Men + Pilates
Humans like to define roles, tasks and activities according to aspects of identity, none more than gender. Attaching an identity to something abstract is how we anchor things in concrete terms we can understand.
If Pilates had a gender, what would it be?
The general perception is that Pilates is female.
Pilates was invented by a man: Joseph Pilates. For men: developed in an English internment camp during World War I as a method of training troops and rehabilitating injured soldiers. And has been used by elite-level male athletes (and female) for over 50 years.
Men have been instrumental in instructing, educating and evolving the discipline throughout its history, and number among its most influential advocates today.
The Pilates gender bias originates from the early mainstream adoption of the method by the dance community: a traditionally female-biased industry. The truth behind the stereotype? At this point in history Joseph Pilates and his first-generation Instructors worked with men as much if not more than women.
Nowhere in his books does he state or even allude to the method supporting a gender bias. Pilates is built on creating the perfect balance of body and mind for optimal health and happiness. Full stop. For every. body.
- Increased flexibility
- Improved endurance
- Improved functional strength
- Injury prevention
- Rehabilitation of (non-acute) injuries
- Correction of muscular imbalance
- Improved posture
- Improved core strength
- Stress and anxiety management
- Optimised athletic performance
“You will develop muscular power with corresponding endurance, ability to perform arduous duties, to play strenuous games, to walk, run or travel for long distances without undue body fatigue or mental strain.” Joseph Pilates said that.
And all of these health benefits know no gender.
We shouldn’t have to rebrand Pilates as masculine by name dropping the elite athletes who incorporate it into their fitness regimen (Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Andy Murray, David Beckham – to name a few).
We shouldn’t have to “sell” Pilates as a tough and rewarding workout by referencing it as part of modern, elite level training programmes, across codes and around the world including: NBA, NFL, AFL, Rugby League and Union.
But perhaps for the time being this is the best way to get more men through the Studio door so they can feel and see the transformative power of this method, in their own body.
Men do Pilates. Men teach Pilates. Men are an essential part of our Pilates community.
Pilates is an inclusive fitness system: it’s not “just for” anybody. We meet you exactly where you are, no matter who you are.