First of all, I am a woman, but I think I can say without hesitating that most men love sports, which require strength, flexibility, stability and balance - so why aren’t more men doing Pilates?
It’s been nine years since I began teaching Pilates and since I opened my own studio, and during that time only one thing’s been missing: men. I’ve taught Pilates to men, however, I think many studio owners will agree that women vastly outnumber male clients.
Many professional athletes today are required to use it as part of their workout routine.
So if macho men who are sometimes paid millions to play football can do Pilates, I wonder…Why aren’t more men taking advantage of this exercise? Do they acquaint Pilates with ballet or do they consider it too 'feminine?'
Do they hear that it strengthens their core and increases flexibility but think, I’ve got a six pack so why do I need to be flexible? Maybe it's down to poor communication about the significant benefits of the exercises created by Joseph Pilates.
So how can a regular Pilates class benefit any man?
To begin with, it’s one of the best ways I know to improve your physique or your game, whether it’s hockey, basketball, tennis, running, golf or cycling.
Like all Pilates instructors, I know that most pain and injuries are the result of muscle imbalance and a lack of flexibility.
For example, too often men train just their upper bodies, creatings muscle imbalance and misalignment, which can lead to injury. Pilates is one of the best methods for balancing muscles, aligning the body and preventing injury. For that reason alone, men should be running to their nearest Pilates studio.
By following the Pilates principles of moving with stability to engage the appropriate muscles, enhance body awareness, strengthen the core and increase balance and agility, we engage the entire body from the head to the tips of the toes.
The men I work with say Pilates is without exception the best exercise they’ve ever done.
When they first experience it, they are surprised it is so challenging, and how good they feel after the workout.
For example, one of my clients, a tennis player, was so stiff he could not put on his shoes and socks without difficulty and discomfort. After just five sessions, he was able to bend over with no pain an his game largely improved!
In fact, many of the men I work with come to me as a last resort before surgery, but if they were coming in during their athletic years, they might be able to prevent the injuries that lead to pain and surgery. I’m glad to see that Pilates is finally being recognized in the rehabilitation field.
For so long, most doctors trying to help people recover from their injuries didn’t have much body awareness themselves.
If you are a man who is looking for a full-body workout that’s going to build more muscle fiber and strength while increasing your flexibility, mobility, joint stability and the ability to move with ease in every range of motion, I encourage you to be open-minded and give Pilates a try. Try different studios and different styles until you find the right fit.
When you look for a Pilates instructor, check out their background and ask questions. Make sure they hold an international certification for Pilates, and find out how long they have been teaching. Once you try it, like most of my clients, you might just find yourself hooked on this not-for-women-only exercise philosophy.