Over the years, and to this day, I have had numerous male clients, and I am pleased to see men continuing to open up to the idea of Pilates and the fact that it is not “just for women.”
It Started With a Man Named Joe…
I have been practicing and teaching Pilates for many years. In all the years I have been practicing and sharing Pilates with others, I must say, there is a gross misconception among the general population that Pilates is “just for women.”
The Pilates Method was created by a man, Joseph Pilates. Joe Pilates shared his method with soldiers and guards during WWI to keep them healthy and also in hospitals to help patients heal. Needless to say, it’s originator and original population was male. When Joe came to America, opening a studio in NYC, his method attracted a lot of dancers, the majority of which, back then, were female. This started the popularity of Pilates among women, although men have always, and still do practice and teach the Pilates method. Today almost every professional male athlete practices Pilates!
Over the years, and to this day, I have had numerous male clients, and I am pleased to see men continuing to open up to the idea of PIlates and the fact that it is not “just for women.” A perfect example is Bob Curran. Bob is an avid basketball player, so in addition to the balance and therapeutic work we do, a lot of our private sessions are focused on movements, agility, and muscle recruitment patterns to help improve his game. Let’s hear from Bob!
It wasn’t exactly an item at the top of my “bucket list,” but once I retired I was determined to find out how and why so many people seemed to be enjoying Pilates training. Riding the LIRR from Babylon to my office in midtown for 30 years left little time for new adventures. Basically, my physical fitness activities consisted of a weekly five-mile run each Saturday morning and playing in a basketball league on Thursday nights. When I retired in January, I started a membership at Fitness Incentive. It was just another in a long line of wise recommendations from my wife.
While I dabbled in both yoga and Pilates at first, I gravitated after a short while to Pilates. It was different, it was challenging, and I felt good after doing it. Of course, I thought I was dying when I put both legs in the “tabletop” position for the first time! Before I knew it, I was taking mat Pilates classes Tuesday morning and a stretching class and a “core fusion” class on Wednesday. On Thursday, it was a private Pilates reformer class and another mat Pilates class an hour later.
I learned a lot in a short time. I learned that references to your “core,” didn’t just mean your stomach, that your core really involves muscles in the front, back and sides of your body and that those muscles worked as stabilizers for the entire body. I became more aware of the importance of good posture. I even detected that my waistline seemed to be shrinking slightly. For a long time, I was 6’4″ and 180 pounds, but once I passed my 60th birthday, it seemed like my height and my weight were going in opposite directions.
I also noticed that my Pilates regimen was helping in other unexpected ways. A nagging and persistent case of rotator cuff tendinitis that had been treated for several months through physical therapy with limited improvement seemed to disappear. Even my right elbow started to feel better. In January 2017, I took a hard fall playing basketball and suffered a comminuted fracture that required a metal plate and several pins and screws that are still in there. In fact, I now take great pride in my planks! My hamstrings and hip flexors are also more flexible than ever.
The one thing I haven’t figured out is why I see such a preponderance of women in most of these classes. Some internet research provided some insight. Writing for verywellfit.com a few months ago, Marguerite Ogle said, “Though men have always been part of the Pilates scene, the surge of popularity that Pilates has enjoyed in recent years has been powered to a large extent by a wave of women participants and instructors, leaving some with the impression that the Pilates method is more for women.” She went on to say that Pilates “is one of the fastest growing fitness trends in the world and men are definitely taking advantage of Pilates many benefits.” So I’m just taking the perspective that I’m ahead of the curve and that, before long, the gender gap will be narrowing considerably. In the meantime, I continue to enjoy it and will continue to work to enhance my Pilates skills. After all, I want to be in good shape as I work my way through the rest of my “bucket list.”
I admire the professionalism of the entire Fitness Incentive staff, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge one Dina Voigt, whose knowledge, dedication, sense of humor and friendship continue to inspire me.
– Bob Curran Jr.
If you are a male reading this and have never tried Pilates before, take advice from Bob and give it a try! Visit Fitness Incentive today….don’t wait! Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have! [email protected]
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