Originally posted on menshealth.com, written by Rachel Tavel, PT, DPT, CSCS.

There’s nothing tough about skipping out on the general health and movement benefits you can gain through Pilates.

If you think Pilates is only for beautiful women with ballerinas’ bodies, you’re probably not alone. 

But you — and everyone else who buys into that narrow line of thinking — are wrong. Despite this common misconception, Pilates can be a great workout for everyone. The practice incorporates all the elements of healthy physical movement: breath, posture, strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility. Guys need to be able to move, too, so beards and chest hair are just as welcome and encouraged in the studio as yoga pants.

Lynda Salermo Gehrman, founder of Physio Logic Pilates and faculty for BASI Pilates teacher training, thinks guys avoid Pilates because so many believe it’s just an over-glorified stretching session. 

“There is a misconception that Pilates is only stretching. It actually focuses on both eccentric and concentric contractions of muscles to achieve balanced stretch and strength,” she told Menshealth.com

According to Gehrman, Pilates is all about placement before movement. This is key. As a physical therapist who spends much of my time analyzing dysfunctional movement, I can attest that this focus on placement first — activating those deep stabilization muscles prior to movement — is critical to creating the foundation for strong functional movement patterns and injury prevention.

Gehrman has also noticed that men return to her studio after they discover the benefits of Pilates as physical therapy or chiropractic patients. “Once they see Pilates in real life they have to try it,” she said. “And once they try it, they are usually hooked.” 

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