I have been teaching Pilates for about 10 years now and I’m amazed at how many of my newest clients are men. In fact, there are days when all I teach are male clients. Recently my friend and fellow Pilates Instructor Mari Winsor was at my studio and she agreed that more men are taking Pilates. Reflecting on all this, I thought the best thing would be to write a blog about why men do or should be doing Pilates.
Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1880. He had a lifelong interest in body conditioning. As a frail child dedicated to improving his strength, he later became an accomplished skier, diver, gymnast, and boxer. Joseph Pilates went on to become a nurse in England during WWI. During his internment, Pilates designed exercise equipment for injured soldiers by attaching springs to hospital beds. Joseph later began training wrestlers, skiers, gymnasts and boxers including Max Schmeling. Therefore, it is easy to understand that men have, and continue to benefit from Pilates.
Women enjoy how Pilates tightens their core and flattens their abdominal muscles. With Pilates training, their posture improves and they look better in their dresses, on the beach and also perform better on the tennis court or golf course. Men, are obviously looking for an exercise that will also tighten their core and strengthen their abs, but I’ve found that the men who come into my studio also turn to Pilates to help them become better runners, bikers, golfers or simply better at a pick-up game of basketball. In fact, the increased flexibility one client experienced improved his golf swing so dramatically, that his golf partner is now a client as well!
Injury Prevention & Motivation
Many male clients of the studio have had a long history in the gym. Pumping iron they developed big, unbalanced and inflexible muscles. This physique worked for them when they were in their 20’s and 30’s, however a minor or nagging injury sent them to orthopedists, physical therapists and chiropractors who recommended they tone down their heavy lifting in favor of Pilates. South Florida High School football is known to be some of the most competitive in the country. The St. Thomas Aquinas football team has also used Pilates training to give their team an edge in strength and flexibility and injury prevention.
A Final Word
In truth, Pilates is for everybody and every body. I’ve taught 13 year old Olympic hopefuls, 20-something Olympic athletes (see my blog about the British Olympic Swim Team at Pure Pilates), as well as triathletes, professional baseball, football and basketball players. Mari Winsor, from Los Angeles, CA has taught many male celebrities such as Gary Shandling, Patrick Swayze, Samuel Jackson and Danny Glover. However, the mainstay of Pilates will always be men and women wanting to look better, feel better, increase their flexibility and adding strength to their bodies. So, if you want improved flexibility, coordination and posture – if you want to increase your core strength, address low back pain and muscular imbalances, and if you want to cross-train for other activities, give Pilates a try!