Pilates is more likely to be associated with performing arts than martial ones, but the popular exercise method owes almost as much to its founder’s background in combat sports as it does to his association with the New York theater scene in the 1930s. As a child, Joseph Pilates took lessons in jiu-jitsu and boxing, both of which helped to influence his interest in physical fitness. In addition to his famous work with dancers, Pilates also trained boxers as he began to develop the unique set of exercises that would come to bear his name.
The connection between martial arts and Pilates doesn’t end with these origins, either. The method has evolved into an excellent form of cross-training for any martial arts discipline thanks to its emphasis on developing a solid mind/body connection, precise movements, good posture, and a strong core. Here are five examples of Pilates exercises that can benefit the martial artist who is interested in preventing injuries and improving their fitness and performance.