I strode into the studio, a relatively quiet space with only half the normal count of participants occupying the previous class slot. Prior to the arrival of other class attendees (the tardy duo observed two weeks ago), I was asked about overall status of body and if any discomfort was present. I relayed concerns over pains in the mid- to lower back area on the left side of the body, along with persisting wrist pains and general weakness in both wrists. The instructor declared a rotation of the body and height difference of shoulders, neither of which was news to me, though I had hoped that engagement in pilates would have assisted to rectify these biomechanical issues to some degree. Tension was noted in the right shoulder as well as the left mid-back - a potential result of this rotation. Stretches for these two areas were advised to relieve tension in the body.
- Knee extensions: one would attach the feet and press out from the Cardio Tramp, maintain long legs in mid-air, and return to the tabletop position, feet positioned at the centre of the Cardio-Tramp
- Tabletop position: The tabletop position would be maintained throughout the reps, from pushing out to mid-air to return.
- Thigh openers: Legs opening to form a V-shape in mid-air and returning to a turnout position on the Cardio-Tramp
- Straight Legs in the air: Legs would be sent up towards the ceiling after pushoff; this was not a variation of the reverse crunch, for the lower back was to adhere to the Carriage at all times
- Knee extensions in pilates stance: With the upper body flexed forward, ribs tucked and spine in neutral, the gaze was cast upwards at 45 degrees while jumping from the trampoline attachment.
- Scissors in pilates stance: Maintaining the flexed stance from the previous position, the legs were lifted alternately and stabilized back onto the Cardio-Tramp. This was particularly intriguing given my acquaintance with scissors in mat pilates, for the tension springs in the Reformer and returning position on the Cardio-Tramp added a dose of whimsy to the move.
We remained lying face up on the Carriage for the next series of exercises. A slightly deflated ball was handed to my neighbour, while cloth resistance bands to myself and another participant of the class. Her was pink, while mine black - apparently harnessing slightly heavier tension than the rest. Articulation of the spine was revisited for glute bridges. From there, the soles of the feet would be placed atop the footbar, slightly wider than hip distance. My left thigh was commanded slightly further from the centreline than the right; the intention was to engage the left gluteus medius, the weaker side, more. Pressing out against the band to the best of my ability, we proceeded with glute bridges, quick pulses, single leg bridges with upward and downward sweeps, and a knee extension exercise I had yet to ever execute prior to this day. With the heels pressed against the footbar, the knees would be extended such that the body would resist the selected tension spring on the Carriage. The body was not to touch the Carriage, and instead return to the starting position using hamstring power. My legs had been tired out to start, with total annihilation achieved through this portion of the routine.
Then, in the same position with the arm strap dropped, a handful of oblque crunches were completed. On the left side was a forward fold to engage the core and back; this folding movement was not repeated on the other side given existing rotation issues.
Finally came a hip flexor stretch turned lunge and hamstring burn in a standing position inside the Reformer. With no springs attached to the Carriage, core strength was demanded to keep movement of the Carriage calm and fluid. A standing rolldown concluded the class.
Throughout the class, I was reminded of a few form aspects for fixing:
- Anterior vs. Posterior tilt of the pelvis: In instances of muscle fatigue and weakness, my neutral spine required a slight posterior tilt (no imprint!), while keeping the ribs and tailbone tucked.
- Extension and flexion of the wrist: Wrists were to be maintained in a neutral position with "hyperextending".
- Strength imbalance in gluteus medius and hips: To combat weakness on the left side of the lower body, additional resistance could be incorporated with the left knee constantly pushing out against it.
"The kimchi adds a nice kick." I was informed. Technically, we observed neither kimchi nor too grand a portion of unagi within, leading me to wonder whether the portion size had indeed diminished over the years.
We then proceeded to travel the inner perimeter of the mall. Spotting no items of interest, we ventured outside, only to be graced with an atrocious amount of wind. Barely escaping the whipping of an eco bag, our retreat indoors was made with haste.
I had nothing to lose.
To my relief, the parking garage saw countless departing vehicles at our time of arrival. Traffic volumes were on the steep side, though perhaps not nearly as intense as that of Square One. A lofty ceiling gave the impression of spaciousness within.