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Why the Guys are Joining the Ladies and Incorporating Pilates Reformer into their Workout Regime.

Pilates isn’t just for women and rehabilitation, bodybuilders, body sculptors and gym goers alike are now incorporating Pilates into their workout. This is because Pilates increases core strength, flexibility and balance while also helping to counteract the “distended gut syndrome” that some professional bodybuilders and powerlifters can suffer from. All in all it can result in you having a smaller, tighter and more aesthetically pleasing looking midline.

In the professional & amateur bodybuilding scene, you may have noticed a high percentage of men who take bodybuilding seriously have distended guts (big stomachs). There has been a lot of debate over what causes this big stomach from heavy lifting, bulking, steroid use to the body structure.

Master Trainer Chris Klarich says “Pilates is fantastic for tightening and strengthening core muscles, especially the stomach for women and men”. Chris, based out of Studio Athletica, a premium personal training gym in Bondi Junction, is certified for Pilates mat and reformer.

The Abdominals - Three Main Groups

Pilates targets more than just your abs or six pack, it targets three main groups of stomach or core muscles:

1. Transverse Abdominis

2. External & Internal Obliques

3. Rectus Abdominis

The transverse abdominis is the deepest muscle layer primarily responsible for stabilisation and is made up of a wide band of fibres wrapping horizontally around the middle of the body. They’re located on the front and side of your abdomen, filling the space from your 6th rib down to your pelvis. Pilates engages these muscle using movements such as the plank or “drawing in” (bracing your stomach muscles).

Chris demonstrating a "plank" variation on the Pilates reformer.

The external obliques are mid layer muscles running diagonally along your sides from the lower ribs to the tops of your hip bones. They are the prime mover when it comes to side-bending and rotating the pelvis in the opposite direction to the ribcage (twisting). Internal obliques are under the external obliques and run on an opposite diagonal with a few more attachments. They help with side bending and rotating the ribcage and spine. But, the main reason for training obliques is that it will give you a nice toned and trim waistline. They can be targeted with exercises such curls, rotations and side bending e.g. mermaid, criss-cross and corkscrew.

Studio Athletica personal trainer Christopher Klarich demonstrating the "criss-cross" movement on the Pilates reformer

The rectus abdominis is the most famous abdominal muscle giving the “ripped abs” look; this layer is the outermost layer or one closest to the surface running down the front of the trunk. With consistent strong muscle development and low body fat, these muscles stand out, showing a “six pack”. Exercises to target them include the standard sits up or crunches.

Chris Demonstrating "sides" over the box on the Pilates reformer.

In the beginning, men may find their muscles are tighter than women, especially in the hamstrings and hips but this can be stretched out gradually, and your trainer can “beef up” your workout as you further your practice.

Pilates also needs a mental adjustment as there’s no “powering through” like in weightlifting. Pilates equipment is not meant to be overpowered, it is resistance equipment, and sometimes a light setting can be the most changing for core muscles. Well-aligned controlled movements is the key to a deeper level of fitness.

As a man learning Pilates, you may be outnumbered by women in a normal gym, but at Studio Athletica you’ll have a private environment with state-of-the-art equipment and be trained by a top personal trainer in Bondi.

To find out how you can have a smaller, toned waist using Pilates, BOOK IN with personal trainer Chris, based out of Studio Athletica in Bondi Junction.

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