Men can benefit greatly from this discipline of exercise. Use it as a complimentary session to your gym, running or soccer training regimes and see the difference.
Here are 5 reasons why getting down on the mats can be a great and worthwhile thing to do:
Discover muscles you thought you never had. Lifting weights, running, cycling and soccer all have you really working those big superficial muscles. You can certainly see and feel these working. Did you know that behind every movement there is another set of deeper muscles working just as hard? They are your postural or stabilising muscles and they are often neglected. Muscular imbalances through over training, targeting some muscle groups over others, injury and pain can alter the pattern of these muscles, causing weakness, further imbalance, poor posture, and perhaps even injury. Pilates exercises have you moving in a controlled thoughtful manner, targeting these very muscles. Pilates really gets you thinking about a new postural and movement awareness and what a handy thing to have back in the gym or in your daily life. And even better still, it will provide you with a new and improved movement efficiency – stronger and faster any one?
Gain flexibility. Pilates uses controlled and slowed loading and resistance, often with your own body weight. This allows muscles to strengthen in a lengthened position, giving greater flexibility to those muscle groups. This is called eccentric loading and contrasts to the concentric loading of weight lifting. Additionally, targeted strengthening of the deep postural muscles often allows a 'turning down' of the superficial muscle activity or tone, again allowing for more stretch and give in these larger muscles. Ever wondered why your hamstrings are always so tight and unresponsive to stretching? Perhaps it is over-activity that can be 'turned down' with an improved postural or core strength.
Improve your core strength. Everyone knows that core strength is a good thing- for spinal alignment and health, for improved control of your trunk when moving and for movement power and efficiency. Pilates has you concentrating on good trunk positioning and control, giving you the power for movement of your limbs. Exercises can be upgraded to really challenge this such as using postures over Swiss balls, planks or in one legged standing to name a few. With good postural awareness, slow controlled movement, correct breathing and core activation, you will gain amazing trunk and postural control. This benefit will transfer over into your sport and gym disciplines very well.
Live more mindfully. This is quite a Buddhist way of looking at life, but I am talking more about postural awareness, awareness of your 'poise', your breath, your muscle contractions deep within your pelvis and trunk. A new and balanced you in all you do.
Better bladder control and better sex. Pilates exercises really have you discovering 'down there.' Pelvic floor muscles sit at the base of your pelvis and assist in controlling your bladder and bowel habits, help you in sex and support your pelvic organs. Better awareness and strength in these muscles can help you with all of these functions.
Need any more convincing? Head over to Wikipedia and read about the principles of Pilates there
Then join a class and discover a new strength through Pilates.