RED HOOK — Dude, where's my Pilates?
In a bid to interest more men in the traditionally female-centric workout of Pilates, Red Hook studio owner Jen Nelson has launched a set of classes created exclusively for men.
Called "Guy-lates" or "Dude-lates," Nelson's classes are designed to reduce the discomfort some men feel in co-ed classes dominated by women.
“It’s sort of harder for [men] because women tend to be more flexible,” Nelson said, adding that Red Hook Pilates, which opened last month, still has plenty of co-ed classes for women.
While people often see Pilates as a “female-type exercise,” said Nelson, the low-impact but intense workout benefits both sexes as well as all ages and body types.
The moves designed by Joseph Pilates, were, according to the U.S. Army's website, used to rehabilitate injured soldiers during World War I. The exercises can help men strengthen certain areas of their bodies like shoulders, hamstrings and their core, Nelson added.
While in England, Pilates, a German national, refined the fitness model by rigging springs to hospital beds and creating a resistance-based form of exercise for bedridden patients. These innovations laid the groundwork for today's Pilates equipment, Balanced Body, one of the first companies to modernize Pilates' machines, claims on its website.
Nelson also rents the studio to yoga instructors, who teach classes like Hatha and Vinyasa, among others. Massage and bodywork therapy, a kind of therapeutic alternative medicine, are also offered at the studio, located at 414 Van Brunt St.
After living in Red Hook for 14 years, Nelson said she was pleasantly surprised by the warm and excited welcome she received through the studio — the only private fitness space in the neighborhood, she said.
The small studio creates an intimate, personal space where almost everyone in the close-knit neighborhood, and in the classes, seems to know each other.
“It’s just nice to realize that this was something that was missing here,” Nelson said.
“Whatever the style of the neighborhood, people are still looking for exercise.”