POWERMOVES PILATES STUDIO OPENS AT NOVENA HUB

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Nestled within the latest medical wellness, shopping and lifestyle hub, PowerMoves is now located at Novena Specialist Centre. With hourly Pilates classes that provide total body conditioning to help enhance physical fitness, improve posture and balance, build bone density and increase muscle mass ~ indulge in customized Pilates programmes designed to nurture you to perfection.

Every PowerMoves Pilates class also helps you to:

– strengthen your core and improve your flexibility.
– overcome injury and relieve pain.
– stretch your body and lengthen your muscles.
– feel stronger, leaner and more toned.
– stand taller and breathe better.
– teach your mind focus and body awareness.
– recharge so you feel positively different.

PowerMoves’ award-winning, tropical resort Pilates studios offer you a buffet of Pilates classes ~ including the ever-popular Pilates Matwork, Pilates Reformer, Pilates Tower, PreNatal Pilates, as well as customized Physio Pilates sessions and our very own Power Pilates Promise package.

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

Experience a new capacity and confidence founded on fitness and wellness through Pilates ~ at PowerMoves.

@ NOVENA SPECIALIST CENTRE,
8 SINARAN DRIVE, #02-05, SINGAPORE 307470. T: (65) 6455 2221

www.powermoves.com.sg

Singapore Pilates Mat Exercises for Runners

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Runners usually exhibit great strength in their legs but may have issues with tightness in the hips, with lower back or knee pains, and/or problems with balance. Pilates exercises help runners improve on their core strength allowing them better posture while maintaining the balance in the muscles of the back and hips. Pilates also teaches runners proper breath control which help to increases their stamina and endurance.

The chosen exercises herein are beneficial to the runner because they challenge the core and emphasize the neutral positioning of the pelvis and hips. They also help correct postural imbalances, create flexibility and stretch the lower body.

For all exercises, remember to draw your shoulders down towards your hips and far from your ears, and keep your abdominal muscles engaged while long in the waist.

  • Side Lying Kick (stabilize hips, strengthen hip flexors, abdominals and back extensors)

Lie on one side leaning on the elbow of the lower arm with hands behind your head. Stabilise the bottom leg on the floor and hold the top leg at hip height. Minimise the rocking of your trunk by engaging your abdominal muscles. As you exhale, swing the top leg as far forward as possible with a flexed foot. On your inhale, swing the top leg as far back as possible while pointing your foot and elongating your leg. Keep your pelvis neutral and quiet throughout as you repeat the back-and-forth swing 12 times.

  • Leg circles (stabilize hips, stretch hamstrings, control hip flexors and lengthen hip abductors)

Lie on your back with arms out in a T-position. Legs are together, straight and slightly pointed. Exhale as you bend one leg in toward your chest and straighten it upward, perpendicular to the floor, foot flexed. Keep other leg and pelvis on the mat quiet and stable. Inhale as you circle the raised leg inward past the centre of your body, then down and around. Make your circle only as big as you can without moving your hips and pelvis. Exhale on the next circle, alternating the breathing on each circle. Repeat 10 times before switching to the other leg.

  • Swimming (thoracic extension, stabilize hips and strengthen back extensors)

Lie face down on mat with legs and arms. Inhale as you slowly lift right arm and left leg off mat as high as you can (extending fully your arms and legs away from each other in opposite directions). Hold for one count and then lower to start as you exhale. Repeat on opposite side and work up to 12 reps on each side.

  • Saw (strengthen back extensors, lengthen hamstrings and develop flexibility in rotation and flexion)

Sit upright with straight legs opened slightly beyond shoulder-width, feet flexed. Arms are in T-position reaching far out to the opposite sides. Inhale as you rotate your torso to face the side of room. Keep pelvis anchored as you move the arms and head with the trunk. On the exhale, reach forward long over the leg, left hand extending past small toe of right leg. Inhale to extend farther deepening the stretch of hanstrings and lower back. Exhale to pull yourself back up to sitting tall, rotate back to centre starting position and repeat to the other side. Work up to 6 reps on each side.

  • The Roll-Up (lengthen lower back muscles, articulate vertebrae and strengthen the core muscles)

Lie back with legs straight and arms extended overhead (but not touching the floor). Pull belly button in toward your spine. Exhale as you bring arms overhead and lift shoulder blades off the mat, curling all the way up until arms are parallel to legs. Exhale again as you slowly uncurl back to start. Do this 8 times.

  • Single Leg Kick (stabilize hips, strengthen back extensors and stretch hamstrings)

Lie prone engaging abdominal muscles, lift the chest and extend the back. Your legs are in a straight line behind you, lifted off the mat. Place your elbows directly under the shoulders, your lower arms parallel to each other. On the exhale, bend the right leg and pulse it twice. As you straighten the right leg, bend the left leg to pulse twice on the next exhale. Repeat the pulses while alternating legs working up to 10 sets of pulses each leg.

PowerMoves Pilates-in-the-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


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


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