Pilates has been a training tool for men and women, for over 50 years. From elite athletes to post-op rehab, both men and women have been discovering the benefits of Pilates for their particular needs. Pilates was created by a cigar smoking, whiskey drinking boxer who was an acrobat and gymnast named Joseph Pilates. Joe created his exercise programs first and foremost for men, originally training athletes such as boxers, wrestlers, skiers, and circus performers. The Pilates method has taken on different variations over years, but at its core was designed with men in mind. It’s not just for the unusually flexible, dancers, or women. Joe, with his wife, Clara created an effective way to strengthen the body as a whole while increasing flexibility for a wide range of women and men.
More and more men are starting to discover the advantages of Pilates. Men come into Pilates studios, looking to increase their core strength, address low back pain and muscular imbalances, as well to cross train to find their edge. Pilates compliments every activity that a man does, whether it’s sitting behind a desk, hiking 14 ’ers, or swinging a golf club. The components of Pilates can be especially effective for men, whose workouts typically emphasize a part-by-part approach to muscular development. Pilates, by contrast, emphasizes moving from the center of the body, often referred to in Pilates, as the powerhouse. The powerhouse is developed from strength in the deep muscles of the core to stabilize the trunk and protect the back. This kind of core training makes Pilates an excellent technique for whole-body fitness, as well as a foundation for cross training for other types of sports and exercise.
Pilates teaches males how to use the transverses adominis. For guys out there wondering what that is – it is the horizontal layer of muscle beneath your six pack (think low stomach area). By strengthening this very important muscle you will increase endurance, tighten your waist and reduce back pain. “The core workouts of Pilates are much more effective than what a typical guy like myself would do in a gym” quotes a Firehaus Pilates male client.
Pilates Tips for the Guys
Pilates is a practice where part of the exercise is to bring your full attention to every movement, focusing on alignment and core strengthening. The movements go beyond the superficial muscles and require more subtle attention and micro-adjustments than some men are used to finding in the gym. You don’t “just power through” in Pilates. This often becomes most apparent while working with Pilates equipment, such as the reformer. Although Pilates equipment is resistance based, it’s not intended to be overpowered. In fact, the lightest setting on the equipment usually is the most challenging for the core muscles. In Pilates, controlled, well-aligned movement is the secret to a deeper level of fitness.
At Firehaus Pilates, we keep our men in mind. We offer a Men’s Pilates Class as well as specialized private training for males. Give it a try guys, all you have to lose is the middle!
-Clare Harriman, Certified Pilates Instructor/Owner of Firehaus Pilates.
*Find more information on Pilates for Men at Firehaus Pilates, located in Denver’s Highland / LoHi neighborhood. www.firehauspilates.com