A common misconception/tale is that Pilates is only for woman. I’m constantly hearing from my male friends in or around the studio, “Isn’t Pilates mostly women?” or “Pilates is just like Yoga right?” I’m here to break that rumor and tell you why Pilates is great for everyone, especially our MEN.
This “more women” centric notion came when Joseph Pilates companion, who was a dancer, took the methodology and opened a fitness/dance studio. It became widely popular within the dance community and then later in the 80’s, it became more of workout, with influential trainers like Mari Winsor. She took the practice and mass appealed it. As it continued to gain popularity, more and more studios were making “hybrid” workouts out of Pilates exercises. For instance, Piloxing: Pilates & Boxing or Pilates Plus’, Lagree Method, which made Pilates into more of a weight training workout.
As a Pilates instructor, I have a large male client base. I don’t know if that’s because my style of Pilates is more “cardio” based or because they gravitate toward my studio vibe which is private & exclusive. No matter what the circumstances are, I can tell you Pilates is recommended for ALL men! I researched a ton of articles about this very topic and they covered a lot of material, but from an instructor standpoint, I’m going to tell you why I think they should.
5 reasons why men should put their egos aside and try Pilates:
- FLEXIBILITY! Men by nature, are not the most flexible waist down. They tend to struggle daily with overly tightened hamstrings, hip flexors, and abductors. A lot of this comes from having weaker glutes. I tend to focus my training on loosening and strengthening these areas, so men can perform other activities to the best of their ability without fear of injury. Tight muscles = more prone to injury.
- FORM: Traditionally, we tend to speed up movements if there isn’t a high emphasis on form. Pilates forces you slow down the movements, which in turn become more demanding on your muscles. I always tell my clients, “Slow and steady wins the Pilates race,” because 9 times out of 10, if you’re speeding through the movement, you’re doing incorrectly.
- BALANCE: Unfortunately, our balance starts declining at the age of 30! If your core is not strong and your body lacks flexibility, then you can throw balance out the window too; that’s exactly where it comes from: our CORE & FEET. Pilates elongates & strengthens muscle from head to toe, making your muscles balanced from one side of the body to the other.
- POSTURE: Pilates gets you to think about your posture, not only inside the gym/studio but also outside. In a very short time, clients start becoming aware of their posture and due to more upper body strength, men often times will have internally rotated shoulders. I encourage my clients to, “make sure your shoulders are back and chest open.”
- ABS: All guys want a six pack and are genetically more likely to achieve one than our ladies. More and more sports teams are turning to Pilates because of its “core”/abdominal benefits. Every movement should derive from what Mr. Pilates called our “Powerhouse.” Whether you’re lifting heavy boxes, reaching for a glass on the top shelf, or throwing a football. A strong core can help propel ANY movement better without strain on the body!
More than anything, men typically want to know the “why behind the what” they’re doing. So once you get your DUDES in the door, try and make more efficient, effective and tailored workouts to fully engage their needs–Tell them what to do vs. over explaining, (which we Pilates instructors can be guilty of). Once you get them moving & sweating, you’ll untimely keep them coming through your door!
Ashlee will be back in the Fall with some fantastic fall tips, workout flow suggestions, but in the meantime, check out her This Is LA segment shot at Pilates With Ashlee here:
If you’re in the LA area, do yourself a favor and go visit her studio and go see what the hype’s all about!