Client of the Month, Joe Z.
"Before Pilates, I didn't even really know what my Core was and now I can feel it working during my daily activities."
Joe is an energetic, personable, smart man who truly loves golf. In his mid-50's and with a 0.0 handicap, he competes at a high level in amateur golf tournaments around the country. When Joe walked into Aspire 18 months ago, he was frustrated, in pain, and wasn't sure where to turn. The long hours on the golf course, coupled with many hours at his desk at work, had grown into severe back pain complete with several herniated discs, a torn rotator cuff which had turned into frozen shoulder, neck pain, knee pain, and a multitude of other daily aches that made his life difficult and playing golf very painful. People were telling him that he may have to retire from golf, as his body was "giving out" on him. "When I started Pilates over 1 ½ years ago, I was searching for something that would eliminate joint and muscle pain without causing more injury. I was also searching for a way to still play golf and get better." While working with a chiropractor and a massage therapist, a local body worker told Joe that he should try Pilates for Core strength and joint stability.
When Joe started Pilates, he was lacking strength in key areas of his body that help keep pain at bay and help with athletic performance. He was also extremely tight and inflexible, which quickly earned him the friendly nickname of "Brick Man." As with all of our clients, we started very slowly and steadily with Joe. We began building from the "inside out" by first strengthening the deep core muscles in order to stabilize the spine. Then we began addressing the rest of his body with good body mechanics and strengthening. "Tonya has been a life savior. She has given her time and energy to identifying my individual bad habits, weak muscles, and stressed joints, and to providing me with specific exercises that have not only helped reduce my pain level, but have also increased my strength, flexibility and balance."
Not long after starting Pilates, Joe noticed a big decrease in his back pain, which was followed by reduced pain in his other joints. Once we got his body mechanics working better, we began building his strength, flexibility and balance. This continued to improve the comfort in his body and then we were able to start golf specific Pilates training. Using not only traditional Reformer and Cadillac Pilates machine exercises, we added balancing on props that wobble, rotation on moving objects, swinging the golf club while standing on unstable and tricky surfaces, and breathing techniques to increase rotation and power while driving the club. Soon, his friends noticed that he was suddenly "going long" and wondered if this Pilates stuff that he was doing was really working.
"I am able to play and practice more and
my body mechanics are much better, allowing
me to swing the club more effectively,
producing more club head speed."
After a few months, he noted that he was able to play and practice for longer and longer periods of time without feeling like he was "shredded." With Pilates, Joe is now able to play 36 holes a day with little or no pain. And now, even when he is sore, the pain is less dramatic and his recovery time is faster. "I am now able to help myself when my muscles get tired or stressed. I now know which exercises will help reduce my pain and speed my recovery." While Pilates has helped eliminate much of the pain that Joe has had in his body for such a long time, the bonus is that it has also given him new and untapped strength, which in turn has improved his golf game. Pilates is a fantastic form of training which focuses on your body's specific needs. "Pilates has really changed my life and taught me about my body and its unique traits. With my new found flexibility, I am able to maintain and lower my handicap, continue to excel, and play at a more competitive level." A reflection of his new found flexibility is Joe's new nickname at Aspire - "Gumby." Golf is an integral part of Joe's life, and now he has many more years to hit the ball as his golf continues to improve and his body continues on its path to happiness. The overall shift in Joe's body not only has given him new power, endurance, and a better quality of life, but it has given him many additional years of joy playing his beloved golf. Best of luck, Joe! Here's to fewer strokes, longer drives and a pain-free life on the green.