Let’s face it, you boys like your weights.

For many of you, a workout isn’t a workout without a good go at the free weights. You like to sweat, grunt and lift heavy for bulk and definition and then head for the showers without stopping for anything as girlie as a proper warm down.

OK, I’m exaggerating, but not by much.

The problem is that as you get a bit older, the imbalances inherent in the ‘beach muscle’ workout (all chest, arms and abs) starts to catch up. This kind of workout often compounds the postural problems that many of us suffer from all those hours sitting – or slouching – at our desks.

With the body constantly pulled out of alignment, all sorts of injuries can result, from chronic back, shoulder and neck pain to bulging or torn discs.

Clearly there’s no point in having abs like Arnie if you can’t stand up straight. So maybe it’s time to learn a few tricks from the girls. Seriously.

So what are they doing that you’re not? Answer: core work and stretching.
First off, there’s a lot more to the core than just the abs. It’s the body’s natural girdle, a whole series of muscles that support the spine, align posture and anchor pretty much all our movement. Core training techniques like Pilates are a really effective way to get all those muscles working properly together, helping avoid or reduce the risk of injury, improving posture, movement and – yes, really – strength.

Similarly, a word of advice for anyone who still thinks that stretching is for wusses. Strong muscles mean moveable muscles. Incorporating flexibility training into your routine will result in greater range of motion, which will in turn lead to greater strength gains and muscle growth (not to mention injury prevention and faster recovery).

So if you want to make sure you’re properly prepared for a good manly workout, maybe you should start by spending a bit more time with the ladies on the stretch mats.

The stretch leggings are optional.

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