For many men, Pilates connotes an image of women donning tight spandex attire, participating in glorified stretching routines like some perfunctory dance rehearsal without a performance at the end.
Yet, for as many men who have avoided Pilates, there is a whole other group of men—including NFL and NHL players, PGA Championship Golfers, and simply guys who grew tired of the same old workout— who are hitting the studio as hard as they do the gym.
From developing untapped muscle groups and increasing flexibility to living more mindfully (and yes, even having better sex), Pilates has a myriad of benefits that men should know.
Boost Your Strength
Pilates is often referred to as a system of exercises. Every movement in this system is deliberate and concentrated on one or more of these five principal areas:
- Pelvic Placement
- Rib Cage Placement
- Scapular Movement and Stabilization
- Head and Cervical Placement
Pilates works muscles that are often neglected in everyday life and even within the average gym session. Really, it comes down to a functional, whole-body approach to fitness rather than a “piece-by-piece” strategy like weight lifting.
By working through this system of exercises with an experienced instructor, you may just get that six pack back—and we’re not talking about the one you drank last Friday. This is because a major focus in Pilates is developing a strong core, which includes your transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis (your “abs”), erector spinae, obliques, and even your lower lats.
If you want to hit the beach with a killer bod, Pilates just might be for you. However, it’s not only about getting jacked, it’s about reducing your chance of injury.
Reduce Your Chance of Injury
There is somewhat of a misunderstanding surrounding the relationship between muscle mass and flexibility. Often, you’ll hear that the more muscle mass you have, the less flexible you are. But here’s the real problem: weight training only takes you through a very limited range of motion.
Typical lifting routines often lead to shortened muscle fibers and stiffer connective tissue. Training habits that focus on a single muscle group—as opposed to those which incorporate a variety of motions—are what get you into trouble. Moreover, misguided weightlifting can actually cause over-development in certain muscle groups which can lead to muscle imbalance.
Imbalances in the body increase the risk of pain and injury. However, Pilates’ focus on stretching helps prevent injury, muscle strains, and increases your range of motion by honing in on precise movements. If you’re dealing with stiffness and inflexibility, we can address your individualized needs during an intro session.
Live More Mindfully
Whether you’re concentrating on your breath or your current movement, Pilates forces you to focus on the present. More often than not, men leave a Pilates session feeling rejuvenated and relaxed.
Unlike a typical fitness class, a Pilates session deals with subtle, concentrated, micro-adjustments that keep your mind engaged. This is no power through it, push it, or “no pain no game,” superciliousness in the studio. It’s about concentrating on the care of your body, not confusing pain for progress.
Be Better In the Sack (Sex & Sleep)
It just so happens that Pilates strengthens the critical muscle groups that’ll help you in the bedroom. By improving your breathing, enhancing your endurance, and strengthening your core and pelvic floor, you’ll not only have greater control of, should we say, your loins, but you’re also going to be…well, stronger in that department.
Speaking of the bedroom, in Joseph Pilates’ book, Pilates’ Return to life Through Contrology, he writes of the many benefits that Pilates can have on sleep. Much of this high quality shut eye is due to the mental calm that occurs during and after exercising, especially when engaging the spine. As Joe so eloquently put it, “It is better to be tired from physical exertion than to be fatigued by the poisons generated by nervousness while lying awake.”
Act like a Professional
Much of Pilates is based on proper placement and alignment. By focusing on these core elements, Pilates helps athletes reduce the chance of injury and reinforces strong functional movement. This is precisely why golfers such as Tiger Woods, Annika Sorenstam, and Rich Beam are practicing Pilates.
According to the PGA Tour website, “golfers of all levels find that consistent Pilates practice improves their games and deduces pain and injuries.” This makes sense when you consider the complex motion of a golf swing. From better breathing to better driving posture, practicing Pilates might just take a couple strokes off your game.
Football players have also been hitting the studio hard. In fact, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown practices Pilates regularly. Brown likes Pilates as well as TRX because “It works everything at once, which is really what he needs to do on the field” said Brown’s Trainer in a Stack.com interview. “This way we create a natural muscle balance where he’ll have appropriate length and strength in each muscle on opposing forces. This is going to make a huge difference in his longevity. The sky’s the limit with these workouts.”
What’s more, even NHL players are practicing Pilates, according to Business Insider. This is because posture can play a big part in boosting speed on the ice. Ben Prentiss, an NHL trainer said, “I always tell guys who brag about how big they are in their upper body, ‘As soon as you start skating on your hands, that’s going to become a good idea.'”
Whether you’re trying to become a better athlete, get a beach-ready body, or simply improve your health and wellness, Inner Balance Pilates will build a Pilates session around your needs. Our programs focus on building back and abdominal strength, re-balancing muscular development, increasing flexibility, and improving postural alignment.