Back Injury in Switzerland – Part Two: Personal Trainer – Lorraine Jenkins – English speaking

(This is part of a 3-post series regarding a back and neck injury I had in Switzerland from 2014-2015. I have been asked by many people how I got “better” so quickly and miraculously. I hope my information is helpful.)

Lorraine works at Booster Pilates with the Lagree Fitness Method (http://www.lagreefitness.com/about/) and has a great deal of expertise in physical fitness, overall health, and nutrition. She speaks English (from the UK), Italian, and a bit of German.

Today, we joke about my first day in May of 2014 with Lorraine. My shoulders were completely caved in, I looked like a turtle. I had major balance problems because there was no core anymore, no real center of gravity – only mental fear and physical pain in my neck and back. But, I could walk and that’s what she worked with. My legs were strong…and that was it.

Lorraine is an excellent diagnostician. She knows the body so well. Lorraine’s trinity is that she intrinsically knows how much is too much, how much is reparative, and how much is therapeutic. Finding a trainer who will quickly discern what keeps you plateaued on days when your body is aching (especially during the first few months of physical therapy), what gets you loose on days when your muscles are tight, and what builds your strength and endurance. That’s her special recipe and here are specific examples of how she does it, using Lagree terminology.

The Catfish- This is an exercise that Lorraine used to build my confidence. She told me from the second week, “you’re The Catfish Queen.” This has variations and the “normal” version is all we did for three months. Why? Because I simply could not handle more and she knew it. The first time we tried the 2nd variation, she said, “this will be easy for The Catfish Queen” and it was.

The Wheelbarrow- Lorraine almost always starts with this and reminds me to feel in my abs. But, I couldn’t at first. I felt it in my back because I didn’t really have “an ab.” I could only do it for about 30 seconds. I think she used The Wheelbarrow as a litmus test to know, each workout, how my body was doing that day. It is the best way to start a Lagree workout (in my opinion) because of that reason. If something is off, somewhere in the body, you know it when you do The Wheelbarrow.

Plank to Pike- Both of us felt it the day I did this. This is a freaking tough thing to do. In March, I was told I would probably be in a wheelchair by June. One morning in October, Lorraine and I attempted The Plank to Pike. It’s December now and we do 4 of the 5 variations. Truly a miracle.

Lorraine Jenkins “Lo-J”. Wherever she is in Switzerland, find her. Lorraine has the patience of a saint. Twice, I came into the studio crying and I cried during the entire workout. Once, I was so frustrated with myself, I screamed (I never scream) at her. As I said, there is something inherent in her that just “gets” it. The woman works with pregnant women, injured women, other Pilates instructors, anyone. She “gets” it.

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