GYM GUY + PILATES + TYE4
"For the longest time, I thought Pilates was a Greek mathematician. I finally learned that it was something you did with your body to increase mobility and flexibility, preferably while wearing aqua-colored tights and listening to Enya. Therefore, as a man, I used to think of a few other "p-words" when I heard the word Pilates: pumpkin spice lattes, and pretentiousness.
Okay, so maybe that's painting with a broad brush -- but seriously, Pilates was never a form of exercise that I embraced, or even took seriously. I consider myself to be fairly health-conscious, but I've never been keen on the concept of group fitness classes, yoga, and other seemingly "graceful" methods of burning calories. I've spent the last ten years doing a mixture of weightlifting, mixed martial arts, and occasional bouts of rock climbing. Most of those involved blood, all involved pain, and pain was a right of passage.
Fast-forward a few years... pain had transitioned from a right of passage to a "way of life". I had noticed friends of mine (mostly female) at my church mentioning this odd-looking bungee cord called "Tye4". They wore it, did a bunch of Pilates-looking stuff, and usually followed it up with an Instagram post of a coffee, aimed to make Yuppies in the area salivate with envy. "I'll pass" I thought. But I kept seeing it... kept hearing about the "burn" that it would give. I continued hearing about the flexibility, and the mobility, and the "strength" (yes, strength from a bungee cord). So, when I connected the dots that one of my favorite people -- Ashley Benson -- was distributing it, I let my curiosity get the better of me, and started asking them some questions. Those questions turned into "maybe it can help with MY pain, MY flexibility".
My wife and I began applying some basic moves and stretches. Within minutes, I could tell that Tye4 was the real deal. Not only was I squaring-up my shoulders to wear it more comfortably, but I was pushing myself to stretch further to "feel" the Tye4's resistance. It's a psychological thing for me -- the resistance sent a tactile cue to my brain to "push" into the stretch. This is good, because I have the flexibility of an anvil. The other thing that became immediately apparent was the symmetry it introduced to my body. Without the Tye4, it's quite easy to stretch one arm a bit further, one leg a little less. But with the Tye4 forming a bridge across the axis of your body, if one side dominates, you feel the resistance respectively increase. Subconsciously, you make the adjustment. All muscles get worked evenly. It's brilliant.
My wife also took notice of the effects... for at least a year, her shoulder was extremely sore during exercise, something akin to an impingement. After two days with the Tye4, the pain was negligible and she had full range of motion. A few days later, we did a quick ten-minute HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout... by the end of it, I was drenched. The resistance of each cable is very light... maybe between five and ten pounds, depending on the orientation of the cables. But what destroys you (in a good way) is that five/ten pounds being pushed in *every* direction. Coupled with HIIT, you will definitely exhaust the affected muscle groups.
We both loved it so much that we purchased one for each of us to use, and we have used it every day since. Most days, we use it as a warm-up routine to wake up our muscle groups and get the blood flowing. But a few days each week, we wear it throughout the workout. I especially love it on chest day -- the Tye4 acts like an invisible spotter when you're doing dumbbell chest press, the resistance keeping your form in check throughout the full range. Between sets, we do cardio-acceleration, miniature HIIT bursts for 60 seconds while the resistance taxes our muscle groups. You'll be the wettest person in the gym, but that IS why you're there, right?
Since we've been wearing the Tye4 in the gym for a few weeks, we have received a few stares. But just as I was skeptical at first, those stares have turned into "Hey bro, what is that?" and "What does it do?", and that's precisely when we share our Tye4 story with them.
-- John Moorehead