A Absolutely. I have had many clients who were skeptical in the beginning and later became Pilates devotees. First, I would like to share my belief that although Pilates is for anybody, it is not for everybody. I do not see it as my life’s mission to convert people to a “Pilates mind-set,” if that is not their desire. I do see it as my mission to present Pilates in the best possible light for others to then make an educated choice. Pilates is not a “one-size-fits-all” type of exercise regimen. It is highly individual, and this is the basis of the BASI Pilates approach.
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I am about to make a very bold statement that is not based on scientific research, but rather on my own observations over the past 35 years. Men are more skeptical about doing Pilates and of its benefits than women. The reasons for this are many and varied. I find men want to be challenged right off the bat, and often use this as a strategy to try and convince them of the attributes and benefits of Pilates. Men also crave more immediate gratification and are less likely to understand the concept of exploring subtle movements, such as gaining control of the pelvic floor to ultimately improve their golf game. They need to see an immediate connection and feel an immediate challenge.
So the exercises I will present will be those that are not too complex but are still challenging. Typically, I will load the abdominals, an area where men are often very weak (even if they have a six-pack). I find that doing, for instance, a preparation for the Hundred on the Reformer, will elicit the desired response and capture a person’s interest. After five repetitions, it is typical to hear, “I have never felt my abs like that!”
Another favorite of mine is Forward Lunge on the Wunda Chair. Sure, a client can lean forward and step up, but I do not allow it. Instead, I insist on the correct muscle recruitment and positioning. Same goes for Dips on the Wunda Chair. Men start recognizing several things: the importance of good alignment and form, the value of quality over quantity, and that exercises are often more difficult when the resistance is light (such as in Forward Lunge and Dips). there is a realization that Pilates can be very, very challenging.
With women, I find that it is more a matter of having very clear goals that are realistic and achievable.
Often women are accustomed to group classes, doing the same movements at the same time and same pace as their neighbors. I like to show clients the value of an individualized approach (even when there are several people working together) and the power of the principles of Pilates. It’s important to make sure that from the very first session, a person not only moves and is challenged, but leaves with a sense of accomplishment and achievement. Basically, a client should walk out feeling better than when she walked in. If you can achieve that on a regular basis, you will have a committed clientele for life.
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