Pilates For Men

7 Apr

“Isn’t pilates for women?” I hear you ask. My perception was always that Pilates fell into the more feminine category of exercise, although it was created by a man and is apparently for this man in particular it is a very good way to resolve flexibility and mobility issues with his spine. So, I decided to purhcase
by Daniel Lyon.

I went for a health assessment at the beginning of last week and one of the results was that I had poor flexibility in my spine and an ever so slightly curved spine at the top and the bottom. So, OK posture, just not great. Working a desk job, training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu four times a week and a few strength and conditioning sessions, the result is not really that surprising. It’s all well and good hammering your body with intense workouts, although this really needs to be balanced out with recovery or prehabilitation type exercises.

The doctor doing the assessment suggested Pilates had worked really well for a number of people in terms of correcting their posture, although  adding further classes to my weekly schedule just wasn’t going to work. I did a bit of searching on the good old interweb and found a ton of pilates books and DVDs, all with a female instructor and the thought struck me that even though I would benefit from them, they may not tackle specific issues faced by men in terms of flexibility, for example much tighter hip flexors (which is even more pertinent if you do BJJ). Then after a quick search of ‘Pilates for men’, I found the very aptly titled ‘Pilates For Men’. Seemed like an easy choice, had good reviews, so five minutes later it was on the way.

Now, I’ve read this one book in the last three days, so I’m not in anyway going to pretend to be a Pilates exepert. I just want to give my initial reactions. First, after one session I already felt far more mobile in my movements and stronger in my posture and core. Second, Pilates is HARD. There are a few exercises that we tend to do in BJJ training, that are similar (note the word similar) to those in the book. However, when you start doing these exercises with proper form, such as an engaged core, keeping you spine to the floor, shoulders back, etc, etc, they soon highlight how bad your mobility really is and I even consider myself a more flexible person that most. Third, ‘Pilates For Men’ is a really great book that gives enough of the core principles and history of Pilates at the start to set the seen before quickly diving into the actual exercises, which are broken down into beginner, intermediate and advanced workouts. The excercises are descirbed very well with step by step detailed illustrations, covering off the key points and pitfalls you may encounter. Fourth, Pilates certainly is for men. Not only was the creator Joseph Pilates male, when you consider the lack of flexibility and mobility most men have versus women, it could be argued men would benefit from it more than women. Maybe we just find this stuff naturally harder, which is maybe why we shy away from it. Finally, just give it a go.

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