Pilates Isn’t Just for Women
Originally called Contrology, Pilates was developed by Josef Pilates in an effort to help rehabilitate bedridden German soldiers during WWI. Using hospital bedsprings as resistance, Pilates’ theory was that these men had to concentrate on each movement, thus allowing the whole body to work and get stronger.
Post War, Pilates traveled to America where he continued rehabilitating injured soldiers, as well as training professional boxers and dances to help improve their sport and to become stronger. He also continued to improve his equipment, much of which is still the same as Pilates’ original design. He improved his exercise program and developed the basic principles of Pilates as a functional movement program whose focus is on maintaining proper posture and proper muscular patterning that is still used today. Because of these small controlled muscle pattern movements the body begins to strengthen the deeper muscles of the body, allowing for a stronger, more balanced overall body.
In recent years many professional athletes such as golfers, baseball, tennis and even NFL players have started adding Pilates to their training schedule to help improve their performance, allow for more flexibility and to help avoid or heal from injury in a more efficient manner. Maintaining proper posture and spinal positioning reduces the risk of low back tension, which can lead to low back pain/injury. This proper positioning also leads to a more precise swing or overhead movement such as throwing a football or baseball. This improved posture and stronger core helps take tension off other body parts of the body such as shoulders and wrist, allowing the body to work as one unit for a stronger, more efficient athletic performance.
Many male athletes who have incorporated Pilates into their training schedule have reported seeing improvement in their performance in doing both mat work as well as reformer workouts. With a mat workout you will be using more of your body’s weight as resistance to improve posture and inner core strength. In a reformer class, a client will be using the springs of the reformer as the “weight resistance” to assist in some movements to make them slightly more difficult. In either scenario the client will be performing exercises personally tailored to improve his athletic performance and over all body strength and flexibility.
If you are looking to improve your athletic performance or just want to switch up your work out, schedule a private session with Charlene or Ilene or join one of our classes so we can help you take your game to the next level.
This blog post was written by Charlene Greene, Certified Pilates Instructor