Why Men Should do Pilates
There are many reasons why Men Should do Pilates:
- Strengthen Your Abdominal Core Musculature
Looks are important, but a stronger back, reduced back pain, spinal support, are some the benefits of Pilates training. First, lets talk about looks. Having a six-pack looks great but only when you have a slim waistline to go with the six-pack. Strong obliques and deep transversus abdominis muscles provide you with that narrow waistline. Of course, diet and low body fat must be in place. The six pack forms when you train your superficial rectus abdominis muscle that runs up and down the abdomen, not the sides. However, overtraining this muscle might cause muscle imbalances and your deeper muscles may still remain weak. Pilates exercise still trains your superficial muscles so that you can enjoy the six-pack look, but classical
- Pilates preferentially recrtuits the deeper layers, so that you can strengthen from the deep core. This in turn this helps reduce the size of your waistline by giving you a corset-effect, as the fibres run horizontally and obliquely around your waist. Moreover, these deeper muscles help support your lower back and may help in reducing back pain.
Strengthen your joints
Classical Pilates exercise works on using your own your body weight and our reformer machines provide spring resistance. The work focuses on joint mobility and sequential articulation. The muscles you target are deeper stabilising muscles that support all the work you do at the gym. Increase your bench and shoulder press load. If you are a gym-goer, you will improve your lifting strength as your support musculature will be able to support the bigger power producing muscles. For example, your serrattus anterior muscles, used often in Pilates exercise, will strengthen, thus allowing you to stabilise your scapulae and therefore increase your pectorals work when you chest press.
Often we forget about how important is to maintain your muscles at a functional length. Shortened muscles can often cause imbalances that lead to wear and tear in the wrong places. For example, shortened chest muscles, often overtrained in weight lifting or other sporting activities (pectorals major and minor), cause the shoulder blade (scapula) to go migrate forwards. As a result, the shoulder sets in the wrong position and will wear and tear the tendons of the rotator cuff much faster leading to shoulder pain and pathologies.
Pilates exercises stretch your muscles actively. The classical technique does not hold positions, rather, you move through and lengthen your muscles with every repetition, thus preserving the tendons and ligament integrity.
- Improved posture
Is your head on top of your shoulders? Spot check yourself throughout the day. If your head is forward and you slouch, you might want to join our Pilates classes. Most of us nowadays spend longer periods of time on front of a computer or over hunched our mobile phones. Postural fatigue is a great look!
A forward head posture means that your upper back muscles and neck front muscles are overstretched and weak, your back neck muscles are short and tight. Your lower back must bear more weight as the head weights 1/8 of our entire body weight. Over time, our neck joints degenerate, so as our lower back. A lot more energy is expended on a poor posture.
Pilates exercises definitely help strengthen your postural muscles and our contemporary method aims to restore the natural curves of your spine.
- Body Awareness
You may take it for granted, but as we age, we lose body awareness and perception of where our bodies are in space. We age and often become clumsy and less agile.
- Increased Joint Mobility
“You are as old as your spine is” said Joseph Pilates. Ahead of his age in many ways, Joseph recognised that our spines and joints stiffen and atrophy if not moved. This doesn’t mean just walking around, but moving the spine sequentially, or separating its movement rather than gross movements. This is called articulation. Can your spine articulate in many planes as it did 10 years ago? If the answer is no, then you are due to move your spine like a ripple in every plane: flexion, extension, rotation, side bending and in combined planes. This is why the classical Pilates method is different to the dynamic Pilates workout.
Mindful movement. Pilates exercise uses a breath pattern for every movement, which encourages relaxation and mindfulness. But don’t be fooled, Pilates is a very athletic type of exercise. It was created by a man for athletes (gymnasts, boxers, etc) and dancers. Once you get into the advanced repertoire, the workout is definitely crazy hard. Not in a repetition, heavy-weights sort of way, but in a complex, concentration, control, coordination, muscular-connection sort of way.
Conversely, Pilates it is a mind-body type of exercise, and you need to concentrate in every move and control every muscle of your body and move through breath. This makes Pilates a mindful movement-type of exercise, very different from the circuit-style training or gym training. Practicing Pilates leaves you with a sense of relaxation and energised for the next task in hand. Breathing deeply has been associated with stimulation the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls or deals with homeostasis and the body at rest and is responsible for the body’s “rest and digest” function.
Blog written by Carlo Yanez
Registered Osteopath B.A.(Hons.), B.Ost.(Hons)
Fully certified STOTT PILATES® Instructor