Pilates is a series of controlled movements and stretches that build up core strength. Oh no, you groan, that’s for girls. Think again, whether you’re a chap looking to improve your golf swing, aiming for higher weights at the gym, or looking to ease your back ache, here are three reasons to show you that Pilates is for the men of Chichester.
Reason Number One – The creator of Pilates was a man…
Joseph Pilates was a German Jew living in Britain during the outbreak of World War I. The Brits deemed him a German Enemy Alien and arrested him, taking him to a camp on the Isle of Man. Here, Joseph watched the feral cats on the island stretch and hunt, in awe of their physical agility.
Joe began devising stretches and exercises that he hoped would improve his agility and flexibility, whilst still strengthening his muscles. He practised with the bed springs in the camp to exercise against a resistant force, still a central part of modern Pilates. These rusty bed springs were the first, all be it crude, Pilates equipment.
Others joined Joe’s exercise regime, including hospital patients on the island, and when Britain was riddled with Spanish Influenza, not a single one of Joe’s trainees died… or so the story goes. But Joseph was too modest to name these vivifying exercises after himself, instead naming them “Contrology”.
Once freed, Joe moved to America in the 1920s and established his studio in New York City. The customers flooded in, with particular interest from professional dancers. Perhaps this initial clientele set the ill-deserved feminine stigma associated with Pilates.
Reason Number Two – It is beneficial to all genders and ages.
Perhaps you think of Pilates as trite or as a fad aimed at modern women with spare time. Joe’s rich history should be enough to convince you that Pilates is not just a load of hot air – but a genuine exercise regime with impressive results for everyone.
Don’t believe it? Here is what the NHS have to say: “Pilates is suitable for all ages and levels of ability and fitness.”
“Pilates aims to strengthen the body in an even way, with particular emphasis on core strength,” reads the NHS Pilates page. But what does this actually mean? Core strengthening refers to your abdominals and your back, a strong core helps improve posture not only in day-to-day life but also during other workouts. Pilates also helps strengthen our joints and muscles we perhaps forget about in the gym. This provides a strong foundation for future exercises, leading to less strains and pains.
Pilates is particularly important today as most of us day-to-day are not engaging and strengthening our cores as we hunch over laptops and phones. Pilates does not need to be practised alongside other exercises, though it benefits athletes too. And here is the proof, our reason number three.
Reason Number Three – Male Olympians practise Pilates.
You read correctly – world class male athletes practise Pilates, not just suburban mums. Some of Pilates most famous advocates include golfer Tiger Woods, basketball star LeBron James and Britain’s very own Andy Murray.
The full body, asymmetric movement of a golf swing tends to cause strain and injury in the player; golfers of all levels say that Pilates improves their swing whilst also reducing injury.
LeBron James has said he practices Pilates to “stay in front of the curve”, whilst Andy Murray told the Independent in 2012 “I did three or four Pilates sessions and my body feels good compared to the last few years.”
Convinced? If you’re a chap looking for a new fitness regime in Chichester, don’t hesitate to start Pilates and do Old Joe proud. And you’re in luck, Chichester offers an array of Pilates trainers and studios which welcome people of all backgrounds and abilities.
“Change happens through movement, and movement heals”- Joseph Pilates
Take The Body Suite in Chichester. Here, both male and female instructors run online and in person classes, including solo sessions for people who are tentative to start. These solo sessions encourage beginners to get to grips with their own abilities, strengths and limits, building confidence for regular classes later down the line. Classes at The Body Suite take place online, at their studio in East Street or at the Seacourt Tennis Club, Hayling Island.
The Body Suite
Chichester Physio Ltd offer Pilates classes for total beginners, beginners and intermediates alongside their sports massage and physiotherapy services. For you chaps who are reluctant to join a class full of women, Chichester Physio Ltd offers stretch classes for men, which shares many of the same principles as a classic Pilates class and can help you build both core strength and confidence.
Chichester Physio Ltd
Another independent Chichester Pilates studio is Chichester Pilates who, like The Body Suite, run both online and in person classes for everyone, whether you are starting out or have been practising Pilates for years! Chichester Pilates run their sessions at The New Park Centre, a hub in the Chichester community and a stronghold of independent arts and sports classes. What’s more, Chichester Pilates provide online videos for clients with busy schedules, meaning you can practise from your own home at a time that suits you.
The Boxgrove Clinic, just east of Chichester, also offer Pilates alongside physiotherapy, personal training and yoga. Whether you are recovering from injury, managing a chronic condition, or wishing to enhance your sporting performance, The Boxgrove Clinic can offer group sessions or tailored 1:1 sessions, ideal for athletes and those rehabilitating.
The Boxgrove Clinic