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It’s a common misconception that Pilates is only for women. I’m constantly hearing my male friends in or around the studio ask, “Isn’t Pilates mostly women?” or “Pilates is just like Yoga right?” I’m here to dispel that rumor and tell you why Pilates is great for everyone, especially MEN!
This stigma came about when Joseph Pilates wife, who was a dancer, took Joseph’s methodology and opened a fitness/dance studio. It became widely popular within the dance community, and then later in the 80’s it became more of workout, with influential trainers like Mary Winsor. She took the practice and mass-appealed it. As it continued to gain popularity, more and more studios were making “hybrid” workouts out of Pilates exercises. For instance, Piloxing- Pilates & Boxing, or more famous, Pilates Plus- which made Pilates into a weight training workout.
There’s also two main types of Pilates we can categorize: Mat and Reformer Pilates.
Mat Pilates uses just your own body weight adding in props such as resistance rings , bands, weights, stability balls, etc. Reformer Pilates uses Joseph’s apparatus that works on a pulley/resistance method, allowing the muscles to be targeted easier, fatigued quicker, and untimely becoming stronger and leaner.
As a Pilates instructor, I have a large male client base. I don’t know if that’s because my style of Pilates is more “cardio” based or because they gravitate toward my studio vibe. I can tell you Pilates is recommended for ALL men! I researched a ton of articles on this very topic and they covered a lot of material, but from a Master Trainer’s standpoint, I’m going to tell you why I think men need to put their egos aside and meet Pilates.
1. FLEXIBILITY - Men by nature are not the most flexible from the waist down. They tend to struggle daily with overly tightened hamstrings, hip flexors, and abductors. A lot of this comes from having weak glutes. I tend to focus my training on loosening and strengthening these areas, so men can perform other activities to the best of their ability without fear of injury. Tight muscles = more prone to injury.
2. MUSCLE-BUILDING - Traditionally, we tend to speed up movements if there isn’t a high emphasis on form. Pilates forces you slow down the movements, which in turn become more demanding on your muscles. I always tell my clients, “Slow and steady wins the Pilates race,” because 9 times out of 10, if you’re speeding through the movement, you’re doing it incorrectly.
Pilates also focuses on building intrinsic muscle, which are muscles that don’t typically get a lot of attention. By working these smaller muscles you’re building bigger muscles, and ultimately improving your results within any discipline you’re currently practicing.
3. PAIN RELIEF & BALANCE- Balance comes from your feet and core. If your core is not strong and your body lacks flexibility, then you can throw balance out the window too! Daily life pushes us to favor one side of the body naturally. It could be by simply crossing your legs and leaning onto your hip, or your posture. Pilates elongates & strengthens muscle from head to toe, making your muscles balanced from one side of the body to the other. This improved balance throughout the body improves athletic ability, aesthetic appearance, and most importantly, reduces pain!
Pilates is often prescribed for reducing back pain and healing from injuries. The added core strength and overall muscle balance can help you feel better and reduce nagging pain that hinders your daily activities.
Pilates focuses on isometric movements within the four regions of your stomach/abs. Iso meaning small, these small movements make the muscle work harder, therefore strengthening it faster and more effectively.
So why wouldn’t you want to add Pilates to your regimen? These five reasons should be enough to make any man run to their local Pilates studio. Pilates keeps your body, mind and soul younger, and I’ve seen it happen over and over again. The results are unparalleled to any other workout, so what do you think, men, is it time to meet Pilates?