The original name for what is now known as Pilates was ‘Contrology’. The reason for this name was because Joseph Pilate’s aim was to help people take back control of their bodies.
It is ironic that when he developed this type of exercise it was primarily for men, but as the popularity has grown around the world classes are now mainly attended by women. Joseph Pilates was a Wrestler and a Boxer and was from Germany in 1888, he went to London in the early 1900s and taught self-defense to Scotland Yard, while he was there World War 1 broke out and because he was German he was sent to a German POW camp on the Isle of Man.
During his time there he was asked if he could help rehabilitate the injured soldiers and Joseph started pulling their beds apart and used the springs from the beds to add resistance for exercises and this is the origins of what is now known as the Trapeze Table and the Pilates Reformer. Years later Joseph moved to New York and opened his first studio on Broadway, this is when all the dancers from the theatres on Broadway started attending the studio.
From then on Pilates has grown consistently in popularity, but it has become an exercise done mainly by women, although it was developed for men and here are some important reasons why men should do it;
Benefits of Pilates for Men
There are many other benefits of Pilates for men. In fact, Pilates was developed by a man, for men. The circumstance that led to it becoming popular for women is simply because it has so many health benefits; it develops long lean muscles and it is versatile enough to be suitable for all age groups and ability levels.
Here are just some of the many benefits men can gain from regularly practicing Pilates:
- Reduces Lower Back Pain
Most people will have lower back pain (LBP) at some point in their lives. Pilates is used in the treatment and prevention of LBP by physiotherapists and many other health practitioners. Pilates teaches how to support the lower back and how to strengthen or increase flexibility in certain muscles groups that cause LBP.
In addition to this, Pilates largely focuses on correcting other postural imbalances that lead to discomfort and pain in other areas of the body.
- Improves Sports Performance
Pilates is undoubtedly one of the top forms of exercise for injury prevention and rehabilitation, this is why many of today’s top sports stars like LeBron James, (Basketball) & Andre Ward, (Boxing) do Pilates. In addition to that, Pilates can help enhance your sporting performance in the following ways:
- Improving coordination and balance
- Increasing functional strength and power
- Correcting postural imbalances
- Developing the mind-body connection, which in turn creates enhanced body awareness, concentration, and focus
So whether you play basketball, tennis, soccer in your local team on weekends, enjoy the regular game of golf with your mates or you’re a professional athlete, Pilates is certainly beneficial to your game. Also if you do other types of weight/strength training, Pilates is very beneficial in assisting you to engage the correct muscles when you go back to lifting weights and reducing the chances of an injury.
- Improves Prostate Health
Pelvic floor strengthening can assist in improving prostate health and can assist men who are recovering from Prostate issues or Prostate Cancer to recover quicker.
- Enhances Sexual Performance
Through the strengthening of your pelvic floor muscles, men are able to have greater control that leads them to last longer.
- Develops Neglected Muscle Groups
Pilates, as opposed to lifting weights at the gym, works different muscle groups that are often neglected. They are usually the deeper muscles that are responsible for support and need to be strong in order to facilitate the larger muscle groups.
- Improves Flexibility
A lot of men tend to skip this part of their workout routine. However, poor flexibility and movement is often cause for muscular pain and injuries. Many sports require a certain amount of flexibility in order to perform well and with agility. It also helps to do everyday activities with greater ease.
- Strengthens Core
Other than the many physical benefits of strengthening your core, like preventing LBP and performing everyday activities with more ease, Pilates is also great for toning the middle section — the trouble area for most men.
John Cawley is a Pilates Instructor at Oxygen Pilates who believes that every weakness can be turned into a strength and is passionate about instilling this belief with all clients. John has a lot of experience in helping clients who have had injuries, and is dedicated to helping everyone keep moving and leading a healthy lifestyle, with a big focus on movement, mobility and functional training.