Yes, Pilates is for men too!

When you search YouTube for Pilates workout, the majority of the results return female instructors.  Survey people you know, and you will likely find more women than men take Pilates.  Does that indicate it’s for women only?

Men can do Pilates just like women, gaining the same physical and mental benefits. The only difference is that men tend to have larger muscles than women, so their core needs to be strengthened in order to perform the exercises properly.

The benefits gained from practising Pilates can help men in a range of different way, and will compliment any other training they’re doing.

Pilates was developed by a man, for men

Given the high number of female instructors and practitioners, you might be surprised to learn that the founder was actually a man!  During World War 1 Joseph Pilates was interned as a German enemy alien. 

During this time, he worked as a nurse which gave him the opportunity to develop and experiment with methods to help bedridden patients tone their muscles.  These experiments led to what is now known as the Pilates Reformer.

He developed his system of physical exercise into what he called “Contrology”, which was used to help the rehabilitation of injured veterans.

He eventually moved to the US, where he married his wife Clara whom he founded a New York based fitness study with.  

Benefits of Pilates for Men

Contrology has since evolved and rebranded an Pilates, and men are still just as likely to benefit from it as women. 

The goal of Pilates is to improve flexibility and mobility by strengthening core muscles while improving balance through body movements.

Pilates benefits include increased muscle mass, improved posture, reduced stress levels, enhanced flexibility and balance, better sleep patterns due to improved breathing patterns during exercise sessions.

One key area of gender difference is that men tend to focus on certain muscle groups while ignoring others, for example, developing larger arms.

As a fitness routine, Pilates works the entire body rather than focusing on a specific set of muscles.  This provides you with a more well-rounded workout that helps prevent injury.

But Pilates is really easy, isn’t it?

This is the most common thought I encounter when talking to men about Pilates.  It tends to come from the rather odd idea that, because Pilates has become associated with women, it must be easy for men! 

Even if you’ve been working out, pumping iron down the gym, or running for milies it doesn’t mean you’ve developed core strength and therefore you’re likely to be surprised at just how challenging basic mat classes can be.

One session later and I guarantee the view that it’s easy has been changed, as demonstrated in this excellent video which encapsulates every encounter like this I’ve ever had.

Why Pilates Works for Men

Pilates is a physical fitness regimen that focuses on body alignment and breath control through controlled movements. It works for men because it is a low-impact and full-body workout that helps to correct posture, strengthen the core, improve flexibility and balance, and help with injuries.

It doesn’t matter what your fitness or ability level is, everyone can benefit from introducing Pilates into their regular workout routine.

What area of your body does Pilates try to make stronger?

Pilates is a system of physical exercises which primarily works with the mind and body to achieve overall well-being. Pilates tries to strengthen your core, back, shoulders, arms and legs.

The Pilates method works on every part of the body from head to toe, but specifically targets the core muscles in order to strengthen them. The core is the centre of our bodies, and it’s essential for everyday life activities such as walking, running, lifting heavy objects, and even sitting down.

What muscle group does Pilates primarily focus on?

The core muscles are the main focus in Pilates exercises. These include the abs, back, obliques, and diaphragm.

The core muscles are the ones that we use in everyday life such as breathing, walking, standing up straight, etc. They also help us with our balance and posture.

5 Reasons Men Should Do Pilates

Still not convinced?  Here are 5 reasons you should give it a try.

Pilates is great for building strength

Pilates is a great way for men to build strength without getting too bulky. The exercises are slow and deliberate, so you can focus on your form and achieve the best results.

More importantly, Pilates classes don’t focus on a specific set of muscles, such as the abdominal muscles, which ensures you’ll build strength in areas your other exercise routine, such as weight lifting, will miss.

Building all round strength, rather than focusing on a single area, provides much better physical health.

Pilates is good for improving flexibility

Pilates is also great for improving flexibility and mobility. This is important for men because it can help to prevent injuries.

Flexibility refers to the degree to which a muscle can be stretched and a lack of flexibility can lead to lower back pain, knee pain, and shoulder pain.

Mobility refers to your range of motion, how far you can move a joint without feeling discomfort or pain.

Both can be easily overlooked by those who focus on another form of exercise. However, if you have tight or stiff joints, you could end up injuring yourself during everyday life, not just during physical activities.

Pilates can help to improve posture

Everyone should look to improve and maintain good posture, especially as we get older. It’s an easy thing to overlook, but poor posture can cause problems in your daily life.

Poor posture can affect your ability to work, play sports, and do anything else physically active. It can also make you appear less confident.

This is an increasingly common problem as many jobs have moved towards the use of computers and sitting at a desk for long periods on a daily basis. 

Pilates can help to correct bad posture and improve overall alignment. Strengthening the core muscles helps to support the spine and improve posture.

Pilates can help prevent injuries

There are several ways that Pilates prevents injuries.

First, Pilates strengthens the core muscles. This is incredibly important, as the core muscles provide support for the body and help keep it in balance. When the core muscles are weak, the risk of injury increases dramatically.

Second, Pilates teaches proper alignment. This is key, as proper alignment helps keep the body in balance and reduces the risk of falls.

Third, Pilates improves flexibility. When the body is flexible, it can move through its full range of motion without injuring itself.

Finally, Pilates is a low-impact exercise. This means that it puts less stress on the body than high-impact exercises like running.

All of these factors come together to make Pilates an excellent choice for preventing injuries, and because it is a controlled exercise that focuses on developing strength slowly and gradually, you are unlikely to over-exert yourself during a routine.

Pilates is a great way to relax and de-stress

I have a number of clients who specifically request appointments after work.  They find that an hour workout routine helps them relax, unwind and de-stress after a long day at work.

But how is it helping?  Pilates is a great way to learn how to use your breath and muscles to control your body and release tension. The controlled breathing and movements in Pilates will help you to feel more relaxed and calm.

The result lasts beyond the workout as Pilates can help improve your posture. Proper posture makes you feel more confident. Poor posture can lead to tension headaches, neck pain, and back pain. By doing Pilates regularly, you can correct your posture and reduce your stress levels.

You also learn how to breathe properly.  Learn how to breathe correctly not only helps you release tension, but can help you feel more energised throughout the day.

OK I’m convinced, how do I try Pilates?

If you’ve never tried it before I would strongly advise gaining instruction from a certified instructor.  They will assess your current situation. For example, if you have a sedentary life, what your current healthy habits are etc.

They are then able to recommend a Pilates class suitable for you, likely starting with simple movements and ensuring you maintain the proper form for each movement.

Be sure to check out this article: A step-by-step guide to getting started with Pilates

If you want to try Pilates at home there are a lot of free workouts available via YouTube, and you’ve a wide range of instructors to choose from.  Here are a couple of suggested videos and instructors to get started:

Sean Vigue

John Garey TV

Can men do Pilates?

In conclusion, men can do, and should do, Pilates to take advantage of the wide range of benefits that will lead to an improved quality of life.

Best of all, you don’t need to stop doing an existing exercise you love, if anything you should see improvements in performance of other activities.

Donna Finnie

Donna loves to share her passion for Pilates with others. She is a fully qualified instructor who believes Pilates is for everyone, regardless of age, as it can truly help to increase strength, flexibility mobility and athletic performance.

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