Fitness Face-Off: Splits (session 11, a.k.a. where art thou, Brian?)



Add +

RECOMMENDED: Fitness guide to NYC

This is from my first session with Brooke.

This is from my 11th session with Brooke.

And that is the reformer. Upon which I do most of the work, including this, which I think is called the Elephant.

Apparently, Joseph Pilates used to say that in ten sessions you feel the difference, in 20 sessions you see the difference, and in 30 sessions your body changes. (This is why most Pilates studios encourage students to buy sessions in packets of ten.)

I'm curious to see Brian's progress, because his lack of posts would suggest that maybe he's not making any at all.

Not to get ahead of myself, but I'm steadily moving toward the splits with my right leg in front. And we're starting to get ambitious in thinking that we might be able to bring my left leg (which Brooke refers to as my right leg's sad little brother) up to speed. At this point it's probably at the point where my right leg started.

This is my left leg forward.

Brooke was so pleased with my progress on Friday that we took a little break from the leg action to work on my right upper back, which is significantly stronger than my left upper back (when I get stressed, I hunch, particularly on that side).

A few weeks ago, I went to get a massage from Claire Mullen at Just Calm Down. I'd visited her before, but she didn't recognize me. Until 20 minutes in, when she told me that she remembered my lopsided back. While it's due to myriad things, Brooke thinks that it is the root from whence all the other imbalances extend. And she thinks, as a lucky by-product of this face-off, that we can fix it.

Regardless, I went back to Claire on Friday for another rubdown, because I appreciate her no-nonsense, pain-be-damned approach to working out the knots that lace my entire back. I'd always assumed that knots were just tight muscles, but Claire explained what actually happens. Essentially, your body releases fibrin when it senses exhaustion and stress (as in, when you sit at a computer all day and hunch your shoulders as you type) to reinforce the muscle tissue. Fibrin is kind of gluey (the crunchy feeling in knots) and doesn't leave the tissue easily. If the stressed state continues, it builds up, creating adhesions between the fascia (the connective sheathing between muscle groups). So where your muscles should slide against each other with a full range of movement, they start moving together, or not really moving at all. And thus begins the vicious cycle. Claire likened it to trying to walk if the inner seams of your pants were sewn together to the knees. Anyway, beyond massage (to work on your traps yourself, she recommends lying on two racquetballs and sliding up and down), stretching is the best remedy. Beyond that, it's about making a concerted effort to improve your posture (i.e., being mindful of not hunching). Also, avoid hauling a heavy handbag around on your shoulder.

Users say