Is Pilates a good workout for Men?
Katie Bell Discusses How Helpful Pilates Can Really Be
"Consider this, Pilates was originally developed by a man called Joseph Pilates, and it has been a powerful training method for both men and women for over 50 years. There has been a surge in the popularity of Pilates in the last 5 years, and particularly in the number of men taking part. When I first started teaching Pilates, I remember the classes being mainly women. As a Physiotherapist I was seeing a lot of men who had manual jobs, jobs where they sat at a desk for hours, drive a lot and whilst some enjoyed keeping fit, they were all complaining of stiffness, niggles, more injuries and feeling older by the minute! Their minds felt young but their body did not! It was then that I started the first Blokes Pilates class, and I am pleased to say those chaps are still with me now, and coming every Tuesday at 6.15pm and have done for the last 6 years!
6 years, can you believe it? They still come each week and rarely miss a session.
So why do I think that Blokes get so much benefit from doing Pilates and that all blokes should try it and experience the benefits for themselves.
Pilates involves core strength training, flexibility, balance, uniform development (focusing on all aspects of the body – not just the major muscle groups), and developing excellent movement patterns. Pilates focuses on moving from the centre of the body or the powerhouse, developing the necessary core strength to stabilise the trunk, protect the back and create a strong base for everything else to work off. This means it’s a great addition to any training program.
I believe flexibility and core strength is the key to all fitness, and during Pilates this is a big focus.
At my studio; Katie Bell Physiotherapy & Wellness we have 5 full blokes only classes a week and are adding new classes all the time due to the increased popularity. The blokes we have range from gardeners who spend all day bending over and lifting, to office workers, men who commute and fly a lot, to those who are avid athletes and want to continue playing golf, cycling or whatever sport it may be without injury plaguing them where as some just want to remain as active, mobile and flexible as they can.
So, if you are a bloke and reading this and are intrigued, or maybe you have been thinking about trying it for a while, my advice is….
Try a class! A bloke only class if you would prefer!
Commit to doing it for a minimum of 12 sessions before you stop. We always recommend this number as the initial number of classes to do, but ideally Pilates is something that should be added into your weekly routine, not just for a short period of time. The blokes who have been doing Pilates with me for a long time have spent a lot less time on the Physio bed, have reported a huge reduction in pain, stiffness, niggles, ache and discomfort. They are actively doing something to combat the joy of aging and are still able to play sport, compete and say yes instead of no to things!
Ensure you find the class that suits you. There is a variety of teaching styles and class types. Most importantly it needs to fit in to your life to have any chance of it becoming part of your routine. Get a group of blokes together, then you can enjoy the banter too, decide how you like to train and how you want to feel after the class. My chaps like to know they have worked! A good instructor reads the tone of the class, what the client’s needs are and adapts and ensures the class is fun, challenging, safe and never boring!”