Pilates and the Elite Athlete -
By Ofie Dates

The Pilates Method is a conditioning program developed and practiced to balance and strengthen the body with flexibility, allowing the structure of the body to move with optimum functionality. This not only applies to the individual client, but also to the elite athlete. The professional athlete is always striving to improve his/hers personal best. The question is, can Pilates improve athletic performance? The answer is most definitely, yes!


It is no secret that many celebrities are turning to Pilates in their training regimes. Professional athletes such as Roger Federer, Dara Torres, Labron James, Tiger Woods, Steve Ballesteros, Jason Kidd, Curt Schilling, Nathalie Coughlin among others use Pilates to enhance their athletic performance and support the rehabilitation and prevention of sports injuries.

Pilates meets several physical performance factors important to the athlete and coach/athletic trainer. Here are ten critical principles that an athlete requires: posture, balance, stabilization, mobility, flexibility, coordination, agility, functional strength, symmetry, and endurance. All of which we can address in a Pilates program designed specifically for the individual athlete.

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Ofie was featured in
Pilates Style Magazine
Ofie was featured in
Pilates Style Newsletter 


Close Up: Handstand
By Ofie Dates
Photos by Rod Foster

In the July/August issue of Pilates Style magazine, Ofie Dates helps you channel your inner athlete—no matter your level—with her secret weapon: the Ladder Barrel. The often-overlooked Barrel, which utilizes gravity rather than springs for resistance, is a super-challenging apparatus that has endless potential to work the body as a whole. Here is one more bonus exercise in the series.


The goal of this exercise is to strengthen the shoulder flexors and back and hip extensors. It also focuses on trunk stabilization and hip extensor control.

Setup: Facing the Barrel, place hands on the bottom rails of the Barrel with the fingers facing outward and the shoulders over the hands. Lower the body over the Barrel with the legs straight, parallel and adducted and the toes pointed.

Begin the move: Inhale, then co-contract the abs and back extensors and lift the lower body from the Barrel. Balance the body vertically over the hands. Exhale, and lower the body to the starting position.

Tip: Allow the chest to touch the Barrel. Keep your head in line with the spine.

Modification: To decrease intensity and prepare for the full version: place hands on the first rung of ladder and lift legs to create a diagonal line with the trunk.


Ofie was featured in
Pilates Style Magazine



Ofie was featured in
Pilates Style Website 


Ofie Dates, owner of Ofie’s Elite Physiques Inc., is a Basi-certified Pilates Educator. Here, she showed readers of the 2011 July/August issue how to do the Adductor Stretch.

Adductor Stretch​

Level: F​undamental

Purpose: Strengthens and stretches the hips, hamstrings and obliques

Setup: Stand with your right side against the ladder, right leg straight and in a parallel position. Place your left leg up on the barrel with your hip externally rotated, keeping your leg as straight as possible, toes pointed. Keeping your shoulder down, extend your right arm toward the ceiling in line with your ear, fingertips together. Place your left hand on the top rung of the ladder in front of your body.

1. Inhale to prepare, lengthening your spine.

2. Exhale, reaching your body over your left leg, stretching your trunk out to your left side and your left arm overhead. Hold this position for three to five breaths.

3. Inhale, reaching out further to the side, then return to the starting position. Switch legs and repeat. Do 1–2 repetitions on each side.

Tips: This stretch is similar to a ballet stretch at the barre. It is most effective when you externally rotate the hip of your stretching leg. Make sure to keep your pelvis level—draw your sitz bones down and square off your hips.

Modification: Bring the stretching leg forward or add an assist such as a block under the standing leg.


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 In this 3 part series, Maria Serrao visits Ofie's Elite Physiques Pilates and Fitness Studio to interview Ofie Dates and check out some of the routines.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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