Experts Reveal How Pilates Can Benefit Your Bod and Your Other Workouts
Promoting greater core strength and stability, improved muscle tone and definition, and advanced joint elasticity and flexibility, Pilates does a lot of good for the body. Yet for some reason, men don’t seem to be partaking. According to a 2013 Sports Marketing Survey, an estimated 16 percent of pilates participants in the U.S. are male. While that number has likely gone up a bit in the past few years, a lot of guys are still missing out on the benefits Pilates has to offer.
Dr. Lisa M. Webb, Pilates instructor and licensed clinical psychologist at Body-Mind Consulting, thinks this could be due to the false “perception that if there is not some major weight lifting or long-distance cardio involved, then the activity isn’t ‘really’ exercising, it isn’t ‘hard’ enough, or they won’t sweat when they do it,” she says. In reality, pilates, like many forms of exercise, can kick your ass if you approach it the right way. Plus, it comes with the added bonus of improving mobility – something a lot of men could benefit from.
Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Andy Dalton agrees “You think [Pilates] is more of a workout for women, then you go and do it once and you realize these girls are kicking your butt because they are already working the small muscle groups that [men] aren’t working all the time,” he says. “I really enjoy it. My wife was teaching mat classes in Cincinnati and I was recruiting teammates to come to her classes. It felt like we were always on the front row and all the girls behind us were laughing at us because they were dominating the workout and we were struggling through it.”
To help you get started on your Pilates journey, we called in a few of our favorite pilates experts and enthusiasts to help us break down the benefits of pilates and the best ways to incorporate it into a fitness routine.
What Is Pilates?
The Pilates method was actually invented by a man. According to Webb, Joseph Pilates, a skilled gymnast, skier, boxer, and self-defense expert, developed Pilates to keep his other internees’ bodies strong and survive internment during WWI.
Pilates routines involve a lot of controlled, slow movements. It can be done without equipment on a mat, on a reformer (a bed-like device with springs for muscle-strengthening), or on larger pieces of equipment like Megaformers or spring-loaded chairs. You can also incorporate tools, such as rings and balls to up the intensity of your Pilates workout.
Regardless of where it’s done or what tools are involved, “the focus of Pilates is not to ‘get the heart rate up’ but to strengthen the body, improve pelvic stability, and engage lower abdominal muscles … it challenges, strengthens, tones and stretches muscles in ways that they cannot get anywhere else,” says Webb.
Benefits of Pilates
1. Lengthen and Strengthen Muscles
You might hear the term ‘lean muscle’ thrown around when you look into Pilates. While all muscle is actually lean muscle, Pilates will help you lengthen your muscles while still building strength. “Pilates exercises are a form of dynamic stretching meaning you will be engaging one muscle group to lengthen an opposing muscle group,” says Elaine Starr, professional dancer and owner of Starr Pilates. Webb adds that “At first sight, [you might] see the subtlety of Pilates movements and fail to see that these movements are building strength.”
2. Develop Core Muscles and Stability
Speaking of strength. If you’re trying to develop abs of steel and improve your overall core strength, Starr and Webb say Pilates can help. Andy Dalton, too, says one of the specific reasons he took on Pilates was to improve his core strength, “Pilates works all the small muscles in your body and there’s so much core that comes with it – and core is so important for a quarterback,” he adds.
This article is from Askmen.com, you can read the full article here: