Back at the Hanger Clinic for my third visit since getting the ExoSym, I was ushered into the routine of the place. Once you have been casted, tested the test device and received your ExoSym, the next step is to get you going on a training routine unique to your own needs to get the most out of the device. As Jared of Jared’s House of Pain fame put it, “These devices are perfect for you, when we get your body in the right shape for them.”
During my last visit, Jared worked with me on a number of core exercises, demonstrating them then putting me to work. His secret number is six. You do however many reps of each exercise (varies based on the exercise) six times. I have eight exercises I must do with progressively harder work for each. My routine is two days a week, with four of the exercises each day. Doesn’t sound like much, right? Well, I was inches away from buying an “Everything Hurts and I’m Dying” t-shirt after day one. It’s not easy, especially if you’re not one of those people who lives for going to the gym. I abhor boring routine workouts. I don’t find them fun, invigorating or in any other way enjoyable. It takes some deep discipline to ignore those “we can skip today” and “I don’t need any more of this crap” internal conversations, I tell you what.
After receiving your exercise demonstration, every visit after that is basically a visit to the gym where your personal trainer checks in on you, as does the magician who created the devices that allow you to be bigger, stronger, better for considerably less than $6 million. You sign in and go to work independently at the gym, working through your assigned exercises.
The Hanger physical therapy process is set up as a group atmosphere. There are several people doing their exercises and getting training from the same person all at the same time. It’s both a way for the good folks at Hanger to help as many people at once and also for us to mix and mingle, spot and support, and basically get to know our fellow ExoSym-ers. We’re scattered around the globe. This is the one place where we’ll always find each other. Kind of our own special Pokémon Stop of awesomeness.
As I started through the House of Pain Day Two routine, Jared checked in on me and I had the wonderful opportunity to meet a new ExoSymer, Lucy, who was out from England for 10 days or so to get her device. Another four device owners were mingling about doing their workouts with Jared. Once I’d warmed up properly, Jared decided to add some spice and get me working on balancing exercises. With both feet being so bad and my center of gravity so off, balance is not my friend. However, in trying a few things we discovered the pelvic tilt I’ve had in my right hip so long has caused a tightened hip flexor. Jared added daily stretching exercises for that muscle to add to my routine.
Then he set up an obstacle course with a balance beam. The very name “balance beam” gives me the willies. Yet, I pulled it off. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked. My 7 year old caught me doing the double beam it on video. After that I did it on one beam and then a few other obstacles, which impressed me.
One thing that was mighty helpful was learning how to step down hard. Unlike how I used to, land on both or the best foot at the time, with the ExoSym, you land in the middle of your foot and keep going to dispense the force. The harder you land, the bigger the next step. Practicing that caused a few jarring experiences, but I got the hang of it.