Think Pilates training and practice is purely for ladies? Think again…
Just to kick off this article it should be stated that the Pilates method was actually developed by a man, Joseph Pilates, as a new approach to exercise and body conditioning. More so, over the last half a century many male instructors have revolutionized and mastered the Pilates method. Yet why is this still falsely considered a practice for women more so than men?
It could indeed be attributed to the surge of interest over the years by women, as a low-impact means of exercising. This coupled with the fact that Pilates focuses more on posture, body control and breathing may very well have built up the connotation that there simply isn’t enough ‘challenge’ or physical exertion for it to have any benefits for their male counterparts. Yet on the contrary, Pilates is in fact a holistically beneficial source of overall body conditioning, for men just as much as women.
There may be nothing specifically different for men’s Pilates training, but would you believe if it’s increased performance your looking for, incorporating Pilates into your routine can in fact be highly beneficial:
It improves flexibility, core strength & balance
An attribute of exercise most men would admit is relevant to them. In terms of flexibility, many men find their muscles to be tighter than women’s. When exercising and developing one’s core strength right from the deep central muscles, those areas can be effectively stretched out. This will in turn improve natural stability and functional fitness, an added benefit for cross training with any other sport you may be involved in.
It independently stabilizes joints
The joints within our bodies, male or female, were made to withstand certain stresses and pressures. When exceeded, these pressures then tend to result in short term and even long term injury. As mentioned in the previous point, because Pilates emphasizes the need to develop one’s stability, along with isolated joint strengths, this results in improved joint mobility and overall health.
Increases overall body control
This point has to be coupled with physiological awareness. Pilates has the fascinating ability to make us incredibly aware of where and how our body is positioned. This is so much so that Pilates even calls for a focus on more than one specific body region at a time. While this proves to be a most challenging task for many, it is an essential element in maintaining good balance, and in safely performing complex movements. A technique only improved with practice and increased strength.
With all of this newfound control and strength, a notable outcome is fewer injuries. You will understand your body and its limits so much more, and through deep muscle training you will even be able to expand those limitations, giving you an increased range of motion and more confidence in your active performance.
It focuses your mind
Many successful men will attest to the direct link between their ability to conquer a challenge, and the importance of having a focused mind. Pilates calls for such a high level of concentration in our muscles and movements that there is little room for much else. Micro-adjustments and subtle core attention are an art of practice. With time this sense of focused dedication is certainly able to seep into other areas of ones life, creating not only a fitter body, but also an optimal mindset.