Pilates is one of the best ways to work on our core strength and can bring a drastic change in our body. Since Pilates leads to complete development of our body, it can be practiced by both men and women. In the last 50 years of its presence, Pilates has gained tremendous popularity the world over. While these exercises are important for women, Pilates for men has more benefits than one can imagine. After all, Pilates was conceptualized by a man, Joseph Pilates.
Although most of the people out there are familiar with the benefits of Pilates, men usually don’t know from where to start. The best thing about Pilates is that there are no strict rules. You can join a Pilates Studio to learn the basics and practice with the rest of your gang. Though, you can also learn some of its practices at the convenience of your home. Let’s get to know about Pilates and its importance for men in detail.
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Why Pilates is so Beneficial for Men?
As you know, Pilates exercises work on the entire body and help us strengthen our core. This is quite different from the standard workout for men. As most of the weightlifting and heavy lifting exercises are focused on a part-by-part approach. On the other hand, Pilates follows a more uniform approach by developing our core, body movement, shoulders, chest, and overall body flexibility.
This is done by following a “controlled” movement of the body, which is mostly focused on its core. In this way, our muscles are developed and our back is also strengthened. This is why Pilates is highly recommended for people suffering from back pain and related issues.
Not just that, Pilates also improves the overall flexibility of our body and leads to functional fitness instead of solely building muscles. You would feel more strength from deep within and your motion will be flexible. By following a restricted approach, one can work on whole-body fitness, which should be the end goal for every men and women.
Things to Know before starting Pilates for Men
Ideally, there isn’t a drastic difference between Pilates for women and men. Though, if you are new to it, then consider following these suggestions in advance.
- Although you can learn Pilates at home, the best way to do it is by taking professional help. You can join a class or go to a studio to be familiar with the basics. While you might see more women in the classes, you should try to blend in and don’t get intimidated. You never know, you might end up meeting your next workout buddy.
- Ideally, there is no major difference in Pilates workout for men and women. It has been observed that men have tighter muscles in the lower half of their body. Therefore, you might find it hard to do some exercises until your body becomes more flexible. If you want, you can talk to your instructor for a more personalized approach.
- After being familiar with the basics, you might modify some exercises. A lot of people consider their body structure, end goals, flexibility, etc. while doing so. You can also talk to your instructor before making these changes.
- Pilates is a complete mind-body exercise that will not only strengthen your body, but will also help you clear your mind. This is one of the major reasons why Pilates is highly recommended for men as it can be a stress buster.
- You should also consider working on a few Pilates equipment in the studio. For instance, a reformer is one of the most important tools in Pilates studio that can change the way you move your body.
- When you customize your Pilates workout, consider your overall fitness regimen in mind. Some men only do Pilates workout for 20-30 minutes a day. A lot of people do it on alternate days or right before lifting weights. Pilates can also be your pre-workout ritual as it can warm your body for a subsequent heavy workout session. Ideally, it would all depend on your goals, the kind of body you need, your present structure, body strength, and numerous other factors.
Recommended Pilates Workout for Men
Now when you know the importance of Pilates and how it can be a vital part of your workout, let’s step it up a little. Here are some of the best exercises for men that you can consider adding to your routine as well.
- Pelvic Curl
Most of the people start Pilates with this basic move. While it is quite easy to do, it is extremely beneficial for our back and also helps us become more flexible. To start with, simply lie down on your back with your hands resting on the side. Press your arms down and inhale. Bend your knees and try to lift your tailbone while exhaling. Raise your body till your upper spine and hold it for 2-3 seconds. Gradually, move backward and reset in the initial position.
- The Curl
While Pelvic Curl will move your tailbone and strengthen your pelvic muscles, this one will build up your shoulders. In this, instead of lifting the tailbone, we will be moving our chest. Firstly, lie down in a resting position and bend your knees. Cross your arms and let your head rest. Now, as you exhale, try to lift your chin up towards your chest. You can hold that position for a few seconds before gradually resting your neck again. Make sure you move it slowly and don’t apply too much pressure on your neck muscles.
- Leg Switch
If you want to give your leg day a perfect start, then this would be an ideal exercise. When you are resting on the mat (on your back), take the tabletop position. That is, you need to move your legs to a 90-degree position. Keep your arms down and knees together, applying more pressure to your abdominal muscles. Now, alternatively touch your one toe to the ground and move it back to the tabletop position. You can repeat this 10-20 times to start with. Just make sure that your spine is not inclined or angled while doing so.
- The Hundred
This is one of the best exercises to strengthen your core. As you lay on the mat, keep your hands straight and bend your knees inward. It is recommended to stretch our hands before with our palms towards the mat. Now, as you exhale, you can slowly lift your neck upward without putting a lot of strain on it. At the same time, lift your knees at a 45-degree angle. You can consider stretching your toes to attain an ideal position. Pump your arms and breathe 2-3 times while holding the position. Come back to the resting position slowly when you are done.
This is one of the most popular exercises that you must have already seen before. When you lie down on the mat, place your elbows behind and let your head rest on your palms. As the name suggests, you need to move in a crisscross manner. That is, when you move your left elbow, you need to move your right knees and bring it towards the chest. Come back to the original position and do the same with the opposite set. This will work on your whole-body movement.
- Supine Twist
If you think your hips and lower body is not being flexible enough, then you can practice this mobility exercise. Firstly, stretch your arms and let your palms face the roof in an upward direction. Now, gradually move your knees at 90-degrees, making a tabletop position. Use your abdominal muscles to slide your legs to one side and gradually twist them to another. In this way, you would be able to twist from one direction to another gently.
- Back Extension
This is one of the simplest yet most effective exercises for back relief. If you have a desk job or suffers from back pain, then you should certainly practice this daily. Firstly, lie on a mat on your stomach (with your face facing the floor). Now, tighten your abdominal muscles and draw your stomach in. Gradually, lift your head with your neck and even stretch your toes. Maintain it for a few seconds and slightly put your head down. While doing so, be sure the pressure should not be applied to your lower back, but on your shoulders and upper back instead.
Now when you know about some of the best Pilates routines, you can certainly come up with a customized fitness regimen. There are tons of other exercises for men that you can further explore in Pilates. A lot of times, practices like Pilates for men are even evolved into Crossfit and other common calisthenics exercises. You can also include Pilates in your pre or post-workout plan as well to work on your body as a whole. Since Pilates will help you attain a complete body movement, it will meet your fitness goals and would be beneficial for your overall health. Go ahead and recommend it to other guys as well and be sure to work together!
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