Discover the incredible benefits that Pilates has for men, whether they be professional athletes or just new to fitness.
In recent years, the Pilates phenomenon has added several professional athletes to its list of devotees, including LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Jake Arreita and Antonio Brown, just to name a few. Professional football teams like the Washington Redskins and the Pittsburgh Steelers also incorporate Pilates into their training regimes. Why? Because it works!
Athletes need to have their bodies in top shape, to be able to provide power and stability from their core, to change directions quickly and to have superb control over every part of their body. Those are just are four reasons why Pilates is the perfect training modality to get that extra performance edge. Additionally, competition at the highest levels takes a huge toll on the body, and Pilates provides a workout that is less stressful on the joints.
Whether men enter your studio looking to perform at an elite level, to get fitter or to rehab from an injury, Pilates has innumerable benefits. In an interview in Pilates Style magazine, NFL tight end Martellus Bennett said that he was hooked after just one lesson. “I can lift 500 pounds, but in a Pilates session, there’s always some different type of motion that’s hard for me to do. That’s what’s so great about it.”
For men who drive or sit a lot for work, Pilates is a way of developing neglected muscle groups, balancing the muscles, mobilizing the spine and joints, and improving posture.
“Pilates was created by a man for men,” says Peak Pilates Master Instructor Jamie Isaac. “There’s so much physicality within the classical work. When men realize this, they really connect with the method.”
Years ago, a world cup kite surfer sought out Jamie ( who is a talented surfer himself) for Pilates training. Since then, many elite surfers have come to Jamie for help on their training. Jamie says his surfing clients often aren’t sure what to expect, but very soon, they discover how Pilates enables them to work and train harder. As a result, their performance improves. They surf and kite with more control, more power, stay safer and make fewer mistakes.
In 2010, soccer star David Beckham was determined to make England’s World Cup team at the age of 35. In order to compete against younger and faster players, he added Pilates to his training repertoire. His Manchester United teammate, Ryan Giggs, also devoted more training time to Pilates, and he credits his longer career to his Pilates training.
“Being referred to Pilates by weight lifting coaches and CrossFit trainers takes the ‘girly’ intimidation factor away from Pilates,” says Peak Pilates MI Mikko Utecht, the director of MU Health Group in Helsinki, Finland. “It provides competitors an opportunity to increase body awareness that crosses over to weight lifting performance. CrossFitters joke that it is easier to do a 'clean and jerk' than to do Pilates because of how much control they need in a Pilates session.” Many male athletes find their way to Mikko’s studio is through collaborations with Olympic weight lifting and CrossFit gyms.
Performing Pilates regularly develops the 4 S’s—Stability, Strength, Stretch, and Stamina. These are great benefits for everybody regardless of whether they are competing in sports or just want a higher quality lifestyle. “Telling men that we can improve strength and stamina, will sound much more appealing than telling us we will develop longer, leaner muscles,” observes Jamie. “Throw in the core stability concept, and we’ll be ready to give Pilates a try! Get a guy doing the physical, classical work, like at Peak, and they’ll fall in love with Pilates. Classical Pilates also develops the critical rhythm and timing skills, and control necessary for peak performance that are often missing from other workouts.”
This article was written by Zoey Trap, MS.
Special thanks to Peak Pilates® Master Instructors Jamie Isaac (Fluid Life Pilates in Vista, California) and Mikko Utecht (My Training Studio, Helsinki, Finland) for their invaluable contributions to this article.