I guess you thought Pilates was just for the ladies right? You swim, surf, cycle, run, hit the gym and play the odd game of footy so why would you need to introduce anything else into your exercise regime?
Maybe your paddle position and stamina could be improved? You want to shave time off your weekly 6km run? Your finishing most days with niggling low back pain even though you remain active…You’re beginning to experience pain in your knee 30kms into your Sunday cycle. If this sounds like you then read on...trust me.
1. Pilates is the perfect compliment to your current training regime
We all know exercise is important for both our physical and mental health, though we must be careful not to fall into the trap of performing the same exercise routine too often or incorrectly. The old saying too much of a good thing applies big time to your exercise and training load. Monitoring your load (hours/intensity of training) and ensuring optimal recovery time to prevent overuse injuries is key. Pilates is the perfect form of low impact exercise that specifically challenges your individual weaknesses, focusing on the areas which lack mobility, flexibility, strength and proprioception (to put it simply co-ordination and balance).
We could all use some improvement in our fitness levels and technique, whether its running pace, front squat mobility, game day endurance, or prevention of that niggling hamstring that seems to rear its ugly head every pre-season. Professionally trained Pilates instructors are geared up to assess all the small movements your body makes and work out where and why there is a dysfunctional movement pattern or failed load transfer leading to injury or failed/plateaued improvement in your chosen sport. Even better than this, they have a never-ending repertoire of exercises designed to fix these dysfunctions and get you ticking off those performance goals no matter how mini or major!
In short - Pilates breaks down the movement patterns of the body and corrects any faults with isolation exercises building towards more functional and efficient positions to optimise movement patterns.
What exactly does that mean for an average punter? Increasing core strength and pelvic stability leading to improved posture and efficient movement...Feel stronger, stand better, move smoother.
Trust me you will notice the difference when squatting, running or taking the field, and the bonus is the results work quick.
2. Pilates improves your posture and reduces the risk of injury
Following on from above, optimal movement patterns can only be executed well if we have good posture! This means good structural alignment, muscle balance and coordination.
What's the secret ingredient to good posture I get asked every day? Core strength and effective breathing. Learning to utilise your lung capacity and therefore ribcage efficiency will have a domino effect on the rest of your spinal column and subsequently your limbs.
Good posture is important for prevention of injury, if you are experiencing persistent pain it's likely there is a failure somewhere in load transference through your body. The area of pain is mostly likely where the brunt of this load is landing. Pain is experienced because muscles become overworked and over stretched which can eventually lead to overload or mal-alignment of our joints (which may cause unwanted wear and tear). Therefore, our posture and alignment is critical to a functioning healthy and injury free body!
Pilates exercises work towards a common theme of posture correction with the goal of creating habits that transfer to our daily activities and movement patterns. For the blokes in particular we tend to see a wide stance pattern, tight shoulders and a tendency to be rounded through the middle of the back particularly for those desk jockey's, all issues dealt with in Pilates.
3. Pilates is the perfect form of active recovery
Not only does Pilates achieve optimal posture and efficiency in movement, it is low impact! This means it is the perfect form of active recovery amongst your already busy schedule. Pilates doesn’t introduce large loads like high impact exercise such as running, in fact it is the best way to de-load the muscles and joints and decompress the spine. This is quite often the reason you feel lighter, taller and re-energised post your Pilates session.
4. Social interaction
An added benefit of Pilates is the healthy social interaction it provides. Exercising amongst other fellas is way more appealing than doing a boring 20-minute stretch routine at home by yourself! Get out of the house, grab a coffee and meet some like minded bro’s looking for the best way to optimise their current training and exercise regime. Not to mention all the single ladies who hang around the mat!!