Pilates for men: why Pilates is not just for ladies
Pilates is slowly gaining momentum and popularity and Pilates is not just for ladies. Many health care professionals highly recommend it due to its many benefits. It’s like a “buzz” word that is here to stay.
Most people think Pilates is just for ladies and it is true that the majority of classes are full of women. This might link back to the Pilates roots where Joseph Pilates trained ballet dancers and gymnasts based on his movement principles and movement control theories.
But, there is a stirring in the water and slowly but surely a ripple effect is taking place as more men are realising the benefits of practising regular Pilates. Should you dare to step out of your comfort zone and attend a class you may be pleasantly surprised by what capabilities you unfold on your Pilates mat or piece of Pilates equipment.
Many sportsmen (such as Andy Murray, Gareth Bale, Ryan Giggs to name just a few) sing out the praises of Pilates and how it improves their sports performance, reduces their risk of injury and helps to improve their flexibility and core strength.
Chances are if you are a man, you want to be able to train hard but avoid injuries such as muscle strains and ligament sprains that can leave you out of action for weeks as you recover.
With age, these injuries can take longer to heal – our bodies slow down their regenerative and reparative abilities after the age of 21! They can still repair and regain strength following injury, which is amazing, but they do so at a slower rate.
Why is Pilates so GOOD for men?
The benefits of Pilates are tenfold. Strengthening your inner core muscles referred to as your powerhouse, naturally has a direct impact on enhancing your sporting abilities.
If you feel strong in your core: your balance will improve, your body awareness and posture sharpens and your ability to tune into your body position allows you to make the necessary adjustments that are crucial to help you avoid sporting injuries.
In order to avoid an ankle ligament sprain you need an increased awareness of your foot position in relation to the ground and you need strong lower limb muscles to help your ankle maintain good alignment for starters. With a strong core you allow your outer muscles to function better and you can increase pelvis and shoulder blade stability as a direct result. Good posture and awareness of posture in your sport are paramount to your success.
Pilates is fantastic for increasing flexibility – a trait which for the majority of men is a pipe dream. With regular stretches and muscle strength and lengthening this can become a reality. It’s never to late for you to be able to touch your toes!
Practising Pilates allow you to increase your spine mobility, agility and awareness of its correct position. This information and ability to tune into your own body’s whereabouts, known as proprioception, improves your core stability strength.
You gain the ability to lengthen tight overactive muscles like your back extensors whilst strengthening and toning your core abdominal muscles.
Your body shape improves, your muscles tone up, your flexibility and joint position awareness improves.
You visit your chiropractor or osteopath less and less and your body position feels correct and in alignment. You notice you have less injuries.
Your game of golf or tennis or football suddenly improves as your energy levels increase, your stamina improves, as your core strength allows you to endure your game longer and at a higher intensity than before.
Look at Andy Murray post spinal surgery. Practising Pilates gave him the confidence and strength to return to smashing 140mph serves out on the tennis courts.
All elite athletes now combine some sort of Pilates training in their chosen sports. I know the British Olympic team specifically asked the APPI master teachers to coach them as to what exercises to do.
Pilates allows you to take back control of your body, it’s performance and it’s ability to succeed great things.
Pilates is not just for ladies, it’s good for men too.
If you would like more information about my classes or would like a 1:1 Pilates session then please contact me via my website www.thepilatesphysio.co.uk