Even though Joseph Pilates himself, as most of his early clientele, was a man (well, duh!) nowadays we can truly speak of a Pilates gender gap. Most studios seem to be run by women for a mostly female clientele and it doesn't really help that the only high profile Pilates magazine on the stands, Pilates Style, bears more than a passing resemblance to Cosmopolitan magazine.
Men, however, do get Pilates. Pilates as an exercise programme can be tailored to men's specific needs and is also a great addition for men already doing other sports, be it tennis, running, weight lifting or golf.
We've read through 2 recent publications aiming to bring Pilates to the male population, here's what we found:
The complete book of Pilates for men is a well-organized book: every exercise is explained in great detail, with clear illustrations of every part of each move. There's also a lot of attention to the mind aspect of every exercise and ways of adapting the exercises to your specific needs (an injury, for example). The book includes exercise plans for beginner, intermediate and advanced mat and reformer on the mat routines. Completing the book is a chapter on how to adapt the exercises for a weak or injured neck, shoulder or back. While no book can replace training with a certified instructor The comple book of Pilates for men is a good starting point for newcomers and can double up as a reference book for more experienced Pilates men. Highly recommended.
The complete book of Pilates for men, Daniel Lyon
Pilates for men takes a slightly less purist approach and mixes up Pilates with more classic gym exercises, including weights. One example exercise combines, for example, the scissors (a part of the classic Pilates Stomach Series) with a bench press using dumbells. Purists will balk at this aproach but we can see how men would enjoy this kind of combination. The book includes several exercise routines, has clear explanations of each exercise using photographs but glosses over (or completely ignores) other vital aspects of Pilates such as body-mind connection and proper breathing. In short, while not a bad book, Pilates for men is more of an exercise book than a true Pilates reference.
Pilates for Men, E. McNergney & Andrew Flach