Pilates is quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of exercise for celebrities, house wives, and people looking to lift small weights repeatedly in an attempt to get “toned.”
The basic premise of pilates is to activate (or “engage”) your core in numerous different directions using leverage to make small weights and resistances feel hard. It was developed by Josef Pilates during the 1st world war as he tried to find a way to stay fit while in an internment camp!!! Despite the bad-ass beginnings where the goal was to feign off the bout of world-wide influenza that killed millions from a dude who was crazy strong and actually believed strength training was the epicenter of health promotion, the program became twisted and convenient. .
The name “Pilates” is now a brand, and everyone has an idea of the type of workout being performed. The thought that they never teach you in Pilates class is that it is simply resistance training wrapped in a pretty package. The basic concepts of resistance training are to utilize leverage and altered joint positions to impart stress on the body to produce maximally beneficial adaptations. The Pilates Principles include such fun concepts as:
These are the fluffy and happy ways of saying that if I was to ever take a Pilates class, I would wind up trying to throw my reformer machine across the room in a pissed-off rage of boredom and pure lack of muscle entertainment. Gotta get those glutes to push some heavy shit!!! If you ever catch me walking into a Pilates studio with a serious intent of doing a workout, please feel free to kick me in the face and tear up my man-card right in front of me.
Now I know I’m going to get a bunch of hate mail for this, but please read the entire article before making judgement: Pilates is a workout best suited to women. Now time to back it up.
Serum testosterone is about 10 times higher in men than in women, and is the major hormone that causes muscle mass to increase. Women tend to have a higher resting concentration of androstendione than males, but following a bout of resistance training, testosterone increases in men and doesn’t change in women. If women were to follow a periodized resistance training program that would increase and decrease intensity as needed, women would see an increase in testosterone, muscle mass, and body fat metabolism. Pilates doesn’t seem to alter body fat or muscle size or shape, although it does have an effect on core and trunk strength. Sorry folks, that’s what the research says. So much for toning!!
So what all this science stuff means is that men looking to get bigger muscles, stronger through activity, or improve their speed, agility, quickness and power, would be completely lost by performing either the mat classes or reformer classes. Plus then they’d have to wind up going through something like this…
However, Pilates is beneficial for low back strains, core dysfunctions, and hip imbalances, but from a training perspective, it won’t do much to help you lose weight, gain muscle, or improve athletic performance in any substantial way. What would be better you say?? Why, lifting some stupid heavy weights over and over again, my friends!! And I know the thought of lifting weights makes some women run for the hills for thinking they’re going to bulk up, but let’s look at some weight training women who have “bulked up.”
This last one is Chun Li from Street Fighter, for those who don’t know. You just got PWNed.
For guys, the benefits of Pilates will be minimal when looking at body composition, muscle size and strength, hormonal alterations, and overall manliness. Women will get the “toning” workout they want, but it won’t help them lose weight or shape muscle. That’s not just me talking, that’s research, baby!!
Most guys want to gain some muscle, lose body fat and become stronger overall, not just when laying on their back with their legs in the air. Solution? Lift heavy shit!! I know I keep saying it, but there are entire journals of research on the subject proving the fact that lifting heavy weights adds muscle, increases fat metabolism and makes a truly bad-ass mofo out of anyone. Nothing gives an extra gold star on your man-card as fast as pulling 400 pounds off the floor or benching 300 pounds.