When I first started practicing Pilates for rehabilitation at the age of 17, I was one of only a few men in the studio. It’s great to see this trend has been changing over the last decade with more and more men coming to classes and enjoying the benefits of what Pilates can offer.
The fact is, Pilates was designed to be tried and mastered by everyone, regardless of their gender identity or body type.
I hate to say it, but most men do what they love and not what they need to do. We don’t volunteer for preventative health care or deal with existing problems head on, but in my experience Pilates can help us evolve into our best self.
DEVELOPING YOUR WEAKNESSES
The Pilates system of exercises is known for turning weak saplings into robust yet pliable specimens.
Although some of the exercises may look a bit soft, incorporating the Pilates principles of precision and control make them real gut-busters.
Leading AFL teams now recognise the benefits of Pilates to develop the more subtle aspects of core strength and control that their players were not getting from traditional training protocols.
Most guys didn’t do ballet or gymnastics as a child and in sport, you just need to kick the goal or get the point … it doesn’t need to ‘look good’ like in ballet. This means that we missed out developmentally on exercises and drills that would have developed our fine co-ordination skills.
Pilates exploits these weaknesses, develops your co-ordination and forces you to think about your own alignment and breathing.
It’s these co-ordination patterns that our body desperately needs help integrate functional exercise into daily human movement, reducing pain and improving efficiency.
Most of my mates can ride 120km, run 10-15km and swim 1km easily, but they can’t touch their toes. Come on!
Pilates doesn’t actually involve ‘stretching’ but it does involve many movements to promote segmental mobility in the pelvis, trunk and limbs which provides useful flexibility and often helps us continue exercising as we age.
Body awareness is about knowing your current posture and then being able to move with co-ordination effortlessly into the next posture. As noted above in relation to co-ordination, body awareness is not necessarily a man’s forte.
Improving your body awareness also helps you avoid injury, improves in-game strategic performance and all-round brilliance.
The key for men to feel comfortable is to try it before they assume it’s not for them – I guarantee it will give you all the challenges of other exercise regimens with maximum benefits for the body and the mind. It’s pretty liberating to find a form of exercise that somehow works you to the bone, but doesn’t break you to the point of constant injury! It’s a miracle … or maybe just Pilates.
If you’re a new client looking to work with highly trained Pilates experts, it’s time to take advantage of our new client specials where you can enjoy a Private session for half price and test your mettle in a group class too!