If you think Pilates is only for women or that somehow, it’s not a ‘proper workout’, think again! We’re about to bust those views and tell you, or the men in your life, why you need to feature a regular Pilates session into a weekly workout schedule!
- Improve flexibility: In general, men in good shape have more muscle mass than women who are also in good physical state. Unfortunately, more muscle overall often means tighter muscles with less flexibility – not a good combination especially if you train for a particular sport. Pilates, and it specific, slow exercises and techniques, is an excellent and time-efficient way to stretch with dynamic movements. A crucial point here is that Pilates increases the range of motion of certain areas of the body over time – something to bear in mind if you’re training towards goals in sports like running or swimming. Lastly, people often think flexibility refers just to our muscles and joints, but the spine as a whole desperately needs it too, to support the body well. After all, it works hard, moving forward, back, to each side and rotating, all day long.
- Core and pelvic floor power: We don’t often argue, but we would argue with anyone who says there is a more comprehensive way to work the full range of abdominal areas (including the transverse, pelvic floor, oblique) than Pilates! Mat Pilates is great for a core and pelvic floor workout, but equipment like the Cadillac and Reformer works these areas in a range of motions to challenge further than a mat class. A strong core helps power every part of a strong body. And for men, we wrote last month about the importance of a strong pelvic floor to prevent urinary weakness or post prostate surgery.
- Strength in the right places: We’ve spoken before about how in our everyday lives, the big mover muscles can take over and do all the work, leaving all the little stabiliser muscles underused and weak. This is a recipe for muscle and joint aches as well as injury. A big part of Pilates, and our focus, is on waking up the smaller muscles and working them with the bigger ones by moving slooowly and consciously in certain ways that weights, CV activity or other sports (except yoga) simply can’t.
- Posture and awareness: We can honestly say that once a client has attended Pilates classes for a few months, their posture improves outside the classes in a very unconscious way. The muscle memory and awareness that they’ve built up while practicing the exercises slowly – which helps correct poor form and makes each movement more challenging – filters through to everyday life and also when fitness training. Better posture overall will also make you look taller, leaner and broader.
- Injuries and pain: See 1-4 above! But seriously, for all these reasons, Pilates genuinely helps to prevent, minimise and repair injuries. It’s why doctors, physios, osteopaths and chiropractors refer their patients to Pilates for rehabilitation from accident or from participating in sports more than anything else.
According to research published this month by PhD Nutrition, only one in five men has tried yoga or Pilates in the UK. We think that’s too low and we hope this article gives you plenty of good reasons to come along to one of our classes in Farnham and Hampton Wick.