Tue 15th Feb: Do men do Pilates?

Do men do Pilates?

It's a definite yes!

A high proportion of men who come to see me for an assessment have been booked in by their partners who either know their men should do Pilates to improve their posture or  that they need to work their core to alleviate back pain. My male clients tell me initially they have been put off because they think the class is going to be all women or they think Pilates won't challenge them enough. One man recently said to me: "I don't want to just be doing breathing exercises for an hour".

I'm not quite sure where his notion of breathing exercises for a whole hour had come from but this myth was quickly disspelled as I taught him the principles and the basics of Pilates on his body and how we can challenge the core simply by changing positioning of the body or a limb.

The truth of the matter is Pilates is as challenging as it needs to be for that person, man or woman, if taught correctly. If you don't understand the principles of Pilates on your own body then it becomes a set of exercises to follow rather than to feel. This "feeling" the exercise or awareness is what we take  away from a Pilates lesson and it is what makes the lasting difference in our everyday activities.

An example of this is the Pelvic tilt. In a Pilates lesson we learn this movement in different positions and are taught  to move slowly and with control, being aware of the bones moving, the muscles that produce the movement and maybe using some visualisations to help. Pelvic positioning is so important in good sitting and standing posture and small adjustments  can have huge positive effects. While you're reading this now try this:

Place your feet firmly on the floor and  picture the bones of your pelvic bowl. Underneath, your sit bones rest on the chair and the pelvic floor is between your sit bones at the back and your pubic bone at the front.

Your abdominal contents are held in the front of your pelvic bowl and your lower back forms the middle part of the back of your pelvic bowl. Your navel and a line around your middle marks the top of the bowl.

Feel now, how your pelvic position can change the shape of your spinal curves. Slouch and feel how your pelvis tilts backwards, your pubic bone lifts away from the chair and your spine follows this movement, making a C shape. If you then press your pubic bone down into the chair, your pelvis is now tilting forwards and your spine straightens then arches. To gain good posture and muscle balance you need to find a mid-way position, we call it neutral pelvis and spine. Explore this on your own body now by slowly repeating the pelvic tilts and spinal slouch and arch . Repeat until you find a midway point between these 2 extreme positions. You are sitting tall and balanced.

This is an excerpt from our download "Pilates in sitting". www.ipilates.co.uk

And just in case you're still wondering, at my Pilates studio in Wilmslow, the percentage of men in a class varies from 3 to 8 in a class of 12 people and 50% of my one to one clients are male.