One of the biggest misconceptions out there is that Pilates is just for women (another one is that it’s easy, but that’s a whole other myth for another day). Although women outnumber men in most Pilates classes – my classes tend to average one or two men to every dozen or so women – the benefits to men are just as prevalent. In fact, Pilates was created by a man (boxer Joseph Pilates).
Pilates is based on functional fitness, which can help to increase strength, balance, flexibility, coordination, endurance and range of motion throughout the body. Focused on building core strength – through the abdominals, back and hips – Pilates engages the smaller muscles in the body that are often missed in weight-based strength workouts. The exercises are designed to hit the deeper, often under-developed muscles that lead to weaknesses, and potential injuries, in the body. And if you’re doing your cardio, you may even (finally!) find the solution to uncovering that sexy six-pack.
Many athletes have turned to Pilates to help them improve their game. A strong core allows athletes to lift heavier weight without compromising form, and improved posture can also lead to more efficient breathing. In fact, sports-specific Pilates classes have started to pop up across the country, focused specifically in improving your golf or tennis game.
Still need a little convincing? Professional athletes who have turned to Pilates include:
- Basketball players Jason Kidd (see what he has to say about Pilates here), Lebron James and Kobe Bryant
- Football players Calvin Johnson and Ruben Brown
- Baseball players Curt Schilling and James Loney
- Golfer Tiger Woods
- Rugby player Ugo Monye
- Hockey Player Carlo Colaiacovo
Many professional sports teams, including the Minnesota Timberwolves, New Jersey Nets, Orlando Magic, Washington Wizards, Milwaukee Brewers, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders, also include Pilates in their strength and conditioning regimen.
So, men, don’t be afraid of that room full of ladies. You’ll gain strength, flexibility, coordination, and improved overall sports performance – and maybe even finally see that six-pack you’ve been working toward. You never know, play your cards right, you might even get a date out of it (just don’t be creepy about it!) 😉