The number one question that men often ask in Pilates is “Is Pilates only for women?”
That is an interesting question.
Pilates or Contrology as it was originally known, was developed by a man (Joseph Pilates) for men. While serving in an internment camp in England during World War I, Joseph Pilates developed a series of exercises to rehabilitate detainees in the camp who were suffering from injuries and diseases, to great success. The early students of Contrology can be considered to be the male detainees.
If it was developed by a man for men, why then did this question arise?
The surge of popularity of Pilates is said to have been powered by women as they quickly recognised the benefits of Pilates of achieving a toned body and the desirable flat tummy.
With many women doing Pilates, a general perception possibly developed as a result that it is not ‘manly’ enough and this is only for women.
This is a misconception.
Pilates presents many benefits for men as it does for women.
Research has shown that the best way for men to develop muscle strength is to strengthen the core muscles.
Very often, our favourite activities like running, swimming, cycling can cause muscles like our quads to become overused and over developed. This causes the body to go out of balance and can result in tightness in the body, most commonly tight hips and hamstrings.
Muscle imbalance can create problems from bad posture, lower back pain, knee injuries to even headaches! Our range of motion and mobility becomes limited. Injuries can arise as a result of muscle imbalance. All these affect the performance of our body.
Pilates works to realign the body and bring it back to balance. The core, as the centre of the body’s power, is strengthened. It is important to develop core strength as motions like bending and twisting are controlled by our core muscles. The core muscles provide strength, stability and power to the rest of the body.
When your core is strong, it is easier to move and stretch your body with less effort. You are less likely to sustain injuries especially of the lower back. Healing of injuries can be in fact faster by strengthening the core. You will find that knee problem that used to bug you is no longer an issue.
It is for this reason that many athletes incorporate Pilates into their fitness programme.
The best swimmers swim with their cores. The best runners have stable hips so that they can run the distance without injuring themselves. The best tennis players get power from their core to hit the tennis balls to their opponents and develop the stamina to last for hours on the court.
It is no secret that top sportsmen – Tiger Woods, David Beckham, Jason Kidd, Kobe Bryant, Andy Murray, the New Zealand All Blacks team do Pilates and have used Pilates to up their games.
Real men do Pilates. Come join us today.