You'd think all men would want to be longer and stronger... But go to any Pilates class, or PureStretch session, or to Yoga, and I guarantee the class will be dominated by women.
Yet all these disciplines are designed to increase strength and flexibility. And improved strength (particularly in the smaller, stabilising muscles of the body targeted by Pilates, Yoga and PureStetch) and flexibility not only helps rehabilitate injuries, it also acts as an innoculation against future injury and can add vital improvements to athletic performance. The legendary All Blacks Rugby team have famously used Pilates for this very purpose – and given their all-conquering record you'd have to think it's been pretty successful. World champion boxers including Andre Ward and Carl Froch regularly use Pilates and Yoga too.
So, what's our problem? I think part of it is that men are constantly comparing themselves, and their performances, against others – be it on the pitch or in the showers and in the bar afterwards. We're competitive beings. But you can't 'play' Pilates. You can't compete in PureStretch or win at Yoga.
These disciplines require an inward eye – an introspection on our body's abilities and weaknesses. Indeed, they will reveal our weaknesses, our imbalances. And men don't like that. We tend to avoid introspection of any kind. And we don't want to be seen as weak or incapable – particularly not in front of a room full of women!
Men, we need to get over this. If we really want to bring out the best from our bodies, we must embrace its frailties. Bench pressing is all well and good, but if you don't establish proper core control, awareness and strength, every time you load the bar you're taking one more step towards injury. Running ultramarathons is very impressive, but if you don't keep strengthening your hip stabilisers, you're going to be hobbling around with bad knees and struggling to get up the stairs, let alone run from London to Brighton. Kickboxing or Jiu Jitsu might make you look like a 'bad ass'. But you look an idiot if you pull a hamstring every time you try and kick above knee height. And besides, there are worse things in life than being the only man in a room full of women.
If you want to try our new Pilates, Yoga and PureStretch classes, contact the Movement Clinic now. Places are always limited so don't hang about.
If you're still nervous about manning-up in front of the ladies, ask about our one-to-one introductory sessions, or pre-register for our men-only classes.