We all know there are many benefits to exercising. It gives us more energy, it’s great for our health, and it’s key in maintaining a healthy weight.
When we think of exercise we often think of all-out, high intensity running, cycling or sports and aerobics. But it might surprise you to learn that one of the most effective ways to safely condition your body is by practicing Pilates.
There is a huge misconception that Pilates is a ‘feminine’ style of workout, this couldn’t be further from the truth!
Real. Men. Do. Pilates.
But who are these “real men” I hear you say? Well to name a few; Tennis World #1 – Andy Murray
2016 World Rugby Player of the Year – Beauden Barrett,
Cowboys/Maroons/Australian Rugby League legend – Jonathan Thurston
3x World Surfing Champion and Great White puncher – Mick Fanning
And the list goes on… seriously; Tiger Woods, Lebron James, Eamon Sullivan… Hopefully that’s got your attention gents.
Joseph Pilates was also a Real Man! A beer drinking, cigar smoking, gun totting, boxer who lived to be 84. Pilates developed his method during the First World War by ripping the springs off hospital beds and turning them into exercise equipment for injured soldiers to use as rehab. It doesn’t get any manlier than that!
So why the perception that Pilates is ‘feminine’? Well even though men have always been part of the Pilates scene, the initial surge in popularity was through the female dominated dance and performance fraternity who were quickest to realise its benefits. This then powered a wave of women participants and instructors, which over time leads us to today where classes are female-dominated and leaving some with the impression that the Pilates method is more for women. This is gradually changing however and men are definitely taking advantage of Pilates’ many benefits.
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.
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 too 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.
So, guys, come and try out a pilates class or a session on the pilates equipment soon, you might be pleasantly surprised.