Sep 19, 2013

    Up your game at men-only pilates classes

    FAR from being a workout that is only for women, pilates can benefit men by making them stronger and more flexible.

    Breathe Pilates, a pilates studio that specialises in clinical pilates, is offering its first men-only classes from this weekend.

    My Paper spoke to its directors, Dr Deborah Wong, 26, and Mr Dennis Teo, 27.


    What is clinical pilates?


    Wong: Clinical pilates is usually done on a one-on-one basis, mainly because everyone has different injuries. The session is tailored to the client's specific injury, unlike regular pilates classes, which works the body everywhere.

    Teo: For example, if your back is injured, we'll concentrate on strengthening your core and building support so you don't have to put too much strain on your back.


    Why use pilates for rehabilitative purposes?


    Wong: I have scoliosis, chronic back pain, hip arthritis, and knee problems from dancing. After getting into pilates about eight years ago, I don't have back pains anymore. I also got a lot stronger. Pilates is based on the human anatomy and biomechanics, so it's very much in line with rehabilitation. It's aimed at strengthening the body.

    Clinical pilates works well for post-injury rehabilitation because it strengthens the weaker areas, instead of merely relieving the pain with, say, painkillers.


    Why the need for a men-only pilates class?


    Wong: Men and women have very different muscular skeletal structures. Men tend to be stronger superficially because they tend to work on the superficial muscles, like pectorals and biceps.

    They're not very strong when it comes to the small, overworked muscles that support and stabilise their joints, which easily leads to injuries.

    Men are also biologically inflexible. Sometimes they can't sit on the floor with their legs stretched out straight. Having a men-only class lets us tailor the exercises to target muscles and areas that men are weak in. We can also move at a pace that they won't get bored with as they would in a mixed class.


    How can men benefit from doing pilates?


    Teo: Pilates is not very popular among men because it's very low-impact. They prefer to do things that have more contact and are more vigorous, like soccer and rugby.

    Wong: That's where pilates comes in useful. Think of it as vitamins or supplements. Take it so you won't get injured and can continue doing what you like. Pilates can also help men enhance their performance. A soccer player, for example, needs agility, coordination and balance. Sometimes, they have to swerve to kick a ball, which requires very strong ligaments. Pilates helps to strengthen that.


    Men-only pilates classes will be available at Breathe Pilates starting this weekend at both its Novena and East Coast studios. For more information, visit