We brought the game of Twister into our workout. The game was introduced by Bernard to work on balance. Like the Twister game of my youth, it asks for a person to move their limbs to different locations on a mat. The players might be asked to place their left hand at in one position, while their right hand could be placed at a different point. Still, the player might be required to place their left and right foot onto other points. The idea of the game was to get players twisted into knots. They attempted holding their bodies off the mat by balancing on their limbs. The trick was moving one of your limbs to a new position without losing balance. We began by playing a variation of the game which had me begin from a push-up position. Rather than requiring me to reach a substantial distance with any on limb, Bernard kept the points of interest near. He set-up a couple options for each hand to move and a couple options for each foot to move. With me in a push-up position he began making requests for my limbs to move onto different spots. We found my legs could be moved while maintaining the plank position, but my hands were having trouble. My left hand in particular didn’t want to budge.
The first-time Bernard brought out the game, excitement was in my mind. Twister was a game that didn’t work for me during youth. The strength wasn’t there, in my youth, to keep me balanced off the mat. So, the thought of having the strength and stability to perform the task today brought enthusiasm. When we first started into the process, the ability to move my arms independently, while maintaining the push-up position was concerning. There was more confidence inside over my ability to move my legs, while maintaining the balanced plank position. The thoughts running through my mind over my legs turned out to be true. They could move from one point to the next while holding position. The next movement to work with would be my arms. Moving the arms while keeping balance was an anxious proposition. My right hand moved more easily than I had mentally predicted. But, my left hand was full of trouble. We got it to move slightly, but following just one attempt, the left hand wouldn’t budge on the second go around.
Bernard had begun gathering the information of understanding where we were with the Twister movement. The new game would require some modification before fully gaining the skill. When we made another attempt the following week, the same result came to pass. Moving my legs came relatively freely and with stability. The arm movement to other points on the floor was challenging, causing my left arm to buckle during an attempt to move. The buckling happened a couple times, causing feelings of frustration during the movement. So, Bernard decided to work my arms separately from my legs. He brought over a mat to place my legs on. The kneeling position provided more stability for my arms to move. From this point, the feeling of moving my hands from one point to the next could take shape. For the following set of hand movements, Bernard had me move my knees back an inch on the mat. The movement backward removed some stability and required the maintaining of more balance. I was able to perform the task with my knees pulled back an inch. With the mat being brought in for modification, confidence started developing around freely moving my hands to another point on the floor. We could move on to the next step of Twister.
Our building of the Twister game would continue the following week. Bernard set out to make things a bit more complex. We would work on crossing my legs and arms over each other. Again, from the plank position we worked with my legs. Bernard had me place one leg under the other by touching a point on the floor. On moving one leg under the other was executed, he had me cross one leg over the other at the heel. Each movement felt designed to manipulate my balance point. Requiring me to feel the new position and regain balance quickly, maintaining the plank position. Then, it was time to bring the mat into the movement and work on movements of my arms. This was the anxious part of Twister for me, as moving the arms has been most challenging. It has also been the movement causing periods of stumble while attempting to learn. Like he did when working on the legs, Bernard had me cross over with my arms to the opposite side of the body. Instead of keeping my arms on one side and moving them to different targets on the floor, Bernard wanted something more complex. After a couple attempts, I was able to maintain balance while moving one hand across, and to the other side of the hand left stationary. The feeling of having my hands close together on one side of the body made balance challenging. It took some time getting familiar with the balance point from the position. Following a few attempts, I was getting the hang of the new body positioning. The balance was becoming familiar and another progression was successful.
After finishing another modification of the twister game, we took a break. It would be a couple weeks before giving the movement another chance. When Bernard brought me back to the Twister movement, we tried again with no modification. This time he only set out one target for my legs and hands to move onto. He had me raise into the plank position once again. Similar to attempts before, moving my legs to different positions on the floor was relatively smooth. It took stern focus to move the right hand, but it could be accomplished. The left hand however, continued to be unwilling to budge too far. One thing Bernard had noticed when I made attempts to move my left hand was its ability to slide. The left could be slid a short distance instead of fully being lifted off the floor. It seemed to signify that I was slowly improving in holding my weight off the left side. The observation led Bernard to another modification of the Twister movement. He provided sliders for my hands to sit on during the exercise. Now, instead of picking up my hands and moving them, the requirement would be to slide my hands along the floor. From a plank position, Bernard had me move my legs to a specific point, then back again. Next would be my hands, he had me slide one back and forward, then do the same on the other side. I was able to perform the movement a couple times before my strength ran out. We were one step closer to executing the Twister exercise. It gave me a sense of accomplishment to find the improvement.
We were getting closer to the accomplishment of Twister. It was encouraging to watch Bernard come up with the slider modification. His thought process finding different ways of moving closer to the goal. Moving the sliders was a really good challenge and by the time we finished, I was looking forward to trying again in the future. The breaks between Twister attempts have been full of other forms of improvement. We continue working on strength in my core. Balance and stability have been a constant emphasis in the majority of our sessions. All of these forms of exercise are used to improve with the other movements. As my strength and stability improves with one exercise, it will make something like Twister easier. So, we continue to work out with Bernard placing an emphasis on variety. He also looks for ways to push improvement within each movement we take on. The way he has been able to create modifications on the spot has always been impressive. His knowledge has helped me find better improvement with cerebral palsy than any time prior. The journey has been exciting and his depth of knowledge impressive.