Pilates IS for Men!

Men joke with me all the time that Pilates is for girls…I find it hilarious because it’s so NOT true! Pilates was created by a man, Joseph Pilates. He created this form of exercise to strengthen his entire body. Some of the exercises he designed were done only by men, no woman allowed!

Joseph Pilates had a background in boxing and was a self-defense instructor for detectives at Scotland Yard. Nothing girly about that, right? The man was even asked my German officials to teach his fitness method to their army – but he declined, as he didn’t agree with their political views.

Somewhere along the line Pilates, as a form of exercise, became more popular with women. But don’t let that fool you! Men are realizing the potential for Pilates training, although they still have to get past the stigma of it being “women’s exercise”. Men tend to strengthen the body from the outside rather than from the inside as Pilates does. Pilates will make them start to think about their body and its function differently. In particular, they will start thinking about their “core”. Ultimately they will find that they transfer all that they learn in the pilates studio to the other sports or activities they do.

Whether you workout on the mat, Reformer or Tower Pilates is a demanding form of exercise.Check out the video for a little taste:

To squeeze or not squeeze the buttocks… the Big question!

Getting bouncy buns, strong buttocks and a lifted bottom doesn’t come from what you think it does. It 100% does NOT come from squeezing your seat or buttocks. All that squeezing you’ve been doing…it ain’t doing what you think. If you do squeeze your buttocks constantly in all exercises, it actually causes more harm than good.  This can hurt you. You see, when you squeeze your seat/sit bones/narrow your sit bones, etc., you are actually causing  a tremendous amount of compression at the hip joint and the very low back (the sacroiliac joint L5-S1) joint.

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Are you really practicing Pilates, the real one initially called Contrology?

When practicing Pilates, you should expect to move physically and be mentally challenged, and even break a sweat. Your workout will traditionally begin on the Reformer or Mat which is the foundation of your training. The goal of the Method is to systematically develop your mind’s ability to control each full-body exercise from your “powerhouse” (core). Joe stated, “Contrology begins with mind control over muscles”. As a newbie, you’ll probably feel surprised at the subtle intensity of even beginner exercises. It almost feels like re-learning how to move, but in ways that feel energizing, efficient, and pain-free.

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Stretching: The Truth

While static stretching is still almost universally practiced among amateur athletes — watch your child’s soccer team next weekend — it doesn’t improve the muscles’ ability to perform with more power, physiologists now agree. “You may feel as if you’re able to stretch farther after holding a stretch for 30 seconds,” McHugh says, “so you think you’ve increased that muscle’s readiness.” But typically you’ve increased only your mental tolerance for the discomfort of the stretch. The muscle is actually weaker.

Stretching muscles while moving, on the other hand, a technique known as dynamic stretching or dynamic warm-ups, increases power, flexibility and range of motion. Muscles in motion don’t experience that insidious inhibitory response. They instead get what McHugh calls “an excitatory message” to perform.

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Joseph Pilates

Kick off your shoes and walk around barefootedto experience some of the underappreciated benefits of strong feet.

Instead of supporting the arch with orthotics or recommending rigid motion control running shoes, I typically tell my patients to take off their shoes and strengthen their feet. Why?  Because that’s how are feet were intended to function.  The more we use our toes and walk without shoes, the stronger our feet become and the more resistant to injury they become.  You don’t lift weights with mittens on, or do shoulder exercises with a sling on do you?  The same with our feet.

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