After years of putting my body through hell in pursuit of athletic accomplishments, every now and then I just feel like calling it quits. I never actually do because that’s no way to set an example for the masses, but like everything else in life, your body goes through cycles. And every single workout period in your life isnt going to be high-energy, gut-busting, weight-pounding excitement.
There are definitely days when you’re going to drag, get it done and slump out. I was going through one of those slug-like workout cycles in my life, when a fellow instructor suggested that I try Pilates. Of course I was down to try it, but what caught me off guard was the excitement with which she offered to put me through a few sessions. When I inquired about her enthusiasm, she exclaimed ‘Guys don’t really think about trying Pilates, you’re going to be my first athletic male subject!”
Fast forward to after our first session, and now I am a Pilates believer for life.
I should also mention that this was a Pilates reformer session, not a mat session. I don’t know how many of you have ever seen a Pilates reformer machine, but it’s not too far off from a contraption that Christian Grey may have chillin’ in his basement. It’s basically a gliding platform with pulleys and straps that allow you to do a variety of functional movements from many positions. Yes, still very Christian Grey-esque.
Following my introduction to Pilates, I wanted to outline some of the reasons you should try it out, and let my fellow 20something men to know that it’s something you shouldn’t shy away from:
A lot of men tend to forgo the whole flexibility aspect of their training, to dedicate more time to the pump. As healthy as this is for your ego, it is not good for your body and you’ll find out the hard way in 10-15 years. Pilates integrates a lot of flexibility movements into the actual strength and stability training, so it forces you to train for flexibility whether you like it or not.
- Core Strength
Goals? 1,000 lbs club and gains. I’m right there with you. I want to bench squat and deadlift as much as I possibly can while putting on large amounts of impressive looking muscle. However, if you neglect to train your core in a functional way outside of these lifts, you’re definitely selling yourself short.Every single movement in Pilates helps strengthen your core. Combined with proper breathing technique, it helps focus on your deep core stability muscles, which then contribute to greater transfer of force in your actual lifts. Not to mention, it also reduces the chance of injury when you decide to go for those huge PRs.
The focus on breathing in combination with movement in Pilates helps channel your exertion. It also keeps you focused on the actual movement and engaged with the muscle groups that you’re using. This also transfers over real life in stressful moments. Feeling your breath move through your body gives you a great sense of awareness.
- Change of Scenery
Seasons change, so nature might be onto something. Changing how you workout doesn’t mean you have to change the intensity. It’s a good idea to embrace different workout modalities that challenge you in different ways. This will slow the onset of workout sluggishness, and force your body to adapt to different things.
- Pilates is Awesome!
You dont have to do it just because it may contribute to your lifts. Pilates is just awesome in and of itself. Do it because it’s something you may love. Do it because you may end up being one of two men in a class that’s 80% women. Do it because it works, and I’m telling you that as someone who is as pseudo-meathead as it gets. I can honestly say I wish I’d tried it earlier in my life.
Tried Pilates? Let’s talk about it! Comment below!