Shopping cart icon


Toby Brookes

Palo Alto, CA

Six months ago I underwent an experimental reconstructive knee surgery - an artificial meniscus implant. The procedure was so new my doctors weren’t really sure what post-surgery physical therapy would be most effective to get my patella to properly track again, thus ensuring a full recovery. As such, I undertook a lot of traditional therapy that was mostly ineffective. In fact, much of it actually set me back in my recovery.

I had heard about Pilates from a good friend who worked at Balanced Body® as well as some other people who had taken classes. To me it sounded like a versatile conditioning tool that could address a variety of objectives - flexibility, strength, core conditioning, balance, etc. I decided it was time to try it.

What a difference it has made.

Although it is still early days in terms of my involvement I am beginning to understand its powerful contribution to increased flexibility and core strength. My knee tends to tighten up over the course of several days if I don't stretch my ham strings, quads and abductors/adductors. Several stretching routines on the Reformer take care of that quickly.

In addition, I need both strengthening and stretching of specific muscles in my leg, all of which affect the tracking of my patella. This can get tricky because a lot of traditional machine work will primarily shorten many of the muscles I need to keep long. This, in turn, displaces my patella leading to pain. On the Reformer I can do both simultaneously and if one or the other is getting out of synch, I know it quickly and can adjust the springs or the exercise itself. It's been a fantastic source of rehab.

As for the core, my golf game has markedly improved in terms of strength and flexibility, as I can turn more fully, and I seem more balanced over the ball.

(continued above)

If you are looking to start a Pilates regimen I recommend finding a good trainer and giving it 6 sessions to see where you are. It’s pretty amazing how much progress one can make from that first session where your muscles seems to shake like a leaf, to the fourth where you can actually see them smoothing out as your musculature and surrounding tissue gets toned.

Toby Brookes does Pilates at Equinox Fitness in Palo Alto

More Real People, Real Pilates, Real Stories

Has Pilates changed your life? Are you an instructor with a great client success story? We’d love to hear from you.