Is Pilates useful for men? Why wouldn’t it be? Pilates was started by a man, Joseph Pilates. It’s been a training vehicle for elite athletes, both men and women, for over 50 years including golfers Tiger Woods and Charles Nardiello
Designed to increase flexibility and improve posture, balance and coordination, Pilates focuses on strengthening the body’s core or midsection.
Once favored by rock divas, actresses and supermodels, the stretching and strengthening exercise method developed by Joseph Pilates has become the latest training rage for male professional athletes.
“Since I’ve done Pilates, I’m much better looking and 4 feet taller,” says Rich Beem, winner of the 2002 PGA Championship. “Seriously, I’m now so stretched out and have such great posture that I look and feel like a different person.”
Developed in the early 1900s, Pilates consists of 500 exercises, all initiating from the muscles in the abdomen, lower back, hips or buttocks. The cost of a private session with a properly licensed instructor is comparable to or slightly more expensive than a personal training session.
For athletes, the benefits include more efficient movement as well as better endurance, speed and quickness.
Though men have always been part of the Pilates scene, the surge of popularity that Pilates has enjoyed in recent years has been powered to a large extent by a wave of women participants and instructors, leaving some with the impression that the Pilates method is more for women. This is an unfortunate side-effect of an otherwise positive development. Fortunately, it is quickly dissolving. Pilates is one of the fastest growing fitness trends in the world, and men are definitely taking advantage of its many benefits.
Why Pilates Works Well for Men
Core strength, flexibility, balance, uniform development, and efficient movement patterns – all are hallmarks of this type of training and highly relevant to men’s fitness. The integrative component of Pilates can be especially beneficial for men, whose workouts often emphasize a part-by-part approach to muscular development, such as what what finds in weightlifting.
Pilates, by contrast, emphasizes moving from the center of the body, the powerhouse and developing core strength in the deep muscles of the center 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 with other kinds of sports and exercise.
Increasing flexibility is a goal that Pilates addresses in a way that men often feel comfortable with. Pilates works towards functional fitness. That is, the ability to have the strength, balance, and flexibility that allows one to move through daily-life tasks with grace and ease.