I've been slacking on the Pilates lately, so my husband and I are going to get on the living room floor, come hell or high water, and belt out a session. I took a class a few years ago, and I really enjoyed it, but being time constrained as I always am, I decided to pursue Pilates at home. My husband knows the power of behind a good Pilates workout, but he wouldn't be caught dead doing it out in public, so he rolls around with me in the privacy of our own home. I think it's silly how most men, and a good number of women, have sissified notions of the practice. Pilates is a bitch, but I suppose it's closely associated with dancers and ice skaters and thus homophobes like to make the jump that it must be associated with homosexuals as well and not a "real" workout. When you see an expert Pilates practitioner in action, you'll notice there is the graceful pointing of toes and I think this is what turns off the men. My husband refuses to point his toes and he doesn't look nearly as graceful as his better half in his execution of the sport, but I guess it makes him feel better.
I even planned a Pilates club meeting for my running club and I think they enjoyed it, but this is an older stuck in their ways kind of crowd, and although they appreciated looking at the pretty Pilates instructor I invited to do the demonstration, I don't know if I recruited any converts to the discipline.
Pilates has gotten more recognition as a viable core strengthener, but when men incorporate Pilates maneuvers, they call it "core strengthening" and they totally eliminate the graceful toe pointing and the fluidity which I think is nice. Pilates is king in developing kick-ass core strength and almost every sport can benefit from having a stronger core--even sex! I like the natural flow of Pilates. I like yoga too, but yoga demands that you hold certain poses and this gets tedious and boring to me. In Pilates you are constantly moving, but concentrating on fluid controlled movements. It appeals to my base personality, I suppose, and even though I drift away from Pilates because I get wrapped up in other sport pursuits, I almost always return to Pilates for it's "balancing" effects on my body. After a week of sitting hunched over my desk in the work cave, my back hurts and one shoulder feels higher than the other...I start feeling like the Hunchback of Notredamn--there is nothing like a quick abdominal series or back series to straighten out the twisted consequences of my inactive desk job. No wonder women start to shrink the older we get. I'm already short....I can't get any shorter. Come on girls...let's work at maintaining our height!
In the lab, Sean incorporates a number of single Pilates type poses in his chamber workouts. For awhile, I thought running and Pilates would be the only cross-training I'd need to keep me running and injury free. I've since amended that, since I don't think Pilates works my legs enough. The side-lying side-series is probably the best way to build a stronger butt and get it looking just like those cute little dancer butts; yet from the butt down, however, Pilates on the mat probably doesn't provide enough resistance to adequately strengthen the legs from a running cross-training perspective. Seems there is no one magic bullet and my slowly evolving attitude is that any form of exercise is good...it's all good and I'll keep trying new things to keep things fresh and interesting and add new layers of strength.