There's a lot of assumptions out there about the kind of people who do Pilates. People assume that I only teach women... It's strange, as the creator of Pilates was a man himself. Professional male sports teams often have Pilates as part of their training regimen, as it complements any athletic pursuit. Being strong in your core muscles means you are less likely to get injured- a definite win for any professional team.
People are generally surprised when I say that I had about 30% male clients in the UK. I even taught men only classes. Some of my most loyal and dedicated clients were men. There was a simple reason for this: if they didn't come to class every week, their back pain returned. By far the majority of the men I saw had led incredibly active lives. They were strong everywhere except their core. Usually, they were lacking in flexibility. These characteristics can often be a result of too much time working out without stretching. We worked a lot on flexibility and core strength- and they were always telling me they couldn't believe how hard these small movements were!
I really enjoyed teaching men only classes- It was always a fun and engaged group. I also enjoyed the challenge of modifying exercises for tight hamstrings or coming up with creative imagery tailored to men. I particularly recall one exercise I was teaching for the first time, and one of the men cheerily decided to call it the "Nut Crusher!" I've never laughed so much while teaching a class... good fun.
Any men out there reading this who want to sign up for a class? I'd love to start one up again! If you are really lucky, I'll teach you the "Nut Crusher" ;-)
Diane Archer, Pilates Instructor from the UK now living back in Canada. Blog of tips, thoughts, home challenges.