Pilates – not just for girls
‘Pilates is for women.’
‘I won’t get enough of a workout.’
‘It’s a bit girly.’
These are just some of the responses I get when I talk to men about Pilates but after an hour on the mat they usually change their mind. While it’s true that the majority of Pilates enthusiasts are women, men are finally wising up to the benefits of this amazing exercise method.
Here are just a few of the reasons why men should do Pilates.
That’s right everyone, Pilates was invented by a man.
Joseph Pilates was a sickly child who suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. Determined to overcome his ill health, he embarked on a fitness regime that included bodybuilding, yoga, gymnastics and even circus performing. As if that wasn’t enough, he was also a talented boxer, skier and diver.
Drawing on his vast knowledge, Joe created a unique exercise method that he initially used to help rehabilitate injured soldiers during the First World War. It was only later, when he moved to New York and opened his studio, that he began to work with dancers.
He was very partial to cigars and whisky too. Nothing girly about that!
2. Increased flexibility
Men are physiologically more prone to tightness than women, especially around the hips, lower back and hamstrings. Add to this hours spent sitting a desk and you have a recipe for poor posture and chronic back pain. Even those who already following an exercise regime may inadvertently exacerbate the problem by focusing on building muscle mass at the expense of flexibility.
Pilates exercises have both a strength and stretch component. The method’s dynamic movements lengthen tight muscles and improve range of motion.
3. Core strength
Pilates’ focus on core strength and stability has benefits both in terms of athletic performance and everyday life. Not only will you improve your posture and reduce the risk of injury, a stronger core means you can perform more effectively in your chosen sport or activity. What’s more, Pilates will improve definition in your abs and help to carve out that six pack.
4. Injury prevention
Pilates exercises stretch what’s tight, strengthen what’s weak and train your body to use the right muscles for the right job. By creating improved alignment, awareness and control you will drastically reduce the risk of injuries.
5. Improved sports performance
If you’re a keen sportsman then follow the example of professional athletes such as Andy Murray and Gareth Bale. Pilates has huge benefits whether you’re into team or individual sport. These include better co-ordination and balance, an ability to generate more power and increased mental focus. Specific exercises help develop the muscles and movement patterns you need for improved performance.