My husband has chronic back pain. When he had a recent fender bender which sent his back into spasms, I recommended he try Pilates. “But, Pilates is for girls,” he said. “What makes you think that?” I asked. His response was, “well, ballerinas do it, don’t they”? And yes, while dancers and women in particular may be the main practitioners of Pilates, Pilates is most assuredly important for men. He became convinced to try it when I told him not only was Pilates invented by a man, Joseph Pilates, but a boxer at that. So, off he went to discover his core and in the end he came away with a pain-free back. Along the way, he and I came up with some reasons why dudes should do Pilates.
Top 5 reasons Men Should Do Pilates
1. Six-pack baby! Ok, so this may sound like a shallow reason, but developing your core is crucial for helping you maintain good posture as you age. Which if you’re alive, you’re aging, so using Pilates will help you build your core and keep you upright. (And ok, you’ll look hot too!)
2. Discover and strengthen forgotten muscle groups: My husband reported following instructions just to get into starting position for the 100 fatigued him. That’s because Pilates requires the work of neglected, but important muscles. Most men (and women too) tend to focus on large muscle groups when exercising and as a result create weakness in other areas. For example, love building your thighs and butt with squats? Chances are your squat heavy workout is leading to an inner thigh weakness.
3. Improve flexibility: Men tend to have higher muscle mass. More muscle usually means less flexibility. However, ask any hardcore athlete and they’ll tell you building strength and flexibility is important for peak performance. Pilates will help even those who can’t remember the last time they touched their toes increase their flexibility.
4. Longevity: Running causes stress on your joints. I’ve noticed my husband’s running, which has changed to jogging, may evolve to fast walking because of the pain he sometimes feels in his joints. Pilates is one of the few exercise regimens you can practice every day and feel positive gains in strength and flexibility. And with the ease on your joints, Pilates is a physical activity you can enjoy even as you age.
5. Rehabilitation: Most physical therapy offices include Pilates as part of their treatment plan. Ask a Dr what the best exercise regimen to start is following an injury and chances are they’ll answer Pilates. That’s because Pilates is easy on your joints, increases strength, flexibility and control of your body during movement.
So, there you have it gents. Get thee to a Pilates mat class, sir. Or give a private session on the reformer a try. The sexist days of “men belong only in the gym” are over. There’s plenty of gains to be made right there on the Pilates mat.
Guest blogger Sara Zuboff is a certified yoga instructor, bodyworker, wellness coach and health writer. She specializes in making yoga accessible to every body and skill level. When she’s not working, she enjoys crafting vegan treats for her family. Her most recent articles can be seen here and on Elephant Journal.