Over the last few months I have had enquires from men wanting to try my fitness based Pilates classes but are put off as they might be the only man in the class. So as a male teacher I often find myself being asked “Is Pilates useful for men?” I have always been a bit confused about being asked this question as after all Pilates was started by a man, Joseph Pilates; and it’s been a training vehicle for elite athletes, both men and women, for over 50 years; and there have been many male instructors and promoters of the Pilates method.
Men seem to be put off from trying a Pilates class, due to the fact the that surge of popularity that Pilates has enjoyed has largely been powered by a wave of women participants and instructors, leaving some of us with the impression that the Pilates method is more for women. In all my classes that I have taught over the last few months the majority of participants have been women. This is an unfortunate side-effect of an otherwise positive development.
Pilates is one of the fastest growing fitness trends in the world, and men are definitely taking advantage of Pilates many benefits:
• Core strength
• Uniform development
• Efficient movement patterns
These are all hallmarks of Pilates training and highly relevant to men’s fitness. The integrative component of Pilates can be especially beneficial for men, whose workouts often emphasize a part-by-part approach to muscular development.
Pilates emphasizes moving from the centre of the body, the powerhouse, and developing core strength in the deep muscles of the centre to stabilize the trunk and protect the back. This kind of core training makes Pilates an excellent technique for whole-body fitness, as well as a foundation for cross training with other kinds of sports and exercise.
Increasing flexibility is a goal that Pilates addresses in a way that men often feel comfortable with. Pilates works toward functional fitness. That is, the ability to have the strength, balance, and flexibility that allows one to move through daily-life tasks with grace and ease. To this end, there is a range of Pilates exercises that seek to increase flexibility and range of motion, but one won’t find the kind of pretzel stretches in Pilates that one might find in yoga.
Over the years that I have been practicing and teaching Pilates I have found that it has enabled me to run in a more natural way, improvement in my Kettlebell training and actually made me more aware of my bodies naturally alignment and I have seen improvement in posture and flexibility.
There is nothing specifically different about Pilates training for men, especially in the beginning. 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.
So why not come along and try one of my evening classes or if you are interested in myself setting up a mens only Pilates class then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 020 8488 8059 or 07956 847566. I’m sure once you get into Pilates you will love it and see improvements in your fitness and your life as a whole.