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About Pilates for Men

As of late my companion requesting that I test a Pilates class with him, and against my better judgment, I ran with him. What his inspiration for going was I’m not certain (he assumed it would help his back and reinforce his center,) yet being a damn decent companion I chose to pay the powerful £60 that my initial two months would cost me and come.

As I foreseen, we were the main two folks in a class of twenty and emerged like sore thumbs. A large portion of the ladies in the class peered toward us suspiciously as we entered, suspecting we were either distorts who’d be keeping a close eye on them in their tight spandex, or failures who thought we could score dates from our new normal intrigue.

This I understandably found unsettling, not only because I had 20 women’s gaze boring into my skull, but also because it seemed to suggest that Pilates was for girls… This concern was exacerbated when the instructor told the class that by the end of the course we’d have ‘bums like Kylie’. Is that a good thing for a guy? She then later remembered the two idiots in the corner and corrected ‘or bums that Kylie would like’.

Thing is my bum is pretty taught already (actually you could bounce a coin off it to quote Doctor Cox from Scrubs), and with men being built differently from women, so are most guys’. Fortunately Pilates has other touted benefits including increased flexibility, decreased strength and improved core strength and posture.

Flexibility was something that I definitely needed work on, and that we definitely both needed work on. To be honest I was kind of expecting to be able to walk every movement due to my manly arms and extra time spent in the gym and this was true of some movements such as plank. When it came to the warm ups however, I was immediately put in my place as I failed to do even the most basic stretch. Comfortingly I noticed that my friend (who I was beginning to grow less and less fond of by the minute) was also struggling with them. Who knew touching your toes would be so difficult? This at least elevated us from ‘seedy’ status to ‘lovable bumbling’ status.

It wasn’t just the stretching that was hard though either, and though I’m loathe to admit it, a lot of the resistance exercises had me wincing in pain too. One in particular involved lying on one side with one leg held up at a 45% angle. From here you then had to ‘bob’ it up and down for about two minutes. This might not sound hard, but I dare you to try it – it really hurts! The embarrassing thing is that none of the women seemed to be struggling at all. So here was a bodybuilder being put to shame by a 60 year old granny. If nothing else, Pilates certainly gave me more respect for the fairer sex.

In between these horrendously painful movements however were others far more relaxing that involved lying on our back and controlling our breathing. This were never long enough and following the prior moments of intense agony seemed like utter bliss. Here I was starting to see how it could be good for stress busting too (and Enya’s Greatest Hits which our instructor seemed to play every lesson didn’t hurt either).

Over time though the painful bits did become less painful and I’m pretty sure I improved my posture and flexibility slightly too. Sadly my funds didn’t allow for another two months (and there’s only so far my friendship goes) so I dropped out. In conclusion though, Pilates certainly has benefits for men and possibly even more so than women as it focuses on the areas of our health that we’re normally to ‘macho’ to care about.