EARN YOUR SIX-PACK

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Don’t let love handles peek out from under your cropped top..

These Pilates core exercises shown here will sculpt your midriff, and give you toned and defined abs that you can show off in the latest fashion runway looks.

PowerMoves Pilates in the Park

www.powermoves.com.sg

The Power of Pilates @ PowerMoves

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After giving birth to her third child, Susie Lawson was determined to lose the extra weight she’d gained during pregnancy. By chance she was introduced to Pilates by a neighbor and, less than a year later, she has lost nine kilograms and seen drastic improvements in her body shape. I caught up with Susie at PowerMoves‘ Pilates studio to find out more.


“It’s a daunting task to lose weight after a baby,” says Susie, “but I was determined to do it while we’re here in Singapore where I have home help to look after the kids while I am exercising. I could not have done this if we were back in Australia!”

“I realised I’d need to be pushed and motivated to lose the weight,” she says, “and the personal attention you get at PowerMoves was just what I needed. They have small classes of two or three, so the instructor notices as soon as you’re doing something wrong and she corrects your posture so that you get the full benefit of the exercise time. She also keeps challenging you to do more, and you really feel it the next day — so you know you’re getting a great workout.”

Susie is also motivated by the beautiful park-like setting of PowerMoves. “It’s a great escape from the city environment and I really look forward to ‘my time’ here. It’s conveniently close to my home plus there’s a fabulous spa just next door!”

A picture of good health, Susie’s enthusiasm for Pilates is contagious and the secret of her success has clearly been the visible results of her progress. “I can now fit into clothes that I haven’t worn in years–I’ve lost seven centimeters around the abdominal area in just eight months”, she explains. “Pilates has changed my perception of exercise–I’m addicted now!”

After such a positive endorsement, I had to give it a go! The Pilates instructor under Mrs. Claudel Kuek put me through my paces on the Pilates Reformer machine, carefully explaining and demonstrating each movement with a combination of action, contraction of the core muscles and correct breathing. There’s a lot to think of at once and you definitely need personal attention to help you get it right. I like the fact that their trainer focuses on quality rather than quantity; each move is carefully controlled to maximise the strengthening and toning effects on the core muscles. “Pilates is all about creating longer, leaner muscles so you get a strong, toned body without the bulk”, she explains.

By Karen Lucas

Written for Mrs Claudel Kuek
PowerMoves Pilates studios in the Park, Singapore

Pilates is not Yoga

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So you have heard that Pilates and Yoga are similar in many ways. Yes, both disciplines help you create greater awareness of your body’s posture and its alignment. Yes, both disciplines improve and enhance flexibility and strength. Pilates and Yoga also emphasize coordinating breath with movement.

Both these disciplines of Pilates and Yoga have amazing benefits. They are both fitness regimes that are integrative; they are associated with stress reduction and increased well-being. They can both also be adjusted to a wide range of people and fitness levels, and both support the achievement of very high levels of body, mind and spiritual fitness.

Pilates aims to reach high levels of fitness goals for the mind and body, however, through a series of controlled movements. The Pilates technique not only has a full complement of matwork exercises, but it incorporates work on Pilates machines as well.

Pilates is a series of controlled movements; movements that are not performed rapidly and/or excessively. The focus is on the quality of the movement and not the quantity or the repetitions. There are additional exercise equipment like the magic circle, elastic band and foam roller one could use to add resistance to help make your workouts more challenging. Pilates has several machines designed to achieve its purpose such as the reformer, the wunda chair, the ladder barrel and the cadillac. Pilates exercises on these Pilates equipment machines are designed to cater to every individual’s needs.

The emphasis of Pilates exercises is to strengthen the abdominals, improve posture, stabilize and lengthen the spine, improve balance, flexibility and overall strength. Pilates gives you a long and lean, evenly-muscled look. Pilates works the whole body; emphasizing control, precision and concentration in both the mind and the body.

Whereas Pilates is scientific-based and its movements are always dynamic and in a flow; Yoga is spiritual-based involving meditation and reflection and its exercises are held in poses.

The abdominal muscles, lower back and butt muscles serve as the center of all movement. In Pilates, this is called the core or the powerhouse. This focus on core stabilization makes one stronger from the inside out and allows the rest of the body to move freely. The low-impact nature of Pilates makes it ideal also for injury prevention, rehabilitation and physiotherapy.

All Pilates exercises are formulated on the six principles of breathing, concentration, control, centering, precision and flow. These principles train the body to move efficiently and expertly with minimal stress on its joints and with maximum benefits on the entire physiology of the body. The Pilates method and using it regularly creates a healthy, vivacious and more symmetrical body which results in a lean, balanced, strong and supple body with very efficient and well-toned muscle groups.

A further listing of benefits that you can expect from the Pilates method include long and lean muscles, strong core and stability, injury prevention, better posture, improved balance and coordination, relief from stress and back pains, enhanced athletic performance, effective post-rehabilitation, and increased self-confidence.

Warm Regards,
Mrs Claudel Kuek

NB Click here to find out if Pilates is what you need to create the makeover in you!

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 in the Park welcomes 2010

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A wonderful, fit and healthy year ahead to one and all! 2010 promises to be a great year; one where all your resolutions are kept and all your personal goals are achieved. We wish you the most abundant of blessings and the most incredible of successes!

From everyone at PowerMoves Pilates in the Park :-*




PS Hey Claire & all your guys n gals at the office;
Appended below is the list of 3 Pilates stretching exercises that you have requested for, to be done at your desk to recharge yourselves and regain the energy needed to complete your work days:

Pilates Chair Twist
Sit on the front edge of a swivel chair, hands placed palms down on the desk. Squeeze your knees together tightly and lift your feet 3-4 inches off the floor. Without moving your chest that is facing forward while keeping your elbows close to your sides, begin twisting the chair from side to side. Perform 10-20 rotations like this.

Pilates Air Chair
Place the palms of your hands on the arms of the chair, press down hard to lift your buttocks off the seat of the chair and hold yourself in mid-air for a count of 3. Make sure your tummy is pulled in. With your knees tightly squeezed together, try picking your feet off the floor. Lower completely after another count of 3. Take care not to slip on arms of chair. Perform this lift-and-lower 5 times.

Pilates Knee Stretch
Sit on the front of your chair, press the heels of your hands down on the chair by your sides to help lift yourself from your waistline. Alternate lifting your knees as high as you can for as long as you can, one at a time. Extend your leg straight with the lifted knee while keeping your back straight and your tummy in. Perform this 10 times on each side.

Hugzz 🙂

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;

Flat Abs in 3 Weeks for All Mums!

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Many mums and mums-to-be have been calling in to ask for Pilates tips which they can use at home. Here are 3 exercises which you would like to try at home, to address every woman’s most common pet complaint; the lack of tone and strength in the abdominal area!

For the new mum

Pilates Criss Cross – Lie on your back with your hands behind your lifted head and draw your knees into your body. Extend your right leg out long and inhale as you twist your upper body aiming your right elbow to your left knee. Actively lift from below your shoulder and twist from your waist to reach the knee and hold the position as you exhale completely. Switch sides as you inhale bringing now your left elbow to your right knee while extending the left leg out in front of you. Keep from rocking your body side to side and extend your elbows wide. Work up to 10 sets of switches.

For the regular mum who hasn’t done any exercise

Pilates Swimming – Lie face down outstretched on the mat with arms n legs extended. Slowly lift right arm and left leg off the floor, really extending your arms and legs away from each other as far as you can. Actively lift your abdominals off the mat, tighten your thigh muscles to stretch your legs and reach out long to lengthen your lower back. Without shifting your body weight, alternate and switch arms n legs achieving a swimming motion, all this time pulling your navel into your spine. Breathing normally, inhale for five counts (five switches) and exhale for five counts. Work up to 10 sets of 10 counts.

For the mum who has been working on her tummy

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.

Tips to achieving your Best self:

– Commit to small amounts of exercise at least thrice a week. Even 15-min sessions are better than nought.

– Throw in a cardio workout that you consider fun. Turn up the music indoors and dance while doing your chores. Try brisk-walking in your favourite park or swimming a few laps before the mid-afternoon crash. Step up to moving more no matter what your choice.

– Proper form in doing your Pilates exercises is very crucial. Focus on doing your moves slowly and with a lot of control. Better to do a few good moves than many haphazard ones.

– You are what you eat. Cut back on sweets, fast food and anything deep-fried! Splurge on vegetables and fruits. Whole grains and lean protein are fine too. Proportion is key. Everything in moderation.

– Maintain good posture throughout the day. Keep your neck long, your shoulders squarely down and back, your waist long, your abdominal walls contracted, your buttock muscles engaged.

– Learn to breathe deeply, completely filling and emptying your lungs with each breath.


Let’s get together to work on achieving the body of our dreams!
Claudel Kuek 🙂

PowerMoves Pilates n Dance Singapore

Good Hindsight with Pilates in the Park

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How do I lose weight on my butt? That is one of the most common questions I get from female readers. Some say they never lose weight in that area despite all the exercise they do. Others have never done any exercise for that region and want to know what to do.

Well, Pilates Director Claudel Kuek is walking proof that exercise does build great gluteal muscles – the official term for “butt” – and she shares some of her best exercises here.

Claudek Kuek, 45, who runs PowerMoves Pilates And Dance Studio in lush Bishan Park, is all for the “reshaping of our backsides”. “The Pilates exercises demonstrated here target the hips and buttocks…and they may be the only way you can get rid of cellulite and dimples for good,” she says.

“You will still need to keep the abdominal muscles sucked in as you work on your derriere. Remember to keep your hips perpendicular to the floor when doing the floor exercises.”


PILATES SIDE LEG KICKS

Lie on your right side, arms behind your head and head propped up by your right elbow. Stabilise your right leg on the floor and hold the left leg at hip-height.

Minimise the rocking of your trunk by engaging your abdominal muscles. As you exhale, swing the left leg as far forward as possible with a flexed foot. As you inhale, swing the left leg as far back as possible while pointing your foot and elongating your leg.

Keep your pelvis straight as you repeat the back-and-forth swing 15 times. Repeat on the other side.


PILATES SIDE LEG DROPS

Lie on your right side, body in a straight line and head propped up with the right hand. Place your left hand in front of you. Keeping your pelvis perpendicular to the mat, lift your left leg to hip-height and flex your foot as you point your toes down towards the front.

Imagine your big toe touching a hot stove on the floor so you do not want to stay in that position for long. As soon as the toe taps the floor, lift it off with the heel of the foot pointing towards the ceiling. Stay stable and square in the hips as you tap and lift your toes 25 times while you breathe normally. Repeat on the other side.


PILATES SINGLE-LEG SKATING

Inhale as you stand on the foot platform of the Reformer (a pilates machine found in most pilates studios) with your right leg and place your left foot on the front edge of the carriage.

Squat deeply on the right leg, keeping your entire weight on it while placing your hands on your hips. As you exhale, straighten the left leg completely by pushing the carriage away. Keep your right leg stable, your trunk upright and your pelvis level.

Inhale as you return to the start position. Do 15 repetitions on each foot.


Fitness Article by Pradeep Paul

PowerMoves Pilates Studio in the Park