Whether being gently persuaded by partners to attend or going incognito, Carrick’s ‘Men Only’ pilates classes are proving increasingly popular.
So far 10 members have signed up for the sessions run by Avril Waller at Downshire School with a number conceding they have had their preconceptions challenged.
Avril, who is well-known in the community for her health and fitness expertise, told the Carrick Times: “Three of them were ‘sent’ by their partners as these ladies already come to me and know the benefits and knew their husbands needed to go to a class like mine.
“One man came to me before a couple of years ago and this time he came and brought two friends (they tell their friends they are going to karate for a joke).
“It differs from other sessions because it is men only. In case men were shy, I decided to see could I encourage men to come if there were no ladies about.
“The level is beginners as most men have never done pilates before.”
It can be a steep learning curve with participants quickly realising they need to improve their flexibility and posture, which will automatically help them. Some report with sore shoulders, backs, tight hips etc.
They range in age from their 30s to to their 70s. And Avril would welcome those from a team sports background to the classes which although challenging are fun
“Now that the men have got to know each other more, there is a good atmosphere and we have a bit of a laugh when I show them a move, which they feel they can’t do. There can be a lot of moaning going on when we stretch the hamstrings. I have to say I am very pleased with what they have achieved in just a few weeks.”
The men have been surprised at the shapes they get in to. Any who may have thought pilates was a doddle now know, it’s not, continued Avril.
“I can see they have got stronger, better at sit ups and their flexibility is improving.
“My husband comes to class and is a decorator so suffers with sore shoulder and a tired back. He says, his back is not so sore and he’s getting relief in his shoulder.”
The reaction from the group has been rewarding, added Avril. “One man used to curl up in pain when I asked him to stretch from head to toe and he’s stopped doing this. Another man said he came expecting to be bored and couldn’t believe how much he enjoyed it.”
Further testimony was provided by a former weight trainer with a few injuries who “really enjoyed”his first class and complimented Avril on her teaching..
Men Only pilates takes place at Downshire School on Wednesdays at 7.40pm.