By Nike Training
Find out how Sue Bird uses Pilates to strengthen her core, improve her posture and improve her game with these three Pilates moves. Developed for Bird with her trainer, Susan King Borchardt, they've broken each move down for you step by step, so you can step up your performance.
You're not named one of the WNBA's 20 greatest basketball players of all time without having your strength-and-conditioning routine dialled in. Seattle Storm point guard Sue Bird—arguably the greatest WNBA player of all time—knows this fact well, and credits her overall fitness to a training secret weapon: Pilates.
Her practice allows her to better activate her core muscles, focus on her breath work and posture, and build body awareness and strength, according to Bird's trainer Susan King Borchardt. "Pilates is an important, complementary piece of Sue's training puzzle", says Borchardt, who is also a sports performance consultant for the Storm. "It's not just a one-off activity for her—she believes that the magic happens with consistency".
"It's not just a one-off activity—magic happens with consistency".
Susan King Borchardt, Sue Bird's Trainer
That consistency means doing a little bit of Pilates every day. Since recovering from three major knee surgeries in the last two years, the 39-year-old has used the gentle strengthening movements for everything from warming up for a workout to winding down before bed. "I try to do some form of Pilates every night", Bird says. "I have really found that I feel a million times better the next day".
Below are three of the player's go-to exercises. Try 2 or 3 rounds of 10 reps of each of these movements after a tough workout, a travel day or as a pre-bed routine to help slow your breathing and calm your nervous system for better sleep.
"I try to do some form of Pilates every night; I have really found that I feel a million times better the next day".
Sue Bird, Seattle Storm point guard