Pilates no hippy mumbo jumbo for Pompey winger

Andy Barcham   Picture: Joe Pepler
Andy Barcham Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett is unapologetic for the raft of changes he's made at Pompey. Pic: Joe Pepler

Form shows where Pompey’s season of change is going

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GARETH BALE does it, Ryan Giggs does it and now Andy Barcham is doing it.

And the Pompey winger is hoping embracing the world of Pilates will signal an end to any injury worries.

Barcham has an unlikely ally in tackling the exercise regime, too, in the shape of Blues captain Ben Chorley.

Even a decade ago, the suggestion of footballers taking part in a fitness system which focuses on breathing, alignment and controlled movement would have been given short shrift.

It’s exactly the sort of left-field idea players would have laughed off as hippy mumbo jumbo.

But the benefits of Pilates are proven and respected in today’s world of sports science.

Barcham has suffered a well-documented thigh injury which hindered him for much of the second half of last season.

Now he feels that taking up his new exercise could help consign those issues to the past.

Barcham said: ‘We’ve started doing some different things to help me.

‘I’ve taken up Pilates to try to help my body. We’ve only just started but a few of the boys have been on it.

‘Hopefully it is something which will benefit me for the rest of the season.

‘Hopefully I can improve, get better at it and my muscles feel the benefit of it.

‘We’ve been looking to do it for a while, Ben Chorley is into it and goes back home to do it.

‘There are a number of players who do it and we’re lucky enough to have that option here now.

‘People would have laughed at the mention of it a few years ago.

‘But there is a different side to the game now. People like Ryan Giggs have changed perceptions about Pilates and yoga.

‘It’s been slowly filtering in.

‘Quite a few of the boys have been on it before, so, as soon as we heard about it we knew it would benefit us.

‘Louis Langdown (exercise and conditioning coach) and Duggo the physio (Sean Duggan) said it would definitely benefit me.

‘I’m looking forward to see the benefits of it. We’re doing the work in the gym and sometimes you have to cater for people’s needs.

‘With there being a sharpness and explosiveness in my game I’m hoping this will help me.’

Taking up Pilates clearly was a step into the unknown for Barcham.

He admitted to being shocked at the physical requirements needed to do it properly.

And the 27-year-old is happy to admit he is still very much a novice when it comes to the sessions.

Barcham said: ‘I’m quite stiff at the moment and our teacher is having a bit of a giggle at me where she expects to me to balance, stretch and do certain exercises.

‘I’ve just started so I’m a bit rubbish at the moment! It’s really difficult!

‘The first day we went there it was a real eye-opener.

‘They were stretching and making your muscles flexible.

‘There’s core and strength involved.

‘It’s all the aspects you need in the modern game. Hopefully we are going to feel the benefit of that.’