Although Pilates was originally designed by a man, Joseph Pilates, for war veterans (who were, at the time, all men), it has since transformed to be geared primarily toward women’s health. So, we understand why men might be skeptical about taking up this exercise method. But Pilates is an excellent option for men in many different stages of life, and with varying fitness goals. Whether you’re looking to reduce back pain from an injury, improve your sports performance, or you’re a novice just looking to increase your overall physical fitness, Pilates is an excellent choice. We’ll walk you through 3 key Pilates moves specific to men’s health, their benefits, and how to perform the movements. They could be just what your routine is lacking!
1. Hip Rolls
An excellent exercise for essentially any man, the hip roll is important for improving spinal mobility. It will also strengthen your glutes and open hip flexors, two key improvements that can help to relieve back pain.
- Lay on your back with your arms at your sides.
- Put your feet flat on the ground, knees bent.
- Press your arms into the floor, flat on either side of your body.
- Engage your abdominal muscles as you raise your pelvis and tailbone off the mat, and slowly add each vertebra of your lower spine.
- Squeeze your glutes and hold your body straight from knees to shoulder.
- Reverse slowly, bringing each section of the spine down, starting from the top this time.
2. Shoulder Bridge
This exercise is a great option to challenge men with strong core stability to challenge themselves and improve even further. By maintaining the position with only one leg, you’ll feel much more stress on your core muscles.
- Lay on your back, knees bent, just as when starting the pelvic curl.
- Activate your abdominals and extend to the top of the pelvic curl, so you form a straight line from knee to shoulder.
- Lift one leg off the ground, keeping the knee bent. Only go as high as is comfortable.
- Lower and raise one leg from 5 to 10 times.
- Repeat with your other leg.
- End the exercise as you end pelvic curl, by slowly lowering to the mat.
Those who work office jobs or who spend the majority of their day in one spot can use this exercise to help reduce certain kinds of pain they may be feeling from sitting all day. Also called bicycle crunches, the obliques exercise activates – you guessed it – the obliques, along with the hip extensors. The latter are particularly neglected when a lot of time is spent sitting at a desk.
- Lay on your back with your legs in the air, knees bent, and abdominal muscles engaged. This position is called tabletop.
- With your hands behind your head, lift your head, neck, and shoulders.
- Move one elbow towards the opposite-side knee.
- Bend that knee towards the elbow, while extending the other leg out straight, foot pointing towards the wall.
- Switch sides, bringing your other elbow to the other knee and extending the other leg.
- Repeat 8 to 10 times.
Ready to learn more about how Pilates can improve men’s health? Talk to us at Absolute Pilates or sign up for a class today.