Pilates Singapore Interview with Claudel Kuek of PowerMoves

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Claudel Kuek, Founder and CEO of PowerMoves Pilates in the Park, discusses what PowerMoves Pilates Singapore can do for you!

Learn also what Pilates is, what the PowerMoves edge is, what Pilates can do for you and what the Power Pilates Promise assurance is.

First in Pilates Singapore, PowerMoves is an award-winning Pilates chain of studios, with awards in Most Beautiful Pilates Studio, Most Outstanding Service Quality, and Best of Singapore Pilates; awarded by SHAPE, Tatler and Expat Living magazines.

PowerMoves’ exclusive studios specialize in Pilates Matwork, Pilates Reformer, PreNatal Pilates, Pilates Physiotherapy and Clinical Pilates; Group and private classes. Our parkland studios are located at Bishan Park, Rochester Park and Dempsey Hill, with an upcoming branch at East Coast Park. PowerMoves provides the best in Pilates classes to achieve all your health and fitness goals, including weight loss and specific sports-related needs.

All PowerMoves Pilates instructors are physiotherapists who will work with you to correct all physical and physiological issues, with an emphasis on strength and flexibility training.

Your first choice in Pilates always.. PowerMoves!

How is Pilates good for you?

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Pilates was originally designed to treat injured and bedridden soldiers in World War I. Although it was developed for clinical and rehabilitation purposes, it has become extremely popular with dancers, gymnasts and celebrities seeking the long and lean-muscled look. Today the Pilates method is widely practised for both its rehabilitation as well as its body conditioning and fitness benefits.

Pilates is an innovative mind-body exercise developed by Joseph Pilates. Blending eastern exercise philosophies with western fitness science, Pilates is a holistic discipline that improves physiological fitness and enhances psychological wellness. It combines the mental focus and specific breathing of yoga and Chinese martial arts with the physicality of gymnastics and other sports movements – creating an entirely new training regime that accentuates controlled grace in power and flowing beauty in movement.

Pilates is effective in rehabilitative and clinical therapy because of its strong focus on good posture, efficient movement and strengthening of proper musculature. With better body awareness through Pilates, one’s motor control and precision in movement can be improved. This results in better, more productive and efficient muscle functions during the workout. The benefits of this mind-body control and synergy can then be applied in all other areas of daily life.

Regular practice of Pilates will also ensure improved balance, coordination and circulation as well as increased core strength, flexibility and mobility. The emphasis on controlled, low-impact movements and correct breathing helps to ease pain, stiffness and rigid joints. Pilates is especially useful for persons suffering from chronic pain in the neck, shoulders, back, hips and knees; issues with postural and biomechanical problems; concerns with sports conditioning and injury prevention.

While weight training exercises tend to build short, bulky muscles, Pilates creates long, lean muscles. It is especially important in the strengthening of the ‘core’ muscles that stabilize and hold you up – giving you better posture to do your daily routine, creating a strong centre so that you can perform all tasks with ease and balance, and ensuring that you move your body correctly to avoid aches and pain. This core stabilization of the body also realigns the body to prevent any muscular imbalances. Pilates teaches you to connect your brain with your body, making all movement and exercises you do more efficient and effective.

Pilates can be physically challenging and keeps your heart pumping in the target zone so you burn more calories in less time. At intermediate and advanced levels, you will be able to move rapidly through the exercises without losing proper form, and your stronger core will take you from one exercise to the next with precision and control. For optimal fitness results, incorporate the principles of Pilates into your regular workout routine to combine form with function, add depth and proficiency towards an intensely beneficial workout each time.

Several benefits of Pilates rehabilitation and physiotherapy include improved postural issues; easy on the joints – low impact in nature; improved balance, coordination and circulation; increased mind-body awareness; enhanced functional fitness and ease of everyday movement.

All Pilates exercises are scientifically-based, gentle and restorative, and can be modified to meet the needs of each individual. Pilates was also designed as a mind-body regime that reduces stress and anxiety through consistent practice.

Call PowerMoves Pilates in the Park for your body makeover today!

‘Tis the holiday season!

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PowerMoves’ tips on Living Well:

• Engage in something physical; my favourites are Pilates and Dance.
• Indulge in fruits and vegetables; the more colourful, the better.
• Turn in before midnight; the sleep time before midnight is deeper and more rejuvenating.
• Reach out and hug someone you love; get in touch with your inner self and bring joy to the other.
• Laugh often; this keeps you feeling youthful and happy.

PowerMoves’ tips on Fine Entertaining:

• Music; it is mood-making. Playing different types of music shifts the mood of your guests as the party progresses.
• Candles and flowers; they are ambient to cheer-making. Be careful that the scents do not clash with the aroma of the food.
• Fragrance; they do wonders for merry-making. Opt for fresh and flirty, intoxicating and intellectual, brash and breezy or whatever is your theme for the event.
• Conversation; it lends itself to charm-making. Find your way to touch base with every one of your guests and leave them with a wit and warmth that linger long after the party is over.
• Your smile; the winning accessory to every party-making.

Happy Christmas and a wonderful new year to one and all : )
From your friends at PowerMoves Pilates in the Park;
Studio locations at Bishan Park, Dempsey Hill and Rochester Park

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 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.


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;

DeStress and ReShape YourSelf ~ the Pilates Way! At Singapore’s Pilates Best!

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1. When did you start practising Pilates, Jacquelyn, and how long have you been doing it?

I have been doing Pilates for 6 months now at PowerMoves Pilates in the Park. My girlfriend who also practises Pilates at PowerMoves kept singing praises of Pilates and its exercises and so I thought I too would give it a go. Pilates has made a new person out of me! 🙂

2. How many Pilates classes a week do you attend?

I attend Pilates classes at least once a week but I try to go twice whenever work allows me to. It is my weekly respite from the daily stresses of work and kids! Pilates gives me focus and balance.

3. What are the visible effects of Pilates on your weight and appearance?

After the 3rd month, I noticed a 2.5kg drop in my weight. But I only checked because I started feeling like my clothes were fitting better (not so tight) and it seemed easier to move my body throughout the day. I was no longer as bloated or feeling as out-of-shape and lazy as before. I found myself wanting to be more active!

4. How do you feel after having done Pilates for awhile?

I feel so much more in control of my life now. I like this feeling; it’s quite empowering and very encouraging. I feel ready to take on more tasks in my life, in a new, nicely-toned body! The sky is the limit now; well, almost! Hahaha.

5. Do you only rely on Pilates to keep a good weight and body?

I rely on Pilates to keep me motivated and stay on the right track. I can’t imagine life before my weekly Pilates fitness regime. Pilates exercises not only know how one’s body works optimally but it gives you all options to becoming your best self. This is my best-kept secret yet!

6. How much have you cut down on other forms of exercise and your eating habits?

Oh yes, I eat more carefully and healthily nowadays. I am proud of my new body and don’t want to throw junk into my body anymore. In fact, I am working on losing another 3kg and tightening up my arms, my abs and my butt some more. I am on a mission! Now that I have found Pilates at PowerMoves! 🙂


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


Best Pilates Studio Singapore Video

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PowerMoves Pilates in the Park

Naturally One of the World’s Most Beautiful Pilates Studios


Singapore
has once again made its mark on the world map. Adding to the string of ‘bests’ and ‘firsts’ earned by our high-achieving little nation, home-grown Pilates studio PowerMoves has been nominated Most Beautiful Studio in the World by Balanced Body®: the foremost Pilates equipment and knowledge provider in the US.

Nestled amongst lush tropical greenery in beautiful Bishan Park, PowerMoves is one of the best-kept secrets of the fitness fraternity. With its wooden parquetry floors and floor-to-ceiling windows admitting gently filtered sunlight on three sides, clients are transported mentally and physically to a resort-like ambience that evokes the best of Bali, Vietnam, Thailand… Privacy is assured by the screen of tall vegetation that surrounds the studio, complete with butterflies that appear as if on cue as a presentiment of the grace and lightness you’re sure to enjoy after just a few sessions of Pilates. Set back from the main road of Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1, the hush would almost be unnerving if not for the gentle piped instrumental music that relaxes the mind and body.

Just one visit and it’s plain to see why Balanced Body® was won over by the unique, beautiful and inspiring setting in this tropical resort studio.

Founded and managed by former professional ballerina, Claudel Kuek, PowerMoves has a loyal following of professional men, women and home-makers who are attracted by its personalised services and truly beautiful setting, not to forget its highly effective results. Unlike multi-discipline gymnasiums and fitness centres, PowerMoves offers Pilates and nothing but Pilates.

For those who are familiar with the concept of Pilates, it’s not hard to understand why a ballerina such as Claudel was attracted to the gentle strength-building moves of Pilates. Explained Claudel:

“Pilates was a natural transition for me from ballet. Both emphasise a strong core and require a synchronisation of mind and body. Likewise, the benefits that arise from mastering either ballet or Pilates can enhance many other areas of one’s life, especially the ability to focus.”

Speaking of focus, PowerMoves sets itself apart from other Pilates studios by offering a very personal service that’s focused on the individual. Hence, our Pilates classes centred on the reformer, a sophisticated bench with a system of strings, straps and pulleys that enables more than 100 exercises, are limited to a maximum of four clients per class. Classes centred on mat work are limited to a maximum of six clients per class, and one-on-one private classes are available by arrangement.

All of PowerMoves’ instructors are internationally qualified and registered with many years of experience in teaching Pilates. With a gentle but firm hand, they deftly guide individuals of varying degrees of fitness along the Pilates path to total mind-body wellness. Clients of all ages are welcome, including expecting mothers who wish to tone up in preparation for the rigorous task of childbirth.

Though praise for PowerMoves abounds – the testimonials of satisfied customers can be found on the website at www.powermoves.com.sg, possibly the most compelling endorsement comes from the words of the founding father of Pilates himself, Joseph Pilates:

“In 10 sessions, you’ll feel the difference; in 20, you’ll see the difference; in 30, you’ll have a whole new body.”

For those literally seeking a whole new body, in terms of a complete fitness and aesthetics makeover, PowerMoves is ideally situated next door to Aramsa™ Spa, a botanical sanctuary for the senses fronted by former MediaCorp artiste Jazreel Low. It is part of a larger group, Aramsa™ Spas, which includes two food and beverage outlets, Canopy and The Green Room Café, in the immediate vicinity. Generous discounts for the spa and dining outlets are extended to all clients of PowerMoves.

If you’re thinking of practising Pilates, it’s only natural that you consider one of the most beautiful studios in the world, right here in Singapore at PowerMoves.

By Suzanne Lauridsen
Written for Mrs Claudel Kuek
PowerMoves Pilates Studio Singapore

Fitness FAQ for Pilates Blog Singapore

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Thank you for sending in your fitness questions!
Allow me to address them two at a time. Am
always delighted to be able to serve you and to

help in every which way I can. 🙂



I am sick of my flabby arms. How do I get rid of them? I have tried to lift some dumbbells (2kg, in repeated sets of 15) at home for the last few months but have only succeeded in toning my biceps slightly. My arms still look fleshy overall. I am a 35-years-old female.
– Pat Kee

Using those same dumbbells, place your arm behind your back in a
straight line with your shoulders. Keeping your shoulders down and your elbow very still, bend only your forearm in towards your body so that your dumbbells are now very close to your arm-pit. Inhale as you straighten that arm behind you again and exhale as you flex to bring your forearm in towards your body. Do this 15 times and then switch arms.

I injured my right knee ligaments some years back and recently felt some pain whenever I try to stand up from a squatting position. I would like to do some light exercises to ease this pain so I won’t get rheumatism when I’m older. Please recommend some suitable exercises I can do which can tone my legs at the same time.
– Terry

Standing up tall, heels together, toes apart, place your hand gently
on the back of a chair for support. Contract your abdominal muscles as you inhale to rise gently up to the balls of your feet. While on tip-toe, exhale and lower to bend your knees out to the sides for a count of four. Keep your tailbone tucked under you and your abs engaged to avoid losing your balance. Lower your heels to the floor in this bent-knee position and then stand up to straighten your legs as you squeeze those inner thighs together. Repeat 10 times and reverse the movements.