Here’s why it’s good for most everybody
Pilates focuses on the abdominal region (commonly known as the powerhouse or core) as the basis of movement. Activating the core muscles begins in a precise and controlled method, sometimes called the “SCOOP” and works the deep abdominal muscles, hip/buttock muscles, shoulder girdle, pelvic girdle, and the muscles surrounding the spine.
By emphasizing proper breathing, correct spinal and pelvic alignment, and concentration on smooth, flowing movement, you become acutely in tune with your body. You actually learn how to control its movement through the stability of your core muscles. In Pilates the quality of movement is valued over quantity of repetitions. Some exercises are so precise and controlled doing only a few are all that is needed. Modification to the exercises is key here. The essence of Pilates remains the same, but it can be taught to the specific needs of an individual.
Pilates is for Men and Women Alike!
Pilates and men? Pilates was started by a man, Joseph Pilates; it’s been a training vehicle for elite athletes, both men and women, for over 50 years; and men have figured prominently as instructors and promoters of the Pilates method throughout its history.
Though men have always been part of the Pilates scene, the surge of popularity that Pilates has enjoyed in recent years has been powered to a large extent by a wave of women participants and instructors, leaving some with the impression that the Pilates method is more for women. Fortunately, this idea is quickly dissolving. Pilates is one of the fastest growing fitness trends in the world, and men are definitely taking advantage of Pilates many benefits.
There is nothing specifically different about Pilates training for men, especially in the beginning. The Pilates method is the same for all. Developed on a man’s body, and taught with input from both men and women, Pilates is founded on healthy movement principles for the human body in general. Men might find that their muscles are a little tighter than womens’, especially in the hips and hamstrings, but exercises can be easily modified to allow those areas to stretch out gradually. Modification of exercises is commonplace in Pilates, allowing it to meet a variety of needs in practitioners.
Strengthening postural muscles is a key component in Pilates exercises. Most of us know good posture when we see it, and we are inspired by how free and strong it makes a person look, but there are so many reasons to work on your posture that go beyond appearance. Here are just a few benefits of good posture; pain relief throughout the body, including back and neck pain, hip pain, leg and foot pain; more efficient movement by improved muscle function and range of motion; less stress on joints, tendons and connective tissue; and improved circulation and breathing.
Pilates for Athletes
Sports performance is greatly improved because Pilates builds balanced muscle development, core strength and flexibility through efficient and purposeful movement. Many conventional workouts practiced by athletes build strength and mass in specific muscle groups, but ignore others. This leads to weak muscles getting weaker and strong muscles getting stronger, but overworked. The result is muscular imbalance – a primary cause of injury and deteriorating athletic performance. In Pilates, no one muscle group is overly trained.
You will learn how to move efficiently–Pilates exercises train several muscle groups at once in smooth, continuous movements. By developing proper technique, you can actually re-train your body to move in safer, more efficient patterns of motion – invaluable for injury recovery, sports performance, good posture and optimal health.
Combat the Effects of Aging
Pilates is a non-impact exercise program that builds a strong, flexible and fit body to support you into old age. Many of the exercises are performed in reclining or sitting positions, yet are weight bearing to reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis. Pilates is so safe, it is used in physical therapy facilities to rehabilitate injuries. It is also an extremely flexible exercise system. Modifications to the exercises allow for a range of difficulty from beginners, those post rehab, all the way to advanced practitioners. At each of these levels, the workout is modified to suit you now, and intensity increases as your body conditioning improves. To restate from above, the essence of Pilates remains the same, but it should always be taught to the specific needs of the individual.