2. Pilates for men
Pilates challenges your body by putting you through unfamiliar movements that work muscles many guys typically neglect. It seriously hones in on your core as well as helps build flexibility that can make you a better lifter. You can do Pilates on a reformer machine, which uses pulleys that help you work on increasing your range of motion, or you can do mat Pilates that requires no equipment at all (though tools like the infamous “Pilates ring” can take things up a notch or 10).
New York Pilates even has a dedicated class for guys (appropriately named “Brolates”) that focuses on developing the muscles you rarely use and building up your deep core muscles. The class uses the reformer, but founder Heather Andersen provided these two at-home Pilates exercises that target your lower abs:
Starting position: Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and your knees in a table top position (knees bent with thighs perpendicular to the floor).
Exercise 1: Keeping your knees in the tabletop, try to “imprint” your entire lower spine onto the floor by engaging your low abdominals. Then, bring your lower back into a neutral spine—so you have a small amount of space under the low spine, but the hip and pubic bone are all in the same plane. Complete 10 reps. *This exercise strengthens your lower abs and mobilizes your lower back.*
Exercise 2: Keeping your lower back in a neutral spine, alternately extend your legs, one after the other. Make sure to use your low abdominals to keep your spine from shifting. Complete 20 reps; then, repeat with both legs together. *This move strengthens your lower abs and stabilizes your lower back.*