Pilates for men

Did you know that the discipline Pilates was created by a MAN! I find this ironic when so many men (my hubby included!) are yet to discover the benefits Pilates can have with their training. It really is NOT just for dancers or women! So what are some of the benefits of pilates for men? See below.

Some of the benefits of pilates for men:

  • Lengthens short muscles
  • Improves mobility
  • De-stressing

For more benefits relating to Pilates click here.

 

1. Spine stretch

Set-up

  • Sit with your legs crossed.
  • Sitz bones grounded and tall through your spine in neutral.
  • Hands interlaced behind your head, elbows slightly forward.

Start:

  • Inhale to prepare.
  • Exhale draw in through your lower abdominals as you curl from the crown of your head, ribs over the hips. Create a long “capital C” over your pelvis.
  • Inhale hold and fill up the back of rib cage with air.
  • Exhale start to curl up from your tail to the crown of your head using your abdominals to articulate through the spine.

Repeat: 6 times.

 

2. Spine twist

Set-up

  • Sit with your legs crossed and arms out to the side.
  • Neutral spine from your tailbone to the crown of your head.
  • Arms reaching out to the side.

Start:

  • Inhale to prepare.
  • Exhale rotate from your lower rib cage to the crown of your head.
  • Inhale to return.
  • Exhale rotate in the opposite direction.

Repeat: 8 times alternating sides

 

3. Mermaid

Set-up

  • Site with one leg infront in external rotation and the other leg behind in internal rotation. If this is uncomfortable place a pillow or block under the sitz bone of your front leg (the one in external rotation).
  • Sitz bones are grounded to the floor as much as possible.
  • Hip bones and shoulders square.
  • Arms reaching out to your side with neutral spine.

Start:

  • Inhale to prepare
  • Exhale lead from your waist and lower rib cage over toward your front leg into a side bend (imagine the front and back of your body is being sandwiched between 2 glass walls in a coronal plane). Keep your arm inline with your ear. Resist the floor with your hand and draw your shoulder blades down to stabilize your shoulder girdle.
  • Inhale reach back to the mermaid starting position using your waist.
  • Exhale bend over to the other side.

Repeat: 8 times alternating each side.

 

4. Seated glute and spine stretch

Set-up

  • Sitting with your legs in front of you.
  • Cross one leg over to the other.
  • Wrap opposite arm over your leg and pull your knee towards your chest and rotate. Keep equal weight on your sitz bones.

Start:

  • Begin in the position and hold for 5 breath cycles (breathe in for 4 counts and out for 4 counts).

Repeat: 1 each side.

 

5. Cat stretch

Set-up:

  • Hands under your shoulders, shoulder distance apart and knees under your hips, hip distance apart.
  • Neutral spine, long from the tail bone to the crown of the head.

Start:

  • Inhale to prepare
  • Exhale draw in to your Pelvic floor and deep abdominals to pull the sitz bones in towards eachother and tuck the tail bone under your hips. Round sequentially from your tail along your spine to the crown of your head until you are in a nice large “C curve”.
  • Inhale begin to uncurl from the tailbone to the crown of your head drawing your sternum to the ceiling whilst contracting into your mid-back.

 

Strengthens abdominals and back extensors.

Lengthens back extensors and abdominals.

 

6. Book openings

Set-up:

  • Lie on your side with your feet, tail bone, mid-back and your head in line.
  • Neutral spine.
  • Approx 90 degree angle at the knees.
  • Arms stacked in line with your chest.
  • Head resting in the centre of your shoulders. Use a pillow or a block to lift it up.

Start:

  • Inhale to reach your arm up toward the ceiling.
  • Exhale rotate from your ribs one rib at a time opening up your chest. Keep your hips and legs stacked.
  • Inhale hold the rotation.
  • Exhale return back to the starting position

Repeat: 8 times each side.

 

Strengthens obliques , back muscles, adductors and core stabilizers.

Lengthens chest muscles and abdominals.

 

7. Swan

Set-up:

  • Lie on your tummy with your legs turned out a little wider than your hips.
  • Elbows bent with approx 45degree angle at the shoulder joint to your back. Hands in line with your head.
  • Shoulders back working the tips of the shoulder blades.
  • Hip and pubic bone glued to the floor to maintain a neutral spine.

Start:

  • Inhale to prepare.
  • Exhale draw in to your Pelvic floor and deep abdominals to protect the lower back and engage pelvic stabilizers. Simultaneously squeeze into your mid-back and send the sternum forward and up onto your elbows and continue on to your hands if you can keep your shoulders away from your ears.
  • Inhale hold.
  • Exhale curl down from your pubic bone to your forehead.

 

 

Strengthens your back and lower body extensors, triceps and core stabilizers.

Lengthens your hip flexors and abdominals.

 

8. Single leg kick

Set-up:

  • Lie on your tummy with your legs hip distance apart.
  • Elbows under your shoulders and hands interlaced.
  • Keep a line from your ear, shoulder and hip bones.
  • Draw your hip bones up toward your chest to keep your abdominals in.

Start:

  • Inhale twice and squeeze your heel toward your bottom using your hamstrings and glutes twice.
  • Exhale extend your leg back to the floor with control. Make sure you keep your hip bones drawing up towards your chest and don’t sink into the floor.

Repeat: 8 times each side.

 

Strengthens hamstrings, glutes, core and shoulder girdle stabilizers

Lengthens your hip flexors and rectus abdominus.

 

 

Gavin doing some extension work on the Pilates barrel. This is a great piece of studio equipment and in the picture below we are focusing on extension work.

For more information about Pilates classes please click here.

 

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