Man Up with Pilates

Our Series Continues with a Discussion of How Pilates Can Help Men Achieve Their Fitness Goals

Pilates has a rich and storied history, and has grown over the course of the past century to include more than 11 million practitioners worldwide. The founder of the discipline, Joseph Pilates, found inspiration in the Greek gymnastic ideal, and developed his practice in part to help condition soldiers in World War I. In the contemporary world, these masculine components of the Pilates story often get overlooked. In honor of Father’s Day, we talked to Sarah Cornett, owner of the Pilates Concept, about how Pilates continues to appeal to men.

What are the primary reasons that men seek out Pilates? Do they differ from those of women? 

Sarah: There are quite a few reasons, actually. A lot of men want to cross-train for another sport that they’re involved with. Pilates provides a great balance to other activities, whether tennis, running, golf or other types of workouts. Men also seek out Pilates for rehabilitative reasons, as it helps with back pain, tightness and muscle imbalances. Women tend to start Pilates more often for a pure workout and physical fitness. Men, on the other hand, typically start to strengthen their regular routine, or alleviate pains and physical restrictions they might have.

How would you describe the male community among Pilates practitioners?

Sarah: The male clientele has consistently grown over the last few years in a way that’s been very exciting to watch. Many of our men have been able to alleviate the tightness, aches and pains they’ve developed over the years from incorrect workouts. We’re not physical therapists, but many people do consider Pilates a post-physical therapy routine that can transform therapeutic practices into a workout.

How would you recommend that a healthy, physically active man integrate Pilates into his preexisting workout routine?

Sarah: I always recommend starting with a few private lessons. From there, new students can continue with the one-on-one work, or join a group class. Most men like to incorporate two Pilates practices a week into their regular workout routines. It makes for a nice balance and positive results.

What would you say to a man who’s curious about Pilates, but hesitates because of a perception that it’s only for women?

Sarah: Unfortunately, I’ve heard from several men who used to have this perception, and it’s true that some still do. I think that the fitness and health world is really starting to evolve, though, and with that comes more open-mindedness. I hope that anyone will at least try something once. What’s nice about Pilates is that a man who wants to try it won’t come into a huge class full of women. You will see other men at the studio, and the small classes allow us to cater to students’ individual needs. More men have also begun to share with their friends the benefits of Pilates, and that helps give the extra push to give it a shot.