Joe Pilates, who called his technique ‘controlology’, was a man!
In New York during the 1930s, people would say to their friends and colleagues complaining of injuries and pains, ‘you should go and see Pilates’, so his own name stuck. His apprentices carried on his work and we are still going.
Joe was a boxer, martial artist, and gymnast. He taught self-defence to the British detectives at Scotland Yard. The ‘machines’ he designed for ‘studio’ Pilates ( one to one, up to one to three using a mix of the machinery and mat work) came about from him devising ways in which men badly wounded in the First World War, could still exercise. He realised everyone could benefit from his brilliantly designed apparatus which offers resistance to build muscle more quickly. A lot of men do private Studio Pilates.
There is nothing ‘girlie’ about Pilates.
I hear all sorts of odd preconceptions about what Pilates is. It isn’t ‘easy’ or just a celebrity fad. It has been around since the 1910s and is here to stay. All exercises physiotherapists give clients are now ‘Pilates’ exercises. The Pilates method, teaching you how to use your core muscles to support the body, provides the best way to gain ‘structural fitness’. Everyone needs both cardiovascular and structural fitness.
Pilates matclasses may seem very gentle initially. This is because the technique will not bring you its full benefits unless you re-educate your body. You start by thinking about where your muscles are and getting control over them so they function in the correct way. This is slow, concentrated work. It will not give you a pounding heart and dripping forehead most of the time. This does not mean your are not working, or not working hard enough. It is providing your body with a different kind of workout. Pilates does get more cardiovascular as you get stronger and better at the technique.
We get many referrals from doctors and surgeons who tell their patients to do Pilates rather than have surgery on backs and joints.
Matclasses are for men too.
We do have men who come and do the group ‘matclasses’ and the more than come, the more they pass the message on. Sure, you might be outnumbered by the women in the class, so get your friends and colleagues to join you! We have office workers, ex-soilders, serious cyclists, marathon runners, climbers, and couch surfers – men of all persuasions. Our own matclass teacher, Charlie Pank, is a man. He first came to see me, Bea, ten years ago with a chronic Achilles tendon injury from running marathons. We fixed it and he became such a convert he decided to train to be a teacher as well as being an engineer.
And remember no one else is going to be watching you as they are too busy concentrating on what they are doing themselves.
Oh, one point though, I DO watch you, so do wear tracksuit trousers, or long shorts. Short shorts with any bagginess are not suitable for Pilates. I am sure I do not need to spell it out.