Pilates is not just for women

Did you know that the Pilates method of training was originally developed by a man? As in Joseph Pilates who, based on his experience as a boxer, soldier, bodybuilder, gymnast, and even as a martial artist, devised a system of exercise in the early 20th century to “bring the muscles of the body into balance, promoting both mobility and strength in the spine and joints.”

Today, with keen advocates such as Andy Murray, the All Blacks rugby team and Tiger Woods all using Pilates as part of their fitness programme, it is a form of physical training that has become popular with all gender types.
The benefits of Pilates are manifold. While more research is needed, studies suggest that Pilates may also reduce non-specific low back pain, help lower glucose levels, reduce arthritis pain, enhance sport performance, and even boost your mood.
There is a popular misconception that Pilates is “an over-glorified stretching session” for women. Far from it. “It actually focuses on both eccentric and concentric contractions of muscles to achieve balanced stretch and strength,” says Lynda Salermo Gehrman of Physio Logic Pilates.

adjusting arm position in a men's pilates class

Pilates can benefit everyone, young or old. Men in particular tend to train in the gym in a way that over-emphasises certain muscle groups such as the chest, biceps, and the rectus abdominis (aka the ‘six pack’), while neglecting other muscle groups. This can lead to repeat injuries and weakness in some areas. “Training the intrinsic muscles will help to strengthen your core, it will keep the body symmetrically aligned, muscles will function more efficiently over-all and injuries will tend to occur less frequently”.
Beginners are best training “in-class” at the start of a course, so they can be under the direct supervision of a professional Pilates instructor. This means that their movements can be closely monitored and posture corrected first-hand (as opposed to an online class). Developing a professional relationship with your instructor is important before considering any on-line training to avoid injury. It also encourages progression at the same rate as others in your class and fosters a sense of supportive camaraderie amongst the group.
At Physio on the River we have a new, all-male Pilates course starting in-person this week with Clara. If you would like to join us this term or would like further details on future courses, please contact Diana to find out more > We do advise committing to at least six out of the eight sessions, however if you are only able to attend as a pay-as-you-go customer then please do ask. Priority is given to anyone booking the whole course, so please call the day before a class to check availability. We limit class numbers to six per session to ensure you receive Clara’s full attention when and where it matters most, while still continuing to follow Covid guidelines, providing you with plenty of space to move freely in our studio. To check our current class timetable>

And it’s not just about counter-balancing the effects of over-training in the gym where men in particular may benefit from a Pilates class. Issues can also arise from sedentary desk work (in all genders) so if you’re still working from home for part of the week, consider joining either one of our all-male or mixed Pilates classes to counter-balance the effects of sitting in an office all day. A regular Pilates work-out could reap many benefits, including:

  • strengthens your core
  • improved balance and coordination, leading to decreased fall risk in older adults and improved posture
  • increased overall muscle strength and improved flexibility
  • improved cognition and executive functioning
  • reduction in stress levels and improved mental clarity
  • reduced nonspecific low back pain
  • improved scores on a variety of functional movement assessments
  • acute reductions in blood pressure
  • improvements in depression and anxiety symptoms
  • improved confidence: if you look better, you feel better

There have been many excellent articles recently published online, focussing specifically on how men in particular can benefit from Pilates classes. The articles below include a more in-depth analysis for anyone who is after more ‘technical’ or detailed information:

Link:  https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/pilates-for-men#why-do-it
Link: https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a21095588/pilates-exercises-for-men/
Link: https://www.thephysiocompany.com/blog/2020/6/8/10-reasons-men-should-do-pilates-too

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Joseph Pilates training in his later years

Joseph Pilates training in his later years