Working on better moving bodies in North Lake Tahoe |

Working on better moving bodies in North Lake Tahoe

This position is called "Mermaid" and works on hip mobility as well as taking the spine through all planes of movement.
Courtesy of Sierra Symmetry Pilates and Painless Running |

Hillary MacLean is the owner of Sierra Symmetry Pilates and Painless Running. After moving from the Bay Area with her family, she opened her training center at the first of the year and launched classes in April.

Now, she’s looking to welcome locals and visitors to get a full-body assessment and develop a training program to help any ailments they face.

“Whatever issue you have will make its way through your whole body,” MacLean explained.

“The body wants to compensate for immobility. So while your ankle should be mobile, knee should be immobil,e and hips should be mobile. If you have a blown ankle, for example, your knee and hip will make up for it and become unstable.”

“We’re new and excited to help people do what they love. We want to get people outside to hike, bike, ski, golf, whatever they like doing.”- Hillary MacLeanowner, Sierra Symmetry Pilates and Painless Running

MacLean’s background is in gymnastics, snowboarding, wakeboarding, and running. She says she noticed around 2013 that she was pushing her body too hard, which inspired her to become certified with the Pilates Method Alliance — some 450 hours of training later.

“I noticed there weren’t many Pilates places in North Lake Tahoe compared to the Bay Area,” MacLean said.

She explained that having just moved here and made connections with such wonderful people makes her feel like the company is on an upward trajectory; now she wants to spread the word and help people get out doing what they love more comfortably.

“We’re new and excited to help people do what they love,” she said. “We want to get people outside to hike, bike, ski, golf, whatever they like doing.”

Through Sierra Symmetry’s running analysis, athletes can pinpoint running patterns and better understand why bodies break down, allowing MacLean to implement a training strategy to keep people healthy and efficient in their discipline.

The upstairs studio features reformers, a trapeze tower, Pilates chair, and ladder barrel equipment for adults to train on, as well as mat Pilates for kids.

Maclean hosts 55-minute sessions during her adult classes where she zeroes in on making her clients’ movement as efficient as possible.

“We work on a lot of thoracic extension and rotation especially for athletes in any rotational sports like golf for example. Biking and even every day posture has led us to become more hunched over throughout the day, looking at our phone, seated at a desk; so we work on opening that area back up — everything that connects to the ribs, for better performance and less breakdown in the body,” MacLean said.

The difference between Pilates and yoga is that rather than stretching the body through poses and movement, Pilates focuses on stability and mobility in a more detail-oriented regimen that isolates the joints and muscles.

Pilates is beneficial for any type of athlete or person looking to enhance their body’s movement.

“My first client was 65 years old and had fallen while hiking around Thanksgiving,” MacLean said.

She explained that the man had punctured a lung and broken seven ribs, two of which were broken in two places.

MacLean met with the gentleman on the first of January, and by the end of that month he was back on his feet, even able to go skiing again.

“Any kind of person can benefit from Pilates,” she said. “For new moms, we work on movement that strengthens the pelvic floor muscles. When we get older, we lose mobility in our hips, shoulders and spine; this equipment allows us to identify areas of the body to improve and help anyone rehabbing any injury.”

Cassandra Walker is a features and entertainment reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at, 530-550-2654 or @snow1cass.

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