I guess the overuse of this headline (try putting it into google and see what you get) reflects the fact that it is much harder to encourage men to try Pilates for the first time. One of the challenges I face as a Pilates instructor is the idea that Pilates is just for women, that it’s easy and not challenging enough for the male psyche. And this is the perception I love to blow out of the water. Pilates was, after all invented by a man who was incredibly strong, athletic and dedicated his whole life to fitness. If you’re in any doubt as to how manly the exercise regime can be, you only have to look at the picture below of Joseph Pilates himself, taken in the 1940’s when he was already 60 years old.
By any standards, he had a very impressive physique for a man, let alone a 60 year old, and when you take on board that it was solely down to practicing daily Pilates there must be a lot more to it than you think. So what do you get out of it if you are a man?
The men I train all want a powerful core, defined muscles and most of all to feel strong and look good, and Pilates delivers this on all counts. One thing I should add here though is visible muscle definition does depend on weight, and the muscle to fat ratio in the body. If a man is overweight to begin with, and doesn’t adjust his eating/drinking plan along with his exercise regime, he’s never going to look as good as a man with a healthy diet, and that goes for any form of exercise. But every man who attends regular Pilates sessions will see an improvement in core strength, stamina, muscle definition, back strength and better posture- all of which makes a man look and feel better.
The first thing men notice with regular Pilates sessions is a reduction in their waistline- one of my clients who trains three times a week has gone from a 36 to 34 inch waist which he is delighted about. The reason being that in Pilates we work the abdominals continually due to the breathing technique we use, and the use of both isometric and isotonic movements (so a static hold using the abdominals whilst performing a dynamic movement with the arms or legs, or both). Also, the Pilates session is always focussed primarily on correct postural alignment throughout every exercise, therefore whatever you may be doing you will be using your core to stabilise whilst you do it. Simply broken down that means you get an hour of abs every class, no matter what other exercises you are given. So why not try it? Are you man enough?!
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