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Can Men Do Pilates?

Posted Aug 24 2008 3:43pm

This seems like a silly question, but its one that actually comes up a lot. Many men assume they know what a pilates class is going to be like (a bunch of women) and what pilates is all about (like yoga, but for ballet dancers) and what the class is going to be like (a lot of deep breathing and stretching).

Hey, its not just some men who make those assumptions, some women make those assumptions, too! But this is a post about men and pilates... before we go any further, let me just take a moment to point out that:

Joseph Pilates himself WAS A MAN. So... of course men do pilates. They have been since the first day pilates was invented.

It might be true that there are usually more women than men in pilates classes, but that doesn't mean anything, really.

Over the years as a pilates instructor, I've taught many men pilates in group classes and private sessions. I even used to teach a class, Pilates For Men, at the local community college. I've seen pilates improve golf and tennis games, decrease stress, and increase flexibility so long commuter flights are less uncomfortable and sitting at a desk is less painful. Pilates is also a great way for couples to bond together healthfully.

Of course, the anatomy of a man is different than that of a woman, and I'm not talking about the obvious differences. Men tend to be less flexible in the hamstrings and spine, with more upper body strength. In some cases, modifications for the exercises need to be made until greater flexibility is achieved. Other than lack of flexibility (which can also be true for women), little else is different between what men can and can't do compared with women in pilates.

If you're a man who wants to try pilates, but you think its too girly, you better get yourself into a pilates studio to learn something! Joseph Pilates was a boxer, who used weights in combination with his equipment in his original studio to train other athletes. Its best not to decide what pilates is like before taking a class, go see for yourself first.

Pilates can also be an interesting journey mentally. I've seen men subconsciously try to initiate each exercise from the upper body, not the core, like they should be. I've seen men try to power through a class, without thinking of proper form, which will actually bring quicker and greater results than muscling through.

Putting yourself in a position of learning a whole new way of exercising can bring great rewards in your personal, professional, and athletic life.

Taking the time to notice how you feel before, during, and after an exercise, finding your mind-body connection, learning how to truly "work from your center"- all of these lessons can be translated into other areas of your life.

Check out this post I wrote about Pilates Myths, one is about men doing pilates:

Read more!

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