times if it worked with my schedule. After just a couple of weeks I noticed that I felt much more stable during my lifts, particularly the deadlift and squat. 

The core strength I gained through Pilates really helped me put on lean muscle mass and complete more reps. I can say without a doubt that my core never looked better than it did when I was standing on stage. Pilates is a big part of my training for my next competition.” 

-Dominique Warren, Tier 3+ trainer at Equinox Bryant Park in New York City

I like realizing my weaknesses so I can find ways to work on them.

Dominique Warren

I love Pilates because…it prepares me for big lifts. 

“Pilates helps me get out of my own way. The practice challenges my mind in ways that allow me to tune into my internal dialogue and push past the ‘I want to quit’ moments. It makes me more mentally tenacious, which is crucial for getting the most from every workout. 

Plus, it’s made up of incredible activation-based exercises, many of which fire up the glutes, stabilize the core, and train hip flexion and extension. Pilates has given me an arsenal of moves that prep my body for lifts.”

-Thea Hughes, Brooklyn, New York