Thanks to stars like Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna, personal trainer Tracy Anderson has become a minor celebrity herself. Anderson caters to a Hollywood aesthetic that prizes slimness above all else (that is, for women anyway; men, not so much). Unfortunately, her work perpetuates a foolish ideal, not just in Hollywood but in the general culture; for better or worse, celebrities hold sway over how people think and act.
But it is particularly inimical when female athletes, their parents, or their coaches take such nonsense to heart:
Beware of the gym: the weights are too heavy. “After over-exercising in gyms in my late teens my muscles got very bulky and I was more like a gymnast than a ballet dancer. It looked like somebody threw me in the trash compactor: my neck got really short.”
To point out just one relevant danger, female athletes would in fact do well to train their neck and trapezius muscles, and yes, with heavy weights.
One last observation. Not to take too much away from Anderson, but I suspect that more than anything else Madonna owes her fantastic body to an admirable work ethic and good genetics-I don’t remember her ever not having a nice body, always rather athletic-and she would probably look and feel even better with some heavy weights thrown into her workout mix.