Mistakenly stereotyped as exercise for women, Pilates was originally designed by a man, for men. Joseph Pilates developed the regimen during a career that included stints as a boxing coach, martial artist and athletic trainer. It’s the best exercise for men because it will greatly enhance their athletic performance, by improving their strength, flexibility and agility. Golfers will hit the ball farther. Runners will run longer and they’ll do it without pain.
Core strength, flexibility, balance, uniform development, and efficient movement patterns – all are hallmarks of Pilates training and highly relevant to mens 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 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 toward 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. To this end, Pilates exercises do seek to increase flexibility and range of motion, but one won’t find the kind of pretzel stretches in Pilates that one might find in gymnastics or yoga.
There is nothing specifically different about Pilates training for men, especially in the beginning. The Pilates method is the same for all. Developed on a man’s body, and taught with input from both men and women, Pilates is founded on healthy movement principles for the human body in general. Men might find that their muscles are a little tighter than womens’, especially in the hips and hamstrings, but exercises can be easily modified to allow those areas to stretch out gradually. Modification of exercises is commonplace in Pilates, allowing it to meet a variety of needs in practitioners.