Scrap what you’ve heard about its feminine nature, pilates can be just as thrilling and beneficial for men. And by men, we’re not talking about the new-age bloke who’s just grown a man bun after “finding himself” on a trip to India a few years back (when international travel was still a thing). We’re talking about you, mate.
With subtle, concentrated movements, plenty of men end up surprised at just how taxing on the body this workout can be, leaving them with a whole lot of definition a few months down the track, and a few other benefits ranging from better sex to being more mindful and conscientious in their daily routine.
Let’s break it down via a few simple reasons. Here are 5 benefits that’ll convince you to roll out the mat and make pilates as central to your weekly routine as strength training and cardio.
5 Reasons Men Should Be Practicing Pilates
Pilates Is A Simple Route To Better Flexibility
Generally speaking, the more muscle you have, the less flexible you are. No one’s promising you’ll walk away as a human pretzel, but incorporating regular pilates into your workout regime allows you to stretch and strengthen your limbs in ways you otherwise wouldn’t.
For those of you who sit at a desk all day, and slouch and swivel in your chair, pilates will iron out those kinks you’ve been feeling in your neck, spine, and hip flexors, thanks to the range of motion and fluid movements your instructor will walk you through.
Injury Recovery, Injury Prevention
When you’re injured it can really eat away at your motivation, seeing as a whole lot of exercise is off limits during this time. Pilates trainers are well equipped to tailor your workout in a way that much more gently supports your recovery and builds up strength gradually in key areas. Pilates has proven to be a much quicker and safer way to work through both short term and long term injuries.
Pilates Helps Builds Strength, Equally
Training weights day in and day out, or only prioritising cardio, can lead to an imbalance in strength across your body. Pilates is a really effective way to shift your focus and pay a little more attention to those smaller muscle groups that provide the foundations for balance and posture. You’ll feel the burn in an entirely new way, but just know this is your body thanking you for the chance to bend and move and re-energise.
Think of it as taking care of the smaller details that may be missed during a typical gym session, giving you a much better and more-rounded physique.
Increased Sexual Satisfaction (And Performance)
Pilates has in fact been proven to increase sexual satisfaction for both you and your partner. A huge focus within the workouts is igniting strength in the pelvic floor; so by stimulating these muscles and increasing blood flow to your sexual organs, you’ll have greater control over your downstairs all while increasing the level of sensitivity. A quickie becomes quality.
Pilates Goes Hand-In-Hand With Conscious Living
By practicing pilates you become a little more in tune with your breath, focusing on the here and now, and prioritising how your body and mind is feeling at that exact point in time. Reaching a meditative state can be quite hard for some, but via this workout many people walk away with the aspiration to move a little more mindfully throughout their day to day life. It’s great way to declutter the brain and feel a sense of calm, which in turn spills over to immeasurable benefits in just about every aspect of your life, from work to play.
Some of the most successful people in the world swear by mindfulness techniques and meditation, and pilates is most definitely playing in the same ball game. Plus, a clearer, calmer mind helps with presence, and presence in turn invariably boosts charisma. There are no losses here, only benefits.
How Often Should You Do Pilates?
Of course, everyone’s needs are going to be different. The best way to incorporate pilates into your weekly routine, like most things, is to steadily ease in and build the habit via steps which complement your schedule. John Keats, founder of group fitness hub Vive Active, recommends adding a session or two each week for maximum physical performance and to take advantage of all the health benefits pilates offers.
After your first few, don’t be shocked if it isn’t what you expected.
“The amount of men the walk out of our studio utterly surprised by the intensity of the work out still makes me laugh,” says Keats, who obviously agrees that the idea of pilates not being for men as well as just a bunch of bullshit.