The Benefits of Pilates for Men
What do you think of when you picture a Pilates class? For many, “Pilates,” brings up images of leggings-clad women doing light exercises that look more like stretching than an actual workout — but that’s a complete misconception.
Although Pilates doesn’t incorporate intense cardio or heavy weights, it’s still a tough workout for men and women of all ages. In fact, some of the top athletes in the world incorporate Pilates into their routines, including tennis champion Andy Murray and members of the Superbowl-winning New England Patriots. Pilates works new muscles and movements, so it’s challenging without causing the strain some higher-impact workouts do. But whether you’re a pitcher for the Chicago Cubs or a retiree looking to switch up your workout routine, you can find benefits in Pilates.
What is Pilates, exactly?
Pilates is a safe, adaptable exercise method that can be done on a mat or with a specialized reformer machine. It uses resistance and your own body weight to stabilize your core and strengthen your body. Pilates’ adaptability makes it great for all body types and fitness levels, while still being a challenge for even the toughest athletes. This form of an exercise is an efficient, effective, and safe way to increase your flexibility, develop your core, and release tension.
Some men dismiss Pilates as a form of exercise because it doesn’t involve high intensity cardio or heavy weightlifting. But don’t let that fool you — Pilates is a great workout that corrects muscular imbalances and builds a strong and stable core, without the impact on your joints that extreme fitness can cause.
What are some benefits of Pilates for men?
Here are some benefits of Pilates that men of all ages can enjoy:
- Improved flexibility: Flexibility is crucial. According to Harvard Health, it allows us to more easily achieve a full range of motion, which leads to both improved athletic performance (a smoother golf swing) and functional abilities (reaching and bending). Muscles get shorter and less elastic as we age, so exercises like Pilates that lengthen the muscles and improve flexibility are great for keeping you moving.
- Building strength: Pilates can be an effective strength training workout for all fitness levels; according to the Mayo Clinic, this exercise can be adapted to provide stability for beginners or provide a challenging workout for athletes.
- Alleviated pain and side effects of illness: Working the deep abs and pelvic floor can help alleviate back problems, and can be incredibly beneficial for men who have been, or will be, treated for prostate cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, the “chance of having prostate cancer rises rapidly after age 50,” making it especially useful for men in this age group.
- It supports weight loss: Pilates helps to create long, lean, fit bodies. There are many ways that doing Pilates supports weight loss, but it is also recommended that you eat a healthy diet and incorporate cardio to boost the metabolism.
- Safety: While high-intensity workouts are great for getting your heart pumping, they can be jarring on your joints and possibly cause injury. Pilates, especially when done with a knowledgeable trainer, is a safe, effective way to workout without the pain. It can be done as a standalone routine or worked into a more high-intensity regimen for variation.
- It can be done alone or in a group: Men still wary of trying Pilates (despite the endorsement of many professional athletes!) can start off with a private Pilates session. One-on-one sessions will put you in contact with a Pilates trainer who can give you individual attention and a great introduction to this workout that’s adapted to your current fitness level.
How quickly will you see results with Pilates?
Everyone responds differently to Pilates, but if you maintain a somewhat regular practice, you’ll see changes quickly. According to Joseph Pilates, the creator of Pilates: “10 sessions – feel the difference, 20 sessions – see the difference, 30 sessions – have a new body.”
Getting started with Pilates
Pilates can be done on a mat or with specialized equipment. Mat Pilates classes, like the 20 minute workout above, tend to focus on core work and require you to support the stabilization of your body. Pilates equipment, like the Cadillac or Reformer, gives you a frame to work within that is often more helpful than mat but can be more challenging when springs are added or taken away. Working on the equipment can also target and tone specific areas of your body very efficiently.
If you’re new to Pilates or fitness in general, it can be worthwhile to begin with a private Pilates session to get individualized attention and a more customized Pilates-based fitness program. You can also explore Pilates on your own and learn the Pilates basics with a beginners Pilates workout.
At MOVE Wellness, our memberships allow clients to individualize their experience by selecting from a movement menu of in-person or livestream options, with the expert support you need to meet your goals.
Ready to give Pilates a try? Call us today at 734-224-2306 to learn more or start now online. In addition to private training, MOVE Livestream offers more than 40 weekly interactive livestream classes you can take from the comfort and privacy of your own home. There are even two Pilates classes on the schedule specifically focused on core exercises for men.