useful for men? I've always felt a certain reserve about that question.
After all, why wouldn't it be? Pilates was started by a man, Joseph Pilates;
it's been a training vehicle for elite athletes, both men and women,
for over 50 years; and men have figured prominently as instructors and
promoters of the Pilates method throughout its history. Though men have always been part of the Pilates scene, the surge of
popularity that Pilates has enjoyed in recent years has been powered to a
large extent by a wave of women participants and instructors, leaving
some with the impression that the Pilates method is more for women. This
is an unfortunate side-effect of an otherwise positive development.
Fortunately, it is quickly dissolving. Pilates is one of the fastest
growing fitness trends in the world, and men are definitely taking advantage of Pilates many benefits.
Why Pilates Works Well for Men
flexibility, balance, uniform development, and efficient movement
patterns - all are hallmarks of Pilates training and highly relevant to
mens fitness. The integrative component of Pilates can be especially
beneficial for men, whose workouts often emphasize a part-by-part
approach to muscular development, such as what what finds in
Pilates, by contrast, emphasizes moving from the center of the body, the powerhouse,
and developing core strength in the deep muscles of the center to
stabilize the trunk and protect the back. This kind of core training
makes Pilates an excellent technique for whole-body fitness, as well as a
foundation for cross training with other kinds of sports and exercise.Increasing flexibility is a goal that Pilates addresses in a way that men often feel comfortable with. Pilates works towardfunctional fitness.
That is, the ability to have the strength, balance, and flexibility
that allows one to move through daily-life tasks with grace and ease. To
this end, Pilates exercises do seek to increase flexibility and range
of motion, but one won't find the kind of pretzel stretches in Pilates
that one might find in gymnastics or yoga.
3 Tips for Men Who Are New to Pilates
#1. If you start learning Pilates by taking classes, the best way to go, you
might find that women outnumber men by quite a bit. As I said, that
demographic is changing, and there are many men in Pilates, but for now,
you'll probably have to deal with being the minority gender, so be
#2. There is nothing specifically different about Pilates training for men,
especially in the beginning. The Pilates method is the same for all.
Developed on a man's body, and taught with input from both men and
women, Pilates is founded on healthy movement principles for the human
body in general. Men might find that their muscles are a little tighter
than women's, especially in the hips and hamstrings, but exercises can
be easily modified to allow those areas to stretch out gradually. Modification of exercises is commonplace in Pilates, allowing it to meet a variety of needs in practitioners. Read: How to Modify Exercises
#3. Pilates is a body/mind practice where part of the exercise is to bring
one's full care and attention to every movement. Similarly, exacting
alignment, and core training that goes beyond the superficial muscles,
require more subtle attention and micro-adjustments than some men are
used to finding in an exercise class. There is none of the "just power
through" kind of attitude that men might be used to from gyms. This
often becomes most apparent when working with the Pilates equipment,
which, though it is resistance equipment, is not intended to be
overpowered. In fact, sometimes the lightest setting on a piece of
equipment, such as the reformer,
is the most challenging for the core muscles. In Pilates, controlled,
well-aligned movement is the ticket to a deeper level of fitness.