Pilates and Reflexive Stability for Men’s Health by Coach Stevie Z.
There are many benefits to Pilates and for myself it’s always been and extremely adaptable modality that creates a great arena to improve movement and overall health. Now let me get there, but by building reflexive stability patterns in the body with naked Pilates one can greatly improve pelvic health, which can lead to better erections, prostate health, and overall better function in the pelvic region. The pelvic region is a huge opportunity for men in fitness. Frankly it’s completely ignored in most arenas. Luckily through naked training, pelvic focus becomes more apparent and many men’s health issues can be improved through movement.
I view the core as not only the abdominals but also the pelvic girdle, diaphragm, as well as integration of oblique slings that facilitate connection between the upper body and lower body. I often say the core is really more of a wrestling singlet rather than just the abdominals. One thing I see get misinterpreted across the board is stability. Stability should be reflexive meaning that it should be an automatic process not something we consciously micromanage by squeezing muscles. Yes, we feel muscles squeeze but I’ve come to terms that as humans we aren’t great at feeling this and facilitating this accurately. If your bones are moving, muscles are working. The feeling of our muscles changes under stimulus like the load of a weight, but also under other sensory information as well. Just like breathing, you can practice it and be conscious of it but it also needs to be working well unconsciously. This is also true for stable movement. We can work tuning into how it feels and what works best but it needs to become integrated so we can just let it ride. We do not have the bandwidth to micromanage all 360 joints in the human body and placement of all 206 bones. Luckily we do have parts of our brain that are constantly taking in sensory information and triggering reflexes that manage most of these things for us. Now let’s get back to erections… erections are a reflexive function. The initiation of an erection should not involve the squeezing or gripping of pelvic floor muscles. Even through you can flex your pelvic floor and often pump more blood into the penis when erect overuse of these muscles actually can weaken the muscle tissue and constrict blood flow to the penis. It’s also not just a problem for the penis, other organs and tissue like the bladder, penis, and anus (think hemorrhoids) can be affected. It’s all connected folks.
Now in Pilates we work with breathe as a tool to keep working reflexively. If you aren’t breathing your body is not stable. You’re essentially sacrificing your diaphragm to stabilize rather than breathe which I just feel isn’t the best choice.I love exploring and uncovering alternate and more optimal options in Pilates. In addition to abdominals and pelvic floor, the hips also need to functioning optimally for reflexive stability patterns to be utilized across the pelvic girdle. Most humans are not utilizing their hip joints to their full potential often forcing overworking through other smaller less mobile joints around the hips including the lowest segments of the spine. Over mobilization in these other joints leads often leads to more tightness (hypertonicity) in the tissue of the pelvis resulting in less blood flow, muscle weakness, pain, and ultimately poor function of the penis and other pelvic tissue and organs. I unfortunately know this too well. When I was a dancer over-mobilization and lack of reflexive stability in my hips lead directly to erectile dysfunction as a young man in my early 20’s. I also used to experience severe pelvic floor pain and even explored physical therapy specifically for the issue. Not to knock on PT but the only thing that worked was retraining reflexive stability in my core and I’m talking about that whole wrestling singlet not just the muscles of my pelvis and low abdominals. There’s just way more to it then the squeeze of a Kegel and naked Pilates gets the whole body on board to retrain these patterns.
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How would naked training help with reflexively stable core training? Being naked is a very different sensory experience, especially for the pelvic region. There is a literal pendulum in motion which provides a lot of information of where our pelvis is in space which in itself gives many men more ability to recruit better hip mechanics. Increasing the awareness of the pelvis gives us better ability to differentiate the hip joint from the other joints that need to remain stable like those segments of the low spine. When this happens, muscles do not need to grip to hold tension but can work dynamically across the entire singlet lengthening and shortening accordingly keeping blood moving and adapting to our needs whether that’s keeping us sitting tall at our computer, moving our body, or supporting a big erection. Those of us that seek naked training enjoy the change of sensation, it helps us feel new options, and if you don’t feel something new you can’t progress and make change. This is why this work is so promising for men’s pelvic health.
That’s sort of a big breakdown of some really scientific stuff. In the end, the benefits of naked Pilates sessions through focus on reflexive core training can create change lasting change and benefits to overall health. I mean who doesn’t want better erections? Having fun and moving your body in a way that feels meaningful to you with Pilates at The Naked Trainers goes way further than you think!
In Naked health,
Certified Pilates Teacher