Despite the explosive growth in both mat and reformer Pilates in recent years, there seems to be a misconception among men that Pilates is only for women. I have to admit that women have been the first to adopt it in masses, but Pilates is just as beneficial for men as it is for women. Pilates is not, and never was a gender thing. As a matter of fact, Pilates was developed by a man who was a boxer, gymnast and had a following of male practitioners.
When men try Pilates for the first time they are surprised to find out that Pilates is not easy. Jack Cohn, a CEO of a commercial production company who took on Pilates to deal with back injuries, was marveled by the difficulty and the athleticism required by the Pilates method. His trainer Regina Joseph in an article in Pilates Style Magazine shares what Jack whispered to her at one point; “Boy, I’d never expected it to be this tough. I always thought Pilates was… you know, kind of girly.”
Why Men Need Pilates More Than Women.
Many physiotherapist, doctors and sport coaches agree that based on men’s bio mechanical and physical needs they could benefit from Pilates more than women. The reason is simple.
- As boys, men start training in sports earlier than girls and due to poor training practices at a young age, they don’t develop core strength and correct exercise habits. Through time, lower abdominal weaknesses and destructive workout routines can result in back pain and inflexibility, especially in the hamstrings.
- Men don’t bother to stretch after an activity and if they do they do it haphazard or incomplete. Over time they develop microscopic tears in the muscles. With time scar tissue develops and when the muscle is fatigued it loses flexibility.
- Men don’t know how to engage the transversus abdominis properly. In other words, they don’t use their abs correctly.
The Pilates method core strengthening and stretching principles are a great way to regain the flexibility and treat many of the injuries and misalignment and bad habits that men frequently impose on themselves.