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


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

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.


Pilates Singapore ~ Fitness Exercises with the Magic Circle

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If you find yourself running around in circles, always out of time for a workout, Claudel Kuek has a suggestion: Use the Magic Circle to stay in shape.


The flexible ring, which has two padded handles to ensure you do not end up with unsightly marks on your skin, provides firm resistance and is great for toning the muscles. Roughly the size of a car’s steering wheel and under 1kg in weight, it can be packed easily when you travel.


Claudel Kuek, 45, runs PowerMoves Pilates And Dance Studio in Bishan Park. Despite being a fan of traditional pilates, which involves machines such as the Reformer, she is also an advocate of the use of fitness equipment like the Magic Circle as it is so handy. “The Magic Circle gives your regular routine added resistance training (much like using weights), thus it helps to pump up the intensity of your regular pilates mat workout,” she says.


“Best of all, it strengthens areas that are the hardest to get at such as the pelvic floor muscles and the inner thighs.”


The Magic Circle is available from PowerMoves

(tel: 6455-2221) for US$75 (S$113)




MAGIC CIRCLE ARMS

What it works: Arms, shoulders, chest

How to do it: Sit on the floor, legs crossed in front of you and upper body erect. Flexing the core region and pulling the shoulders down towards your hips, hold the Magic Circle in front of you with the palms of your hands on the handles and fingers extended. Exhale as you squeeze the Magic Circle in a few, short pulses. Inhale as you release. Repeat 10 times.


MAGIC CIRCLE LEGS

What it works: Hips, thighs

How to do it: Lie on your left side, body in a straight line from neck to feet, and lift your upper body off the floor by placing your left forearm on the floor. Stabilising yourself with both palms on the ground, hold the Magic Circle between your ankles and squeeze it as you exhale. Hold the squeeze for a few seconds and release as you inhale. Repeat 10 times on each side.


MAGIC CIRCLE BRIDGE

What it works: Core, buttocks

How to do it: Lie on your back, knees bent and feet placed hip-width apart. With your arms by your sides, hold the Magic Circle between your knees. As you exhale, flex the abdominal muscles and slowly lift your hips and then the lower back off the floor. Keep your neck and shoulders relaxed as your legs squeeze the Magic Circle. Exhale as you slowly return to the start position. Repeat five times.


Fitness Article by Pradeep Paul

Fitness Exercises by Claudel Kuek


PowerMoves Pilates Studio in the Park


Pilates Exercises for Pre and Post Natal Women in Singapore

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Pilates works on developing functionally strong abdominals, a flexible and powerful pelvic floor and a supportive back which is of utmost importance to all women involved in pregnancy and childbirth. Along with these essentials, Pilates also guides you through the discipline of ideal alignment and coordinating movement with breath.

Integrated into all PowerMoves Pilates sessions is also legwork and upper body routines so that your every session is a full-body integration workout. Pilates can transform your pregnancy and fulfill your need for the knowledge and the skill towards a more comfortable, rewarding and wonderful experience in pregnancy.

Come join us for our prenatal and postnatal Pilates Exercise Programmes (Wednesday evenings and Saturday afternoons). Call 6455 2221 to book your Pilates sessions in our Bishan Park studio today.

Pilates as a lifestyle and philosophy because it works,

Jumpstart your Pilates Exercises thru the Pilates Reformer

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The Pilates Reformer is a sleek Pilates equipment that resembles a bed; attached to it are springs of varying resistance with adjustable bars and straps to give one’s regular Pilates exercise workout the extra oomph.

The stretching and contracting of the springs attached give you added resistance, as well as teach you to control your muscles during the movement instead of powering along intent only on completing the number of repetitions indicated. Pilates Exercises on the Reformer require one to focus on the details of each movement, for it is in the details that make the difference in every move. Coupled with precision and control, your Pilates Reformer workout will take you from simply superficial to intensely beneficial.

With the use of the Pilates Reformer, you will enjoy all the stretching benefits of yoga plus the great muscle tone of a nautilus workout. Added to that, after just one session, you will find yourself feeling refreshed and alert with renewed self-confidence!

Two other techniques used to take your regular Pilates routine up a notch would be to slow down the exercises, hold the body a little longer and focus on connecting and firing up every muscle being engaged, and also, to move your body in opposition, in two different directions to engage more muscle groups as well as increase the resistance of each Pilates exercise.

Do give me a buzz if you would like to find out more about the Pilates Reformer workout and I would be happy to provide more details and an in-depth guide to using the Pilates Reformer.

Pilates to bring out the best in all of us,

Pilates Abs to Die For!

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These Pilates ab exercises are great for strengthening and tightening of the abdominal muscles. After 4 weeks of working on your abs with these moves, you will be happy to find that your clothes fit better around the waist, your stomach is more taut, you become more conscious of the way you hold yourself and you look and feel positively different from before you started. Your waistline will be slimmed, you will stand taller, and you will eliminate the flabby tummy syndrome.

As an added bonus, the strengthening of the core with these Pilates ab exercises and using that strength to stabilise and lengthen the torso and its surrounding muscles, your posture is improved. Good posture is important in maintaining the equilibrium of the body resulting in improved mobility and stability, increased breathing capacity, proper joint and muscle alignment, overall balance and symmetry. Contracting your abdominal muscles, lifting them in and up your spine, creates a foundation built to withstand the weight of your body and the tasks of everyday living.

Let’s begin our program towards getting Pilates Abs to die for! Listed below are the 7 Pilates exercises to achieve the abs of your dreams:

The Hundred

Lie back with arms by your sides, legs extended. Pull belly button in toward the spine as you lift your shoulder blades off the mat bringing your chin to chest. While in this position, pulse your arms up and down for 100 counts (inhaling for 5 counts, exhaling for 5 counts).

Lower Abdominal Lift

Lie back with arms by your sides and legs extended toward the ceiling, toes pointed. Contract belly muscles and exhale to slowly lift hips straight off the mat a few inches. Slowly lower to start on your inhale. Do this with control and without rocking the hips. Lift and lower for 10 reps.

Criss Cross

Lie back with your knees bent, fingers laced behind your head. Lift your shoulder blades off the mat and exhale to twist your right shoulder toward your left knee as you extend right leg out. Pause at the inhale and then exhale to twist to the other side. Work up to 15 reps on each side.

Roll Up

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 10 times.

Swimming

Lie face down on mat with legs and arms extended. 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.

Plank

Lie face down with legs extended, forearms resting on the mat shoulder-width apart, hands in fists. Tighten abs, tuck toes under and lift hips off the mat so that your body forms a straight line from head to heels as shown. Hold for 30 seconds while breathing normally and then lower to start. Rest before repeating 3 more times.

Standing Side Crunch

Stand with feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart, knees soft, elbows bent, hands in fists by your shoulders. Tighten abs and exhale as you lower your torso to the left, then to the right in one continuous movement, keeping your lower body very still throughout. Inhale as you come back to upright starting position. Work up to 30 reps on each side.

Always in fitness and wellness with you,
CLAUDEL KUEK
PowerMoves Pilates n Dance Singapore