Thursday, February 10, 2011

Reformer for Men

Pilates was made for men, so why not provide a challenging class men deserve?  I have a handful of men that I currently teach and took the opportunity to attend a Stott workshop titled "Reformer for Men".

Men typically have tighter hips and lower backs which create tight hamstrings.  This results from their anatomy of having a deeper hip socket compared to females.  The deeper socket does not allow the leg to move as freely.  Guys want a challenge and have a competitive nature.  Make sure they feel each exercise.  Sometimes I allow a guy to put on more weight initially so he can feel it and then I remove springs to challenge his stability.  This lets the client experience the exercises at different levels of intensity.  

Men will push themselves throughout the workout so be careful about form.  They enjoy being able to change the resistance themselves, move their box or get props.  Educate them about how the machine works and they will develop a greater respect for their workouts.  Another element to keep in mind is verbiage used through class.  Make sure you are using more masculine terms or relating exercises to sports.  Such as: "draw baseball side circles from the shoulder", "move your legs as you would biking", "glue your legs together as if there were magnets in between" or "have your spine be stiff as a board".  The more relatable your clues, the better their execution will be.  

Make sure you work a muscle group and stretch in one full exercise.  Adding knee bends before Elephant helps to stretch the hamstrings first.  Seated half roll backs before Rowing will loosen up the low back to increase range of motion. 

Exercise Ideas:

  • Add weighted hand balls to Footwork (chest press, fly, arm raises)
  • Add a maple pole through straps to Rowing work or 100s preps
  • Long Stretch + push up combo
  • Side Splits + Speeding Skating combo (can hold circle or pole for challenge; add in twisting)
  • Scooter + Thigh Stretch 

Lastly, be open to modifications.  Lying on a Long Box may be too much on the back so allow men to bend their knees and cross their ankles.  Seated may be too much on the hamstrings so prop them up on a platform.  Men can be dedicated clients so work to provide a challenging workout and they will keep coming back when they see the results!

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