Singapore’s biggest fitness trends in 2011:

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Keeping Fit while Having Fun in our integrated waterways and parklands: Through Singapore’s ABC (active, beautiful and clean) waters programme, more people are finding new vibrancy and quality of life in our revamped parks. With meandering rivers and tranquil lushness spanning the length of our urbanised city-state from Pandan to Punggol and Bedok to Bishan, families are embracing the outdoors in the park for fun and fitness as a way of life.

Low Impact but High Yield Exercises through Pilates: People today are growing more affluent but the population is ageing and the stresses of balancing work and family can be intense. Both physical health and mental wellness have become a priority. Besides lengthening and strengthening your muscles, Pilates is low-impact on the body and benefits your emotional health. The smooth, steady movements calm your mind and soothe your nervous system. Pilates improves your circulation and builds endurance in a therapeutical way. Each workout will leave you feeling calm, centred and balanced, and you walk out of each class looking leaner, taller and more toned; and feeling recharged and youthful.

Multiple Benefits in One Regime: Men and women today have less time but want all the benefits available from a cardiovascular workout (to build endurance and burn fat), interval training (to intensify workouts and calorie-burn), and weight training (to maintain bone density and increase muscle mass ~ the more muscle you build, the more efficient your metabolism will be). Pilates offers them their choice of all these benefits in one fitness regime.

Here in Singapore, we would like to see you:

Make healthy food choices ~ fruits and vegetables have antioxidants that protect against major illnesses, calcium is good for our bones, protein like fish aids cell renewal and keeps your heart healthy, fibre-rich foods leave you feeling more satisfied for longer;

Stay active ~ the body was created to be a moving one ~ do something you enjoy, do it with a friend or a trainer, do it often and do it right!

Here at PowerMoves Pilates in the Park, our new programmes for you:

Unlimited Matwork ~ four weeks is all it takes to strengthen and tighten the muscles holding your body together ~ look and feel positively different with your daily dose of Pilates in just one month ~ now $498, usually $698;

Jumpstart Fitness ~ achieving your 2011 resolution of a fit & fab body thru Pilates ~ every workout forces the use of core muscles and combines the benefits of strength training, calorie burn and the flexibility benefits of Yoga ~ 10 sessions for $600 now, usually $760!

Power Moves!
Your partner in fitness through Pilates 🙂

Pilates at PowerMoves Singapore

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When I moved to Singapore I was keen to try a different form of exercise. After looking around, I decided to join the classes at PowerMoves Pilates in the Park. I’ve been attending classes there regularly for the past two years.

The staff at PowerMoves made me feel welcome from the very beginning. My Pilates instructor instantly recognised my postural type and was able to tailor exercises to suit me. The classes are always varied, well thought out and great fun.

My posture has improved hugely, my back is much stronger and I’m working on a six-pack! I’ve increased my body awareness and I’m able to apply the Pilates principles to other activities I enjoy, like horse riding and running. I’ve also made some great friends! 🙂

Susannah Chamberlain

Your Best Self through Pilates at PowerMoves Singapore

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1. How long have you been doing Pilates and how often?

I started practising PowerMoves Pilates in Sep 08 and average about 2 sessions per week.

2. How did you get started? What were the triggers / motivations? Who introduced you to Pilates?

I underwent surgery to remove a slipped disc in Aug 08 and wanted to do something that will not only help me recover but also to make me stronger in order for me to continue to pursue other sports that I enjoy e.g. swimming and cycling.

My wife, Sharon, started on Pilates first as she too was looking for a form of exercise that helps build and strengthen the body’s foundations. She convinced me to give it a try and we’ve not looked back since.

3. What has Pilates done for you, healthwise, so far? Can you compare your present condition to your condition before you did Pilates?


One obvious advantage from practising Pilates is the speed in which I recovered from my surgery. Combining Pilates with regular swimming minimized “down time” post-surgery and allowed me to participate in the swimming leg of a triathlon in March this year, as a member of a relay team.

Since I started practising Pilates, I’ve come to be more aware and have a greater sense of how to control the movements of the various parts of my body to avoid exercise injuries.

4. Looking forward, what are your health goals and for how long do you intend to practise Pilates? Will you get your family and friends to try it?


I plan to remain actively engaged in sports that I enjoy e.g. swimming and cycling, and will continue to complement these with Pilates at PowerMoves.

I would most definitely encourage my family and friends to take up Pilates to improve their overall well-being and more!

Tracking the progress of Herbin Chia and his commitment to making a positive change in his life and in his body at PowerMoves Pilates in the Park Singapore.

Tell your friends – PILATES IS A WALK IN THE PARK

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The last time I exerted myself was more than a month ago, and all I did was go for a short walk at a nearby park. As you can see, I don’t like to exercise – no aching muscles, no panting, no pain, thank you very much. But I feel no trepidation as I head for my first Pilates Fundamentals class at PowerMoves, a boutique Pilates studio in Bishan Park. How hard could it be? Though I don’t know much about this fitness technique, I’ve heard that it involves stretching and muscle control, which I think I’m perfectly capable of handling. Besides, the studio sits adjacent to Aramsa ~ The Garden Spa, and resembles a cosy beach bungalow with resort-like wood decor and lush green landscaping. Seems more like a walk in the park than a workout.


Before the class, I had a short chat with PowerMoves director Claudel Kuek, a lithe and graceful 45-year-old who is also one of the studio’s eight Pilates instructors. She explained the benefits of Pilates, which is a series of continuous exercises based on the six principles of breathing, concentration, control, centering, precision and flow.

Besides improving coordination and flexibility, Pilates also tones and tightens typical problem areas like the abdominals, arms and thighs. Due to its emphasis on the quality of its movements rather than the number of repetitions, you are supposed to leave feeling invigorated rather than exhausted.

An accomplished ballerina, Claudel tells me it was only after she became a mother in her 30s that she discovered Pilates and was won over by its elegant and fluid dance-like movements, which made her so much fitter and stronger. Ah, I am feeling more confident already. That is, until I step into the studio and spot a series of complicated-looking bench-like machines called Reformers. Sensing my apprehension, Claudel assures me that beginners start off on floor mats and, if they choose to, can then progress to the Reformers after a few sessions. For this evening’s hour-long session, there is just me and another woman, led by our Filipino instructor Eric Samonte, who boasts a lean, mean machine of a body. Pilates classes here are kept small, with a maximum of six students to an instructor, so students are closely supervised to minimise the risk of injury.

We start off with basic stretches to loosen up. As each step is introduced, we perform a few repetitions before moving on to the next. Our individual body movements are then combined to form a flowing sequence resembling a choreographed dance.

So far, so good. I get plenty of attention from Eric, who hovers over us to ensure each position is executed correctly. I also like that the poses can be adjusted to a person’s comfort zone or to accommodate those recovering from an injury.

It’s been a long day at work, but right now, I feel as if I’m exercising in my very own private villa in a secluded resort, thanks to the personalised attention, soothing ambient music, and the view of a lush tropical garden outside the floor-to-ceiling glass wall.

Soon, I’m perspiring in the cool air-conditioned comfort – I’m breathing harder and my heart is pumping faster too. Deep in restful concentration, I lose count of the number of poses we are put through. As the class progresses, the movements become more challenging and ache-inducing – from bending over to touch our toes, we are made to lift our shoulders and legs from a lying position.

Some of the moves employ the Magic Circle, a steering wheel-like exercise aid that measures 35cm in diameter, and which provides added resistance to strengthen and tone specific parts of the body, depending on whether it’s pressed between the palms, the ankles or the thighs. Squeeze, release, squeeze, release… Using the wheel, I find, also helps to regulate my breathing, which I tend to neglect.

As someone who has always deemed exercise a necessary pain, I am pleasantly surprised at the fun I am having while getting a good workout, although I must admit that bending and stretching my stiff body wasn’t as easy as I thought. My abdominal and calf muscles are starting to protest, and my joints are creaking a little.

But it sure feels good. I catch my reflection in the studio mirror – I look much calmer; nothing like a harried journalist with a backlog of deadlines. As I swing out of the studio doors after the session, my steps feel lighter and my posture is more upright, just like a dancer’s. The feel-good effects lasted for the next few days – and there was no trace of muscle pain or exhaustion.

Am I game for a few more sessions? Intuitively, my body tells me that Pilates will now be my perfect respite from daily chores and routine; the best stress relief answer to work and what-knots.. Much like the perfect walk in the park.

By Cindy Wee


PowerMoves Rewards the Strongest, Most Flexible Characters in the World – Mums – with Bodies to Match!

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Home-grown powerhouse Pilates brand, PowerMoves, is honouring mothers from 3-15 May with a FREE Pilates-in-the-Park Matwork session. Founder and Managing Director of PowerMoves, Ms Claudel Kuek, herself a mother of two, believes it’s only fitting that women of strong character and flexible attitudes should be equipped with strong, flexible bodies to match.

Pilates itself has emerged as the technique of choice among discerning and sophisticated fitness enthusiasts. Its low-impact, highly effective form of exercise has garnered a growing following, with legions of fans worldwide including Hollywood celebrities, expecting mothers and even agile grandmothers.

A matwork session is an hour-long workout on a padded mat, using nothing more than one’s own body weight and strength, and the laws of gravity. The disarmingly simple mat empowers individuals with variety and grace, and offers a wealth of fitness and wellness benefits including increased strength and enhanced flexibility.
Regular practitioners of Pilates Matwork can expect to enjoy improved coordination, posture and balance, relief from aches and pains, increased bone mass and muscle mass, improved circulation and breathing, and of course the ultimate trophy of a toned and sculpted body. It’s also the perfect low-impact form of pre-natal and post-menopausal exercise, and has been successfully incorporated into rehabilitation programmes after serious injury.

Mothers who wish to hone their bodies to match their characters should call PowerMoves at 6455 2221 and ask for the Mother’s Day Matwork Offer. You’ll be one of no more than eight ladies in the session, and you can take your pick of two beautiful locations at PowerMoves’ parklands studios in Bishan Park 2 and Dempsey Hill

Here’s to Mums – strong and flexible in nature, and, if PowerMoves has its way, soon to be buff, fit and fabulous! Happy Mother’s Day in honour of all Mothers out there! 🙂

PowerMoves Takes the Trophy for Most Beautiful Pilates Studio in the SHAPE Awards 2010

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No stranger to awards and accolades, internationally acclaimed home-grown brand PowerMoves has outshone its rivals in snagging The Most Beautiful Pilates Studio Award in the SHAPE Awards 2010. For those who have followed the rise of this powerhouse little brand from its roots in Bishan Park 2 to the opening of its spacious second outlet at Dempsey Park, this will come as no surprise.

Just last year, PowerMoves’ original Bishan Park 2 studio was nominated ‘Most Beautiful Studio in the World’ by Balanced Body®, the foremost Pilates authority in the US. This latest nod of approval from SHAPE, the unofficial fitness ‘bible’ of Singapore, is the icing on the cake. While international acclaim is of course welcomed, some would argue that approval means more when it comes from a source close to home.

Any visitor who sets foot in PowerMoves’ Dempsey studio will immediately understand the judges’ decision. Building on PowerMoves’ unique Pilates in the Park positioning, the architect-designed premises blend in beautifully with the natural surroundings of Dempsey, the undisputed ‘lifestyle hub’ of Singapore. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows are fronted by lush screens of tropical vegetation, providing privacy while admitting streams of natural sunlight that gently play on the myriad of natural textures inside. These include bamboo on portable partitions; pebble wash on indoor feature walls and the building’s entrance façade; and naturally water-resistant Chengai wood for the flooring.


Founder and Managing Director of PowerMoves, Ms Claudel Kuek, expressed her delight on being honoured in this year’s SHAPE Awards: “We are indeed very happy with the win. It’s a great honour for us to be recognised across the globe, both in the USA and now on home soil in Singapore, for our outstanding Pilates facility. I especially love that our new Dempsey studio has been deemed the most beautiful place in which to work out in Singapore. We’re on top of the world!”

When asked to elaborate on her views on the importance of beautiful surroundings, Claudel had this to say: “Beauty works something like osmosis. Surround yourself with beautiful things and it will inspire you to think beautiful thoughts. Beautiful thoughts literally write themselves all over your face – as smiles. A ready smile and a positive outlook will help you in all areas of your life – not just in embracing a wellness regime but in coping with stressful situations. In short, beauty is catching!”

Come see for yourself what impressed the judges at PowerMoves’ Dempsey studio: officially the Most Beautiful Pilates Studio in Singapore. Chances are, you’ll leave with a smile on your face! 🙂

PowerMoves Pilates in the Park is located @Dempsey 6ix and 7even, 6 Dempsey Road, Singapore 249683; and @Aramsa ~ the Garden Spa, Bishan Park 2, Singapore 569931.

By Suzanne Lauridsen
PowerMoves Pilates Studio Singapore

Boost Your Body Confidence in the Bedroom with PowerMoves Pilates Exercises in the Park

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With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, there’s no better time to give your guy the ultimate gift of love – you. And like a well-wrapped gift, presentation is of paramount importance. We’re not talking ribbons and bows, but rippling muscles and pert buns. Where to get the trimmings (pun intended)? PowerMoves Pilates in the Park, at Bishan and Dempsey, has all the moves to give you the body confidence you need to be a star in the boudoir.

For awesome abs, practise the Pilates Plank
Lie face down with legs extended, forearms resting on the floor shoulder-width apart, hands in fists. Pull your navel up into your spine, tuck your toes under and lift your hips off the floor so that your body forms a straight line from head to heels. Actively maintain a firm centre, with navel to spine, and your buttocks and legs squeezed tightly together behind you. Your neck maintains perfect alignment with the rest of the body. Breathe normally as you hold for 30 seconds at a time. Lower to rest in between sets.

For bite-worthy buns, perform the Pilates Single Leg Lift
Kneeling on hands and knees, hands are shoulder-width apart, knees aligned under hips. Keep head relaxed, neck in line with the spine. Extend one leg behind, toes pointed touching the floor lightly, without letting the hip or shoulder dip as you hold your leg out. As you exhale, scoop in your abs, tighten your right buttock and lift extended right leg up to hip height. Lift and lower in a slow, controlled movement. Rotate your toes so that they point outwards and hold in your lifted position for 3 counts before lowering on the inhale. Repeat 12 reps on each side.

For thrilling thighs, execute the Pilates Shoulder Bridge
Lie on your back in neutral spine, with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Your arms are extended along your sides. Inhale as you press down through your feet to lengthen your spine and press your hips up. You will come to a bridge position on your shoulders with your knees, hips and shoulders in one line. Your abs and hamstrings should be well-engaged. Pause at the top of the bridge to lift one leg off the mat. Straighten this lifted leg as you point it to the ceiling. Exhale as you lower the straight leg to the floor pointing towards the wall opposite of you. Inhale to kick the straight leg upward while flexing your foot. Bend the knee and place the foot on the floor (starting position) before switching legs and repeating the sequence with the other leg.

For total satisfaction, take charge of your body and your man
PowerMoves’ Managing Director, Claudel Kuek, believes that strengthening the body naturally leads to a strengthening of the mind. She reasons that once you gain control of your body, you feel empowered to take charge of other areas of your life, including your love life.

Said Claudel, “Every woman deserves to enjoy the body confidence that comes from feeling sexy, lithe and toned. You never have to avoid certain intimate positions for fear of wobbly bits spoiling the mood. And you can be totally spontaneous and wild, emboldened by knowing you look great from every angle.”

The question is, once you’ve toned your bod and honed your body confidence for an erotically-charged workout in the bedroom, is your man up to it? Well, the good news is, PowerMoves offers couples classes at both its Bishan and Dempsey studios.

Pilates couples classes at PowerMoves… Sounds like the perfect Valentine’s Day gift idea! 🙂

PowerMoves Pilates in the Park is located @Dempsey 6ix and 7even, 6 Dempsey Road, Singapore 249683; and @Aramsa ~ the Garden Spa, Bishan Park 2, Singapore 569931.


PowerMoves Pilates at Dempsey Hill

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Pilates @ Dempsey
@ DEMPSEY 6IX AND 7EVEN
6 Dempsey Road
Singapore 249683
6472 2221

Destined for Dempsey:


The First Name in Pilates Opens
a Second PowerMoves Pilates in the Park

Home-grown PowerMoves Pilates in the Park is set to flex some muscle on the local fitness scene with the opening of its second parklands studio in Singapore. The bold move will see the powerhouse brand add ‘largest Pilates studio in Singapore’ to its already impressive string of ‘firsts’, ‘bests’ and ‘mosts’. Just a few months ago its original Bishan Park 2 studio was nominated ‘Most Beautiful Studio in the World’ by Balanced Body®, the foremost Pilates authority in the US.

Building on the success of the Pilates in the Park concept pioneered in Bishan Park 2, the architect-designed premises of PowerMoves’ Dempsey studio blend in with nature rather than intrude on it. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows admit streams of natural sunlight filtered through lush screens of tropical vegetation, and all materials have been thoughtfully selected with aesthetics and environmental friendliness in mind. They include bamboo, for tasteful partitions; pebble wash, liberally used on indoor feature walls and the building’s entrance façade; and naturally water-resistant Chengai wood for the flooring.

Unlike the single open-space studio in Bishan Park 2, PowerMoves’ spacious 3,400 sq ft Dempsey studio houses four generous-sized studios in one. Each studio ideally suited to both private one-on-one lessons as well as small group classes. A key point-of-difference that sets PowerMoves apart from its competition is the size of its classes. Group sessions are limited to a maximum of six clients for work on the Reformer (a bench-like piece of equipment exclusive to Pilates), and eight for work on the mat. Consequently, clients receive personalised attention from trained instructors who are fully conversant with the personal fitness challenges and goals of each.

The founder and famous face of PowerMoves, former ballerina Claudel Kuek, has lined up a veritable ‘United Nations’ of qualified Pilates instructors for her new studio. The new staff includes American, English, Thai, Filipina and Singaporean instructors. It’s a cosmopolitan mix that feels right at home in Dempsey Park, arguably Singapore’s foremost lifestyle and leisure destination. In the immediate vicinity are French, German, Indian and fusion cuisine restaurants, as well as a wine bar – which makes it very handy indeed for an after-workout supper or cocktail.

In case you’re marvelling at the apparent incongruity of pairing a workout with a wine, Claudel Kuek is all for a little indulgence. In her own words, “People should reward and indulge themselves, and Pilates grants them permission to do so. Otherwise there would be no reason to live.”

This elegant and poised mother of two is a walking advertisement for her company. Lithe and toned and emanating a positivity that cannot be faked, Claudel hails Pilates as “the miracle method”, with a passionate conviction usually reserved for religion. Then again, Pilates is almost a religion – part of a holistic philosophy that embraces a synergy of mind, body and spirit.

Said Claudel, “The benefits of Pilates filter through all aspects of life. The discipline and focus required for Pilates are transferable skills that can be applied to everything, from a workout to work and relationships.”

That’s not to undermine the purely physical benefits of this exercise form that is enjoying increasing popularity around the world. A low-impact workout that builds core strength, Pilates eases rather than exacerbates joint and back pain, improves posture, trims the figure and tones the muscles without adding excess bulk.

In Claudel’s words, “Pilates is a fountain of youth that should be shared with all your best friends.”

Bring your best friends to PowerMoves’ Dempsey studio and take a dip in the fountain of youth that is Pilates.

PowerMoves Pilates in the Park is located @Dempsey 6ix and 7even, 6 Dempsey Road, Singapore 249683; and @Aramsa ~ the Garden Spa, Bishan Park 2, Singapore 569931.

By Suzanne Lauridsen

Pilates Exercises for Osteoporosis; Pilates Singapore

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We have received many enquiries on exercise tips to increase bone mass for those suffering from osteo-related conditions. These exercises listed below will help improve one’s strength, flexibility and balance while building bone in one’s hip and spine. Try them out at home. Remember to refrain from doing any exercise with forward-bending and twisting of the spine as this may cause fracture.

In order to increase bone density, one should perform these exercises 4 times a week and ideally also do some brisk walking for 30 mins on alternate days.

Throughout these exercises, keep your chin tucked, neck long. Your spine is in an elongated position as you lengthen the space between each vertebrae. Your shoulders are away from your ears, your shoulder blades are back and down.

Pilates Pelvic Curl
Lie on the mat with your knees bent and feet placed hip-width apart. Place your arms straight by your sides with the fingers reaching towards the feet. On the exhale, draw in the abdominal muscles as you curl your pelvis, lifting the lower back vertebra by vertebra off the floor. Keep your neck and shoulders relaxed, your body still and your legs parallel, exhale as you articulate the spine in reverse order from the top of the spine, vertebra by vertebra, to bring the body back down to the mat in starting position. Do this 5 times.

Pilates Single Leg Circles
Lie flat on the mat with your neck long and your right leg up to the ceiling. The left knee is bent and the left foot is firmly planted on the mat. Keep your arms pressed down by your sides throughout the exercise. Inhale as you cross the right leg up and over your body aiming for the left shoulder. Do not allow the right hip to lift off the mat and do not allow the left knee to wave back and forth. Sweep the leg down through the centre line of your body and out in line with your right shoulder. Exhale as you carry the leg back to the starting position completing one circle. Circle 5 times in each direction, clockwise and anti-clockwise.

Pilates Front Side Kicks
Lie on your side and align your body so that it is parallel to the edge of the mat. Prop your head up on one hand and place the palm of the other hand firmly on the mat in front of you. Inhale and swing the upper leg forward. Keep the chest high and shoulders and hips stacked above each other. Keep the top leg directly in line with the hip, parallel to the floor. Exhale as you swing the leg back, stretching the front of the hip, always keeping your abdominals pulled in and up. Do this 10 times and finish by resting the top leg on the bottom leg. Switch sides.

Enjoy your portable Pilates workout anywhere, anytime;

Singapore’s Pilates Stretch Exercises for your Legs and Feet

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If you are anything like me, you love wearing the season’s most coveted high heels. Beautiful as they are to the touch and to the sight, these heels throw one’s postural alignment off-center causing an imbalance which leads to stiff and strained muscles. Rest assured, we have developed the following Pilates stretch exercises to ease the aches and pains that come with the constant wearing of your favourite high heels.

Throughout these movements, do ensure that your spine is lifted and your shoulders are rolling back and down towards your hips. Lift up and out of your back as you keep your abdominal muscles contracted (engaged).

1. Foot Muscle Stretcher

Sit forward and on the edge of your chair with your legs hip-distance apart and at 90-degree angles. Place a dish towel on the floor in front of your toes. Keep your heels touching the floor throughout as you stretch your toes over the towel and begin by curling your toes to roll the towel and gather it up. When you have the entire towel in a roll (scroll), reverse the exercise by unrolling the towel until it is flat in front of you again. Remember to breathe!

2. Foot-ankle Muscle Lengthener

Sit on the floor as you stretch your legs straight out in front of you. Point both of your feet as strongly as possible, then flex them back as far as you can. Imagine pressing your toes to the touch-screen button and then using your heels to do the same. Do this a few timeswhile breathing calmly and deeply.

3. Calf Strengthener

Standing tall on your feet, heels together, toes apart. Contract your abdominal muscles as you inhale and slowly rise up to your toes. Ensure that your heels are glued together. Press your inner thighs together to engage your buttocks and backs of legs even more. Hold for a count of 3 as you remain in tip-toe position. You may lightly touch the back of chair or wall for support. Exhale as you slowly lower yourself back down to the floor. Complete 5 sets.

Yours in vanity fitness,

Claudel Kuek