Pilates and the Olympic Edge, Part II
From the desk of Kristen M. Reynolds, PT, DPT, PMA®-CPT...
- She is the official spokesperson of the Pilates Arc by Balanced Body, the world’s largest Pilates company.
- On training days, Natalie wakes at 4:30 am and begins her Pilates warmup at the pool at 5:00 am. for a Pilates Mat warmup. To enhance concentration and mental preparation, she performs the same regimen before all practices and meets"whether it's the first meet of the year or the Olympic final."
- In reference to Pilates she has said, “I feel like it gets my body so ready to work in the pool.”
- "Thursdays I have out of the water, so I'll do Pilates and walk my dog, but I won't swim."
- Natalie uses an extra bedroom in her home as a Pilates studio equipped with a Reformer, Chair, and CoreAlign, but a typical session for her also includes the Cadillac.
- Her favorite apparatus is the Chair because of its small size, yet ability to provide a full body workout.
- “The Olympics are such a stressful time. They’re emotionally stressful and they’re physically exhausting. When I first got to Beijing, I was about a week away from my first swim, and I really wasn’t feeling great in the water.” To improve her mental health, her Pilates trainer taught her a technique called Constructive Rest. To get aligned before going to bed every night, she performed a 20 minute series of breathing and relaxation exercises where she would lie on the floor, knees bent and feet flat and imagine her muscles filling up with water, then envisioning all the tension disappearing. “I really think that [doing Pilates] was one of the things that got me in the right mental as well as physical state for my Beijing Olympics.”
- She has won a medal in every Olympic race that she has entered- six medals in 2008 at the Beijing Games, including a gold, two silvers, and three bronze, in addition to two gold, two silver, and one bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
- In the July 2012 issue of Women’s Health, she recommends the Pilates Roll Up because “we often get these stiff places along our spine that could cause chronic tightness, so doing this ony only helps you get stronger but also helps prevent a lot of tension.”
Kristen Reynolds earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Science from James Madison University in 2006 and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the MGH Institute of Health Professions in 2009. While practicing in orthopedics and sports medicine, a mentor introduced her to the Pilates Method and she has since pursued comprehensive certification to compliment her clinical interests. She has studied with Balanced Body, Peak Pilates, and most recently Balancepoint Pilates. She is an active member of the Pilates Method Alliance, American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy Sections, as well as the APTA of Massachusetts Shoulder and Manual Physical Therapy Special Interest Groups.
Always interested in sports and fitness, she is a former YMCA and Junior Olympic gymnast, coach, and ACE personal trainer. Integrating the Pilates principles and Mat, Reformer, and Cadillac repertoire into her physical therapy practice has produced successful rehabilitation outcomes for a wide variety of patients, including adolescents, elite athletes and dancers, and individuals with chronic orthopedic conditions. Kristen utilizes this alternative therapeutic approach to improve muscle performance and joint mobility, correct posture and alignment, enhance body awareness, and create an evenly conditioned body that is more resilient to extremity and spinal injury. She greatly enjoys designing programs to target personal goals, educating clients to incorporate Pilates into their daily activities, and teaching small group classes.