Pilates for men

Tags: Good Living
Pilates for men
The other day, a client of mine commented, “I wonder why everyone says Pilates is for women, it’s hard!” I smiled to myself and pointed out that people easily forget that the exercising system was created by a man, and a lot of his development work was done on men who were German soldiers in WWI. It was and still is an extremely athletic and challenging system. Joseph H Pilates was himself an anatomical chart model, bodybuilder, boxer, gymnast and dancer. He developed a system that provides a method for obtaining true strength, structural alignment, increased athletic performance and injury prevention.

Well into his 70’s, Pilates embodied the classical Greek ideal of male physique because of his own his system of life-enhancing physical exercises. If you still wonder if men should do Pilates, have a look at his photos from that age. Top sports stars like David Beckham and Andy Murray incorporate Pilates in staying on top of their game as do NBA giants Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Jason Kidd.

Pilates training gives a body strength which is deep and long lasting. Very often, more conventional systems of exercise neglect the deeper, intrinsic muscles necessary for true strength while developing your muscles that have aesthetic appeal. Pilates is great to help one recover from damaged muscle tears, and damaged ligaments and tendons. It improves not only the flexibility but also the range of motion of muscles in the body.

A healthy muscle is flexible and strong, while a weak muscle is rigid and tight. The balanced approach to strength training advocated by Pilates practitioners results in a body with strong muscles that are not limited by a one-dimensional approach to working out.

In fact, Pilates can have a profound effect on a competitive athlete’s performance, regardless of the sport. The structural alignment Pilates imparts helped improve his running mechanics, and reduces the chance of injury. One of the most important benefits of Pilates is injury prevention. Sports such cricket, football, lawn tennis and golf, work the body asymmetrically, creating muscle imbalances. Such imbalances are the root cause of many injuries. Pilates corrects these imbalances and improves posture. It improves the elasticity of ligaments and tendons also get improved. Pilates not only strengthens the core but also increases intercostal muscle strength, which in turn, improves lung capacity.

Now for those readers who are not into sports, Pilates will improve your core strength, flexibility, balance, uniform development, and efficient movement patterns. All these are hallmarks of Pilates training and highly are relevant to men’s fitness. This integrative component of Pilates can be especially beneficial for men. Pilates teaches you how to learn to move your body more efficiently through the core and it demands exacting alignment. The core training goes beyond the superficial muscles, and needs far more subtle attention and micro-adjustments than they usually never come across, and trust me when I tell you it is not only welcome but also a very necessary addition.

(The author is a wellness expert and runs a fitness centre in New Delhi)

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