Why Men Should Do Pilates
Have you ever walked into a Pilates studio and wondered why the class is filled with so many women and so few men?
After all, Pilates was created by a man. I am pretty sure Joseph Pilates never intended for his exercises to be done by women only. Yet since its inception, it appears more women are drawn to Pilates as a form of exercise than men are.
Perhaps the myths surrounding Pilates as being “less macho” than say, a workout at the gym, or an iron pumping CrossFit training session at the fitness centre, have seeped into the psyche of men today.
Men Are From Mars…. Or One Of the Below
It is fair to say most men are generally less flexible than women. I have taught many men in my private and group classes and I usually classify men into three categories:
1. The Athletes – Who want improved core conditioning
2. The Injured – Have had previous injury or surgery
3. The Not-so-Flexible – Who are stiff and have poor posture due to bad movement habits.
Pilates can challenge core strength and core control in a way that usually can't be done at the gym because of the focus on alignment, spinal stability and mobility. The integration of the “powerhouse”, or core, with our limbs is the key to stabilising and strengthening parts of the body during an exercise, depending on what you are targeting.
Many men play rotational sports such as rugby, golf and tennis or endurance sports like cycling, swimming and distance running. Pilates is a fantastic form of movement that helps improve and enhance your performance through athletic conditioning. Working and initiating movement from the torso and allowing your limbs to “follow through” helps to avoid stress on your joints because you learn to project strength from your “powerhouse” instead.
As my teacher used to tell me, “We should be moving our body over our limbs, not our limbs over our body.” This sort of core training provides an excellent form of whole-body fitness and it is perfect for complementing other forms of activities.
Rest assured the demographics of people doing Pilates are changing. More men are turning to Pilates to build strength and to prevent injuries. So for those of you men out there who want a different form of challenge, try giving Pilates a shot. Don’t be afraid to beak down gender barriers and keep an open mind to new mind-body experiences!