Busted: 3 myths keeping men out of Pilates
Can men do pilates? Everyone can benefit from Pilates. It strengthens your body while honing flexibility and stability. Because it’s suitable for all fitness levels, you don’t even need to be flexible to start: you can just work within everyday ranges of motion and still feel that satisfying muscle burn of a job well done. And on top of that, Pilates is the perfect at-home workout – the Pilates classes I teach on Centr don’t require any equipment.
Despite the benefits of Pilates as a challenging bodyweight workout, men still shy away from it. I’ve got news for you guys: those mental obstacles are holding you back from this amazing opportunity to maximize fitness gains and everyday athletic ability.
As Centr's resident Pilates expert, I’m going to bust the top three myths keeping men away from Pilates, so you can stop missing out and start reaping the rewards. I also asked Hollywood stuntman Bobby Holland Hanton, who joined me for a few Pilates sessions during filming for the Centr Align program, to offer his perspective as a muscle-bound man on the mat.
Professional stuntman Bobby Holland Hanton used Pilates to recover from a devastating back injury.
Myth 1: "It's not that hard."
Tell that to my abs! After an intense Pilates session, you’re really going to feel it. This workout focuses on core strength, your body’s powerhouse muscles. Without a strong core, the rest of your workouts can suffer, not to mention your posture and spinal health. Bobby agrees: “To do anything physical, particularly anything that's explosive, your core needs to be engaged, intact, and strong. Pilates is amazing for that.”
Pilates also targets glute and hamstring strength, thoracic mobility and opens through the chest – all things you need to combat a sedentary lifestyle. It’s a full-body workout combining your major muscles for targeted, effective, low-impact conditioning and strength. Pilates is so much more than a few exercises for a flat stomach. This will engage muscles you never knew you had, and work them hard.
Myth 2: "It's a workout for women."
Joseph Pilates, the man who developed this exercise style, had a background in boxing, gymnastics and martial arts.
Still, I hear people say 'it's just a bit of stretching' or 'it's easy' or even 'it's just for women, right?' In fact, it’s a tough workout for anybody. Because these are bodyweight exercises, it can be an especially hard workout for men who are more muscular and top-heavy. Pilates offers men a real challenge they won’t find elsewhere – particularly in flexibility and mat work. If you’re interested, you don’t have to find a full-on Pilates class: try it out at home with Centr and see what it’s all about.
“It's very, very strenuous training on the body,” Bobby says. “You really feel like you've worked out. You feel amazing afterward.”
Pilates offers men a real challenge they won’t find elsewhere – particularly in flexibility and mat work.
Sylvia and her husband Breaker caught mid-back extension.
Myth 3: "I already do a different workout, I don't need to do Pilates too."
Pilates is the perfect complementary exercise for whatever workout or sport you’re already doing. In fact, it improves overall athletic ability. Whether you’re a surfer, golfer or martial artist, you can integrate Pilates strength and stability into every other activity. When I watch football, I can immediately pick out the players that need to be doing Pilates. Namely, the ones that need more flexibility, mobility and agility in their movements.
By strengthening your joints and foundation muscles, it can also help prevent injuries in your other sports or workouts. Not only that but if you are injured, it can be an amazing low-impact rehabilitation exercise to keep you physically fit while you recover and help you bounce back stronger than ever.
As a professional ballet dancer, Sylvia relied on Pilates to maintain her body. Now she’s an accredited Pilates teacher and co-founder of Vie Pilates on the Gold Coast. Renowned for bringing the burn, Sylvia’s Pilates workouts boost mobility and strengthen mind-body connection to help you take your fitness to the next level.
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