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My Pilates Journey Week 3 – Glass Cannon

26th July 2018

My third week has been very eventful at Bälans Pilates, and it has also been one of many realisations for me. The highlight of the week was when a filming crew came in to create a short film of Kayte, a truly inspiring client and cancer survivor, who has written a book about her life. The filming was a very fun experience, everyone was having a good time and we got a great workout as background blobs while Kayte was getting interviewed. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this!

Earlier on in the week, during a conversation with Joakim, the owner of Bälans, I found out that I have hypermobile joints. While this did not come as a shock - my physiotherapist told me I reach all 9 levels of flexibility he measures –, I know several people who can bend at more unnatural angles than me, so I never thought I had it. Nevertheless, it explains a lot of things I’ve experienced.

I’ve always had weak joints: on family trips I’d often hold everyone up by having to sit down, and when I was around 4, I used to throw a lot of tantrums because of how tired I got from walking. I also get back pain very easily when carrying heavy things in my backpack. Three years ago, when I was in Porto, my knees actually gave way when heading down the numerous stairs that lead to the river in its valley, and I had to drag myself down the handrails and walls to be able to get to the bottom (I’m cherry-picking the extremes here, it’s not something that interferes with my life on a weekly basis). This new discovery explains the muscle cramps I mentioned last week too, as my spine is probably more flexible than the muscles around my waist…

While my flexibility gives me an edge in everyday activities like washing my back in the shower, or kicking people in the head, I am in essence a glass cannon, and it would be nice to lessen the more problematic consequences. Joakim told me that this can be done by focusing on keeping my limbs slightly bent during workout, and to build up the muscles around my joints (which happens to be what Pilates was designed to do).

I also went back to a jujitsu training session this week. I was the highest belt present, so for the first time in my life, I was asked to lead warm-up. As I was – slightly nervously - going through my favourite leg stretches, I noticed that some of the people mimicking me were not flexible enough to do the tasks.

I quickly adjusted the stretches to something they were capable of doing too, but it made me wonder what other exercises I could use to improve their flexibility while providing bendy people like myself a challenge too. I could immediately think of several Pilates Matwork exercises that could do the job, so in the next few weeks I would like to talk to the instructors more, to make sure I master those exercises before using them in a warm-up routine.

To read about my experience with Apparatus classes, follow this link!


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