FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – I’ve got a butt problem.
Especially, I sit too much and I really don’t use the muscles packaged to it as far as I should.
That is one of the revelations I found during a visit to the TB12 Sports Therapy Center, the gym/treatment centre opened by Tom Brady and his own body trainer Alex Guerrero to provide both future Hall of Famers and also people who don’t play soccer for a living a chance to adopt what everyone around there calls “The Method.”
That would be the TB12 Strategy, which the Center’s Website describes this Manner:
[It] incorporates nutrition, exercise, hydration, cognitive exercise, and approaches for optimizing muscle pliability in order to help individuals achieve and maintain peak performance.
The key is the P-word: Pliability. Everything revolves around this concept. On the Wednesday that I flew to Patriot Place, Guerrero’s t-shirt spelled out it:
I expected the TB12 Center for a gym, maybe a tennis bubble’s size, together with the most state-of-the-art gear in some type of region near Gillette Stadium. But it’s far from that: a couple of steps away from a Dunkin’ Donuts and It is nestled right next to a Pure Barre as part of the outdoor mall that’s Patriot Place. And yes, there’s a sign outside proclaiming it’s the TB12 Sports Therapy Center with a photo of Brady. If you look out from the entry, Gillette Stadium, symbolically, looms.
The inside is shockingly austere: There’s a swath of imitation turf with a few pieces of equipment in the middle of a space surrounded by therapy rooms that have names such as “End,” “Focus” and “Grit.” There’s even a backboard and hoop.
I started the afternoon filling out a questionnaire about sports that I play (these days, it is tennis, golf clubs and occasionally basketball), my action level (I lift after a week, do cardio twice and wish that I could do both more) and past injuries/conditions (a knee which swells up sometimes, scoliosis, general lower back pain and a broken right wrist I suffered from college on a poor intramural basketball foul).
Then I was led into a room (“Dedication”) with Matt, one of the TB12 trainers, who spoke over my background and clarified the routine: I’d start with walking and jogging on a treadmill using sensors to pick up any loopholes within my measures, followed by a few simple exercises on the turf that might help him pick up some muscles I was weak with.
The treadmill walk showed I pronate together with my feet, which probably put strain on my thighs. A plank along with a squat on the turf revealed that, like many of my fellow office workers, I had been too “quad-dependent” – I wasn’t engaging my glutes considerably, my hip flexors were locked and that I wasn’t using my heart enough. It made sense since my job doesn’t need me to do more than sit in a desk and kind, even though I try my very best to stretch and continue throughout the day. I also favored my side due to my left knee, likely on the squat.
Matt led me straight back to “Dedication,” in which I stretched out on the treatment table. He prepped me for the torture to come: He’d give me a deep tissue massage in my thighs, hip flexors and glutes so as to stretch out my muscles and create them … pliable!
Working on loosening up the muscles in my thighs was hard, but when he dug his thumbs into my hips and pressed repeatedly, I couldn’t help but yelp unprintable things. But every time he nearly finished a muscle band, he taught since he did you massage me to transfer my legs. That way, he explained, my thoughts would associate the pain because “positive trauma” rather than damaging.
That’s the story behind the “pliability”: The Method is all about linking your entire body and head together as you, working not as separate parts but as a whole. After the glute was loosened up as I awakened, I gravitated to that concept – I did feel lighter and almost like I was standing taller.
Before my visit, I was mystified. The TB12 folks sent me a gym bag full of branded items, and that I had a moment such as the merchandising scene out of Spaceballs: TB12 the hat! TB12 the more healthy protein bites! TB12 the protein powder! TB12 the bands that are stretching! TB12 the … vibrating sphere? That last one is supposed be used on shoulders and the back like a foam roller.
I could use those with the TB12 app that is brand new, I could tackle the 300-page TB12 Strategy book, which I paged through to Logan Airport on my flight. It was not tough, although I tried to place any prejudice aside for my day performing the Brady workout. I can not eat tomatoes because they’ll cause inflammation? You want me to make avocado ice cream? What are the specifics for the ideal night of sleep that I need?
I felt helpless. I wondered just how this could be read by anyone and feel as they might be similar to Tom Brady afford it.
Where Christian, a different coach, had me slip on a resistance band within my thighs, we went outside into the turf. After I did a squat, Christian reminded me to utilize them and tapped the side of my glutes as well as my stomach. He used his hands adjust my posture coming down so I was more aware of staying balanced rather than favoring my right side. I could feel a difference. Together with my core and glutes that were previously-unused engaged, the strain came off my quads and knees.
The same went for sports-specific exercises I’d use to improve my shoulder swing – increase strength would be helped by a resistance band. During that workout, Christian kept tapping on core and my backside, reminding my brain to use them. As odd as it was, it worked. I could find out how sessions may teach me to be balanced, to utilize my body to create power.
The feeling I had on the flight back – aside from a few soreness – was some confusion. I had just experienced an eye-opening (and glute-opening) workout and training session, but so many questions remained.
There were the scientific concerns regarding Guerrero’s techniques, because critics had called him a “quack” or a “glorified snake-oil salesman” and pliability had been “balderdash,” not to mention the constant swirl of controversy because of a past that included fraud lawsuits.
There were also the lingering doubts about quotes I had heard from Brady like this one ( via ESPN.com)
“My brain is thinking only soften and moisturizes and disperse before my own body absorbs and disperses the impact evenly and I struck the ground.” Or, more simply, as he sets it in the interview, “I understand that my focus on pliability has helped me avoid so many injuries and bounce back so quickly from hits.”
But then there are the testimonials from fellow authors at MMQB, Men’s Journal and a arbitrary 54-year-old dude who tweeted this picture in my week, calling himself “living evidence” that it all worked for him.
My ultimate takeaway was to try to focus on a kind of middle earth: Of course finding ways to utilize them and loosening up your muscles all together in a balanced manner could help you be a performer. Drinking water, sleeping better, Eating better, and reducing inflammation will do the same. And there is no reason to abandon other conventional workouts such as cardio and weight lifting, but integrating The Method looks like a approach to improve both.
The problem is that is all shrouded in mystery, recipes that are amazing gear and scientific question marks. It is going to take a while before what is only its users or even its own genius edit myth and what is based in science. Perhaps there will be components that will end up in the mainstream universe of exercise.
All I know is that I have the chance and that’s a good thing.