Most people hear the word Pilates and immediately picture a woman on a mat, or a woman using a Reformer machine. As a result, and despite LeBron James famous tweet of himself doing Pilates, too few men are taking advantage of what Pilates can offer.
Let’s start by remembering that Pilates was invented by a man. In fact, Joseph Pilates was a German boxer and a self-defense expert. Yes, you read that correctly – a boxer and self-defense expert, as well as circus performer and fitness innovator.
At one point in his life, prior to World War Two, Pilates developed training programs for the Hamburg police as well as the German army. Hardly a feminine clientele!
It was only after Pilates immigrated to New York City that his method – then known as Contrology – became popular with professional ballet dancers, such as George Ballanchine, Martha Graham and Jerome Robbins.
For this reason, Pilates’ methods became associated more with dancers and women than with injured soldiers and police officers in training. Yet Pilates has a great deal to offer men and women both.
Here are five simple reasons to try Pilates:
- Improved core strength: Every Pilates exercise demands that you focus on using your core. Pilates hits every muscle in your abs, including your transverse abdominals. This muscle group forms the base of your six-pack (or future six pack, as the case may be!).
- Rebalanced muscles: In ordinary life, some muscles get used and strengthened more than others, particularly if you lift weights. Pilates works neglected muscle groups, getting at areas you don’t hit while lifting. By working these many smaller muscles, our clients gain a leaner, longer physique. Trust us on this one.
- Increased flexibility and range: Pilates’ focus on stretching helps to prevent injury and muscle strain, and improves your range of motion.
- Lower back pain relief: Due to all of the above, Pilates can be a potent cure for chronic lower back pain. What could be better than moving through your day with more ease and less pain?
- Stress relief: Pilates forces you to slow down, focus your attention and use your breath. After Pilates, you’ll feel relaxed and reinvigorated, and in a better mental place. In today’s hectic, 24-7 world, that’s a pretty amazing result.
Still not convinced? Read about men who have tried Pilates and found it to be the perfect antidote for a tired fitness regime. See this story about professional athletes and Pilates from USA today, or this story from Men’s Fitness, or this post from Sparkpeople.
And remember, if a seven-foot tall, world-class athlete like LeBron James finds Pilates a workout worth doing, you just might, too.