Professional athletes often challenge the status quo, signing up for any activity that will take their game to the next level. Several years ago, we learned that professional football players were attending ballet classes to improve their game. While the world today is a little more flexible than it was when footballers were beginning to learn first and second position, some men are still squeamish about entering women-dominated domains.

Pilates is for everybody. It was created by a man and initially used to rehabilitate soldiers who’d been hurt in the line of duty. However, as with other fitness regimens that don’t involve throwing iron around, the misconception is that men don’t necessarily fit in Pilates studios. Well men, it’s time for a revolution.

In case you need further convincing that Pilates is a challenging, well-rounded place to enhance your fitness using variety and engaging the mind, read on to learn how the practice has improved the game of three NFL athletes.

·      Tom Brady—Quarterback for the New England Patriots

Why he does Pilates: According to his former instructor, Tom Brady uses Pilates to improve his footwork and to strengthen his lower body. The variety of the Reformer was a draw for him, too.

Why you should, too: You’re probably not going to need footwork like Tom Brady in your everyday life, but agility is important, no matter what your daily routine consists of. If you spend time playing any recreational sports, footwork is important. If you hike on rocky terrains, footwork is important. If you run around chasing your kids or step on and off of curbs throughout the day, footwork is important. Pilates helps develop the agility and body awareness that help maneuver your body from position to position, effortlessly. The difference between a challenging hike on uneven ground and a disastrous hike on uneven ground is your ability to remain upright, no matter what uncertainties try to trip you up.

Martellus Bennett, Tight End for the Green Bay Packers


Why he does Pilates: According to, “To counteract the joint compression caused by weightlifting, I go straight from weights to Pilates as often as possible. [It] helps me work on rebalancing and activating my muscles…supporting muscles that hold up the bigger ones.” His instructor added that Pilates helps him change directions on the field, since his regimen has brought a major increase of flexibility to his hip flexors.

Why you should, too: The weight room is important, and no one’s asking you to lighten your load in there, but just know that Pilates can provide balance to your efforts under the weight bar. “Little muscles” are often ignored in the weight room, as the exercises that target these muscle groups aren’t as well-known and celebrated as the bench press, curls, and squats. However, little muscles provide support and stability for the big ones, help keep you free from injury, and make the big muscles look better. That’s something we can all get behind.

 Antonio Brown, Wide Receiver & Punt Returner for the Pittsburgh Steelers


Why he does Pilates: Brown’s time in the Pilates studio is geared towards core strength and explosion, which means lots of work for the hips and glutes. According to, he commented, “It’s not like weight training…it’s all about control and body position, which receivers like myself need the most.”

Why you should, too: The muscles on both sides of the body need to be balanced. It’s no good to have one side overpowering the other. Pilates provides thorough corrective work that will make sure your muscles are parallel as possible. Core strength, control of the body and breath, and body awareness are the foundations on which anyone can develop true strength from within. When these three elements are established and developed, the leaps and bounds in gains, lower recovery time between sets and workouts, and mental stimulation will speak for themselves.

So fellas, are you ready to claim your position in the Pilates studio? No more hesitation. Once you get into your first session, you’ll realize that you’re truly at home.  

Jessica Notman