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Complete Book of Pilates for Men: The Lifetime Plan for Strength, Power and Peak Performance

Complete Book of Pilates for Men: The Lifetime Plan for Strength, Power and Peak Performance

4.2 4
by Daniel Lyon, William A. Arbizu (Illustrator), William A. Arbizu (Illustrator)

A comprehensive, take-anywhere exercise program designed to improve men's strength, flexibility, balance, and posture

Have years of office work wreaked havoc on your posture? Could your tennis or golf game use a boost? Do you appear or feel older than your age? Or do you carry yourself in a manner that expresses strength, power, and


A comprehensive, take-anywhere exercise program designed to improve men's strength, flexibility, balance, and posture

Have years of office work wreaked havoc on your posture? Could your tennis or golf game use a boost? Do you appear or feel older than your age? Or do you carry yourself in a manner that expresses strength, power, and peak performance to everyone around you?

In recent years, Pilates has become a popular exercise program, especially among women. Many books on the subject show lithe female bodies stretched across their covers. Top Pilates instructor Daniel Lyon Jr. aims to break the preconception that Pilates only benefits and appeals to women. "This couldn't be further from the truth," he asserts. "Joseph Pilates was a cigar-smoking boxer, acrobat, and gymnast, and he developed his exercise program from that background for men first." Likewise, Lyon designed this book specifically with men in mind, as the number of male Pilates practitioners -- among them professional athletes, actors, businessmen, and other high-profile personalities -- has rocketed to about three million and continues to grow.

For athletes, working stiffs, and men recovering from injuries, Lyon offers the first comprehensive exercise program of its kind. He walks you through forty "traditional mat" exercises and more than sixty "reformer on the mat" exercises -- each one brilliantly illustrated -- in an inspiring self-guided program that adapts to all experience levels and requires nothing more than floor space, an exercise mat, and the desire to look and feel your best. Using the Pilates method of engaging the strongest parts of the body, or the "powerhouse" (Joseph Pilates's term for the abdominals, hips, lower back muscles, and buttocks), and integrating all other body parts from this core, Lyon's program targets trouble spots for men and helps them achieve strong, lean, masculine physiques.

The Complete Book of Pilates for Men will deliver quick and long-term results to any man who seeks optimal fitness and a competitive edge in all aspects of his life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Former trader turned TriBeCa Pilates instructor Lyon argues men and women are different when it comes to the mat (men have more strength; women are more flexible). Guys tend to be especially tighter in the shoulders, back, legs and hips, so he has crafted a program for them. The idea is simple enough and the information is solid. There's a quick introduction on the history and basic principles underlying Pilates, followed by a section featuring 40 exercises of "traditional Pilates mat work" and another section with 66 more advanced "reformer on the mat" exercises. Accompanied by illustrations of Lyon in action, the exercises are well organized and easy to follow. The more material readers cover, however, the less convinced they'll be of the need for a book on the subject tailored exclusively for men. While it's true that Pilates classes generally have appealed more to women, the same can surely be said for yoga, aerobics and other comparable low-impact workouts. The gender angle makes for a catchy title and a clever hook, but ultimately seems like a bit of a stretch. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
These books offer self-guided exercises designed to increase strength and flexibility and address differing levels of physical fitness and athletic ability. Lyon, a Pilates instructor based in New York City, aims to dispel the myth that Pilates is only for women; his clear, organized text explains and illustrates 40 traditional mat exercises and 60 reformer-on-the-mat exercises for men. (Reformer refers to an apparatus commonly found in Pilates studios.) The Pilates philosophy recognizes an integral connection between the mind and the body and focuses on the strongest part of the body-the abdomen or "core" from which all movements derive. These routines, according to Lyon, are supposed to be natural for our bodies, and their practice should increase strength, coordination, and confidence. Cooley, founder of the California-based Meridian Stretching Centers, has trained professional athletes with his program of 16 "magic" stretching exercises that are linked to the body's "meridians," or energy pathways identified in traditional Chinese medicine. Unlike conventional stretching, these exercises employ resistance. A total of 64 stretch movements are presented in workouts at four different levels: beginner, intermediate, advanced, and assisted advanced. Each exercise is clearly explained and accompanied by photographs. However, Cooley makes fervent claims about the psychological benefits of his regimen: the Seated Lotus Opener exercise, for example, is supposed to "help to give you greater understanding and confidence, and a better sense of humor." Lyon's book, though comparatively conservative, is inspiring nonetheless and will probably find a larger audience; recommended for public and academic libraries. Larger health collections with a New Age emphasis may find room for Cooley's manual.-Deborah Anne Broocker, Georgia Perimeter Coll. Lib., Dunwoody Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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The Complete Book of Pilates for Men

The Lifetime Plan for Strength, Power & Peak Performance
By Daniel Lyon

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2005 Daniel Lyon
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060820772

Chapter One

Pilates: The Man's Workout

This book offers the best exercise system available to practice on your own, wherever you are. Why is it the best? Simply put, Pilates works. It addresses exactly what we men need, especially as we grow older: overall health, long balanced muscles, strength from our centers, and control of our bodies.

You've probably come across Pilates in various places over the past few years. Your significant other may have taken a private lesson or mat class. You may have picked up a woman's magazine in the waiting room of anywhere, U.S.A. Or you may have seen a commercial on television showing a roomful of buff women performing leg raises as if they were the Rockettes. The fact that women and their networks have dominated the world of Pilates in recent years has bred the misconception that Pilates is a female-only activity. This couldn't be further from the truth. Joseph Pilates was a cigar smoking boxer, acrobat, and gymnast, and he developed his exercise program from that background first and foremost for men.

This book is designed for all men -- including the athlete or jock, the sedentary man with little or no exercise history, and the injured man. If you're an active athlete, you will discover that Pilates is a natural cross-training resource. It will heighten your coordination, balance your strength, and sharpen your focus.

If you're a sedentary man, you will find Pilates to be a welcoming challenge because it feels natural. You will improve your strength and flexibility with each passing day, and within a short time you will see dramatic results in the mirror. In Joseph Pilates's own words: "In ten lessons you'll feel a difference, in twenty you'll see a difference, and in thirty you'll have a whole new body." His words continue to ring amazingly true.

If you're a man with an injury, you will realize that Pilates offers a logical method of working out while your body is healing. Pilates doesn't aggravate the body; the exercises are always to be performed with control. If ever an exercise hurts, then you simply stop, temporarily or permanently remove it from your practice, and move on to the next exercise. Each body is different. Chances are, you will not be able to perform every exercise from the outset. But eventually, as you gain more control over your body, you will be able to perform all or most of the exercises. Pilates works in this methodical manner, offering new challenges with healing and practice.

I speak from experience. When I hurt my lower back in a power-lifting contest in college, the injury plagued me on and off for ten years. Eight years of jiu-jitsu yielded me a right AC joint sprain, a migration of the left shoulder's clavicle and scapulae, multiple ankle and wrist strains, sprains, and bruises. I have used the Pilates method to rehabilitate my own body. My back no longer hurts; the pain is simply gone. My shoulder no longer "pops" out. I have a full range of motion in both of my shoulder joints. My wrists and ankles -- formerly weakened by repetitive overstretching -- now have new strength. My own body was breaking down during my full-time jiu-jitsu practice. Pilates has reversed the damage.

During and after my years in jiu-jitsu, I had a desk job. As a trader, I watched the markets from 7:30 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. My upper back began to take on that slumped, rounded look. My gut was far from lean, and, if I had not had such a vigorous workout in jiu-jitsu, I would have been rapidly accelerating the aging process. Such bad posture, when either seated or standing, places undue strains on our joints and organs. Just as our brain will stop working if it's deprived of oxygen, our organs won't function optimally if the blood flow to them is hindered or our joints aren't properly aligned. As Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, the founder of Osteopathic Medicine, states, "If the body structure is altered or abnormal, then proper body function is altered and can cause pain and illness." 1 Pilates counteracts the damaging effects of work-related repetitive postures and motions. My posture today is upright, like a sentry standing guard. I have the stomach of a lean twenty year old, and people routinely underestimate my age by seven or eight years. In my own body, I have seen the powerful benefits of Pilates from the vantage of both an injured athlete and a man with a sedentary job.

How does Pilates work for men? It integrates the body by focusing on activating and connecting the strongest parts of the body first -- your core, or what we in Pilates refer to as the "powerhouse." For example, Pilates does not address arm weakness with the thought, "isolate the biceps and strengthen them with curls." Pilates approaches arm weakness and all other body imbalances with the conviction that you must first strengthen your powerhouse. From your powerhouse, you work your body with integrated movement, connecting all the weaker body parts to your strong core. The whole body becomes stronger as a result. In other words, you must strengthen the trunk of the tree and then integrate -- not isolate -- the branches. Through this process, the spine returns to its naturally supple condition.

Think of an aged person. What areas of his body lack the pliability of youth? Typically, they are the hips and spine. The center or core of the body is usually the last area to fail as a consequence of aging. A relatively young person with a rigid spine or immobile hips will appear to be older than his years. Inversely, an older person with a lean, strong powerhouse and a flexible spine will appear years younger than he actually is. This is how Pilates works. I know a man in his late sixties who has been practicing Pilates for thirty years. His workouts aren't as regular as they were when he was younger, but you would never . . .


Excerpted from The Complete Book of Pilates for Men by Daniel Lyon Copyright © 2005 by Daniel Lyon. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Daniel Lyon Jr.'s first Pilates class inspired him to leave his desk job as a trader. He trained with Joseph Pilates's oldest living protégé and has been a private Pilates instructor at reaLPilates @ Tribeca Bodyworks ever since. He was also a Pilates instructor for two years at Drago's Gymnasium. Lyon lives in New York City.

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Complete Book of Pilates for Men: The Lifetime Plan for Strength, Power and Peak Performance 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
JKJ528 More than 1 year ago
I bought this book for my boyfriend who had shown an interest in the pilates I was doing. He loves this book because it's written for a man from a man's perspective. It gives a general guide of some basic pilates moves as well as advanced moves. It also has a section for how to change the moves if certain areas are weak or injured (back, neck, knees etc.) This book is excellent for any man who is maybe interested in pilates, because it is not for girls!
GuyNJ More than 1 year ago
As a Physical Therapist and someone familiar with Pilates, I felt the title promised something more than what the book delivered. The content is good to very good, but it serves as more of a comprehensive reference manual than guide for someone looking to get into Pilates. For that matter, there is very little that specifically addresses how a man might approach Pilates compared to a woman (given that he will most probably have far less flexibility and pelvic floor awareness with greater upper body strength).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I find this to be a wonderful and primary guide for building a strong, powerful, and flexible body. I have used numerous other Pilates guides but this is the first, I've found, that is about exercises for men, results for men, and about improving the health of men. This book cotains detailed yet simple illustrations to guide you through, as well as an extra section to help you specifically do the exercise correctly and to benefit you personally, plus it contains extra 'super advanced' pilates exercises that I have found no where else. There is a beginner, intermediate, and advanced routine, so progress is easy to check, and keep. Pilates is the best way I've found to build optimal strength, endurance, and flexibility, and this has helped me with everyday activities from having good posture, to running and my tennis game. For any man that wants a strong body, a wonderful physique, flexibility and good exercises that are challenging and fun and leave you energized I totally reccomend this book.