For some reason, women are far more likely to be doing Pilates than men. For men, Pilates is often considered a slightly tougher version of yoga or something only worth doing as a recovery workout after an injury.
The fact is that men’s Pilates is growing in popularity. That’s because it’s a great way to improve flexibility and increase your muscle power and it’s also fantastic for losing weight. So if you’re wondering whether or not men’s Pilates is right for you, here’s everything you need to know about this unique form of exercise.
Why Men’s Pilates Hasn’t Been Popular
There are clear reasons why men don’t think Pilates is for them. The most common reasons why men have been avoiding Pilates include:
- It’s not for real men: Many men think that if they aren’t lifting heavy weights or running a few marathons every month, they’re not doing any “real’ exercise”. Men can become very focused on building their abs, pecs, and biceps — anything else is for ladies only.
- It’s far too easy: In general, men are stronger than women (obviously that’s a huge generalisation!). So they start with a beginners Pilates class and immediately dismiss its value without trying more intermediate classes that will be more difficult.
- If you’ve watched a few Pilates videos, you probably assume that it’s an “easy” workout with its soft twists and the always-slow movements that are reminiscent of yoga. However, Pilates was created by a man who developed the workout during WWI incarceration to keep strong. Strength and Pilates go hand in hand.
- Flexibility over gains: When men first try Pilates, they can struggle with it due to not being flexible enough. So they get disheartened and start to avoid Pilates as they believe it’s solely focused on improving flexibility rather than building strength or enhancing muscle definition.
It even seems like Pilates generally tends to be marketed more at women than men, and that’s unfortunate because men and women alike will get the same benefits from a well planned Pilates session.
Will Doing Pilates Give Me a Six-Pack?
Does everyone want a six-pack? It’s one of the most common health and fitness goals, along with others like strength building and losing weight. For men and women, a six-pack is one of the only goals to aim for, and there are thousands of videos and online guides focused on doing no other exercises other than the ones that will get you a six-pack.
First of all, no — Pilates alone will rarely get you a six-pack no matter how well you track your goals. While some body types will find it easier to get a firm six-pack through Pilates, for most of us, it’s not going to happen. However, getting a six-pack shouldn’t be a sole priority. If you continue to work out with a range of exercises, control your calories, and get plenty of rest between workout sessions, your abs will strengthen naturally.
Why Bother Doing Men’s Pilates Then?
Pilates has some great benefits that go far beyond any aesthetics. If you’re considering some men’s Pilates, but you’re putting it off because you’re not sure if it’s worth the time, here are some of the main benefits of Pilates that make it excellent for both men and women.
Men’s Pilates as a Strength Builder
Pilates is all about improving the performance of your body. You can spend hours in the gym working on your large muscle groups focusing on your favourites, but that’s often at the expense of equally important but smaller strength muscles. Where Pilates excels is that it will help build strength in every single part of your body. If you’re just starting men’s Pilates, you’ve probably found yourself somewhat surprised by how challenging it can be. Keep going, and your strength will only improve.
Improve Your flexibility
It’s all well and good to be lifting weights and getting gains, but never overlook the importance of working on your flexibility. When you become more flexible, you gain some significant benefits that will only help you get fitter and healthier. With men’s Pilates, flexibility is one of the major benefits. That improved flexibility means you will have better posture and increased freedom of movement, all while reducing muscle tension.
Injury Prevention and Repair
Men’s Pilates is always worth considering simply because it helps strengthen the structure and support any weak parts of your body. If you’re new to health and fitness, then it’s likely that you’ve been neglecting your body for a while. When you exercise, your body is going to protest. Men’s Pilates helps this by helping to strengthen your bones and build your muscles, helping you to ease into exercise while preventing injuries.
Core and Posture
For the advocates of men’s Pilates, one of the primary reasons for doing the exercise is developing core strength. While Pilates is definitely great for your core strength and a crucial part of optimal fitness, it also does a lot more. By working out your core with the slow, graceful movements that are a Pilates workout, you’re also teaching your body some new patterns of movement that will extend naturally into your daily life. So as well as giving your core a workout, you’re also improving your overall posture.
Men’s Pilates as a Stress-Buster
Pilates is known to be a great stress reliever. Rather than the sweating, grunting agony of a HIIT workout, Pilates is a gentle exercise that can induce an almost meditative state. Partly, that’s down to the breathing exercises that make up a large part of Pilates. Those breathing exercises improve blood circulation and stimulate relaxation in your mind and body.
With men’s Pilates, it can be challenging for men who are used to the more aggressive workout. However, you’ll find yourself far more empowered when your body’s overall performance has been dramatically improved. That’s a good excuse to cut down on that calming but diet-harming alcoholic drink before bed every night!
Begin Men’s Pilates Today
If you’ve been putting off signing up for some men’s Pilates classes, it’s time to reconsider. Men’s Pilates is more popular than ever, and the benefits are gaining popularity. Remember that the goal of a Pilates teacher is going to include:
- Improving your posture
- Reducing back pain
- Making you more flexible
- Increasing the strength of your muscles (particularly your core muscles)
- Creating balanced strength across your whole body
- Weight loss
- Higher energy levels.
So while a six-pack isn’t going to magically appear after a few weeks of men’s Pilates, you will begin to see some aesthetic improvements. Improve your overall performance and flexibility with Pilates and you’ll find that the other exercises and workouts that you do will only benefit you even more. And that’s how you can get a six-pack.
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Get in touch with the Fitness Group today and have a free consultation about the best possible learning path for you.