Joseph Pilates was an athletic man, which makes his life’s work a natural for men – too bad the true power of his method is misunderstood by many men choosing the gym instead. By using free weights and gigantic machines to train mostly the larger muscles groups, they virtually ignore the smaller muscles. Mr. Pilates understood not only that smaller muscles groups need attention too, but the deeper muscles, especially the ones on each side of the spine, were the secret to spinal health and longevity. He recognized that a supple spine meant efficient movement overall, and he advanced this understanding by inventing various apparatus so he himself could master the technique. Each exercise focuses on the balance of spinal strength and flexibility, and those progressions promote the use of the entire body, not just one body part.
The men I’ve worked with in the past and the ones I presently teach know that a “just show up and work,” attitude is the entry into this life-long practice, and their competitive nature motivates them to improve, succeed and give one hundred percent, each and every time. I especially appreciate working with male athletes because they don’t spend a lot of time chatting, sharing or processing and it makes my job simpler and more enjoyable. And in my view, one main reason for the ignorance about who benefits from the Pilates method, is that advertising largely pushes products and services using mostly female models, thus giving the perception that Pilates is mainly for women.
With more opportunities to share my work and knowledge of the Pilates method with both amateur and professional athletes, and to a greater extent, athletic teams, I’m confident the perception of Pilates will change as coaches witness stronger, more effective performances from their athletes.