RE­FORM YOUR WORK­OUT ROU­TINE

Dis­cover why pi­lates reformer classes are gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity now.

Shape (Singapore) - - Contents -

There’s some­thing to be said about an ex­er­cise in­vented in the 1920s that’s still be­ing prac­tised pas­sion­ately to­day. In­vented by phys­i­cal trainer Joseph Pi­lates with the pur­pose of re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing sol­diers and dancers, pi­lates is well-known to­day for build­ing core strength and spinal align­ment.

While mat pi­lates is com­monly of­fered in stu­dios and gyms, pi­lates reformer classes have bur­geoned over the last few years, due to their ver­sa­til­ity and abil­ity to chal­lenge the body in a mul­ti­tude of ways.

Work­ing you from head to toe, pi­lates reformer classes in­volve spe­cific con­trolled move­ments to im­prove flex­i­bil­ity and body aware­ness through breath­ing and core en­gage­ment. Whether you’re ly­ing supine, prone, kneel­ing, stand­ing or in a lunge, you can be sure of get­ting an in­tense mus­cle­s­tim­u­lat­ing work­out.

“The pi­lates reformer is an in­tel­li­gent ma­chine con­sist­ing of springs which pro­vide vary­ing lev­els of re­sis­tance to chal­lenge your body,” says Claire Bo­s­tock, chief busi­ness of­fi­cer of Ab­so­lute You, a pi­lates reformer and rhythm cy­cling stu­dio in Or­chard Road. “Un­like a mat work­out where the only re­sis­tance is your body weight, the dy­namic re­sis­tance the springs pro­vide means you have to work much harder, and your body gets firm and toned much faster.”

An­other ben­e­fit the reformer has over mat pi­lates: You can’t “cheat” as the mov­ing bed at­tached to springs pro­vides a spe­cific re­sis­tance. “It’s ap­par­ent if you’re not do­ing the ex­er­cise cor­rectly,” adds Claire.

A work­out for both the body and mind, pi­lates reformer classes re­quire a level of con­cen­tra­tion and fo­cus. “In the early stages of a pi­lates reformer prac­tice, it’s es­sen­tial to re­mem­ber how to ex­e­cute all the small move­ments in or­der to re­cruit your core mus­cles prop­erly,” says Lucy War­ren, a phys­io­ther­a­pist and pi­lates in­struc­tor at UFit Clinic. “This helps you main­tain the con­trac­tion to get the most out of the ses­sion. While it takes a lot of mind­ful­ness, it very quickly be­comes au­to­matic.”

Be­yond the at­trac­tion of a pi­lates body – think long, lean mus­cles, a strong core, and all-round flex­i­bil­ity – the ad­di­tional al­lure lies in its low-im­pact na­ture and women-spe­cific ben­e­fits.

“Peo­ple are be­gin­ning to recog­nise the im­por­tance of hav­ing a strong core and good pos­ture, given our in­creas­ingly seden­tary life­styles,” shares Roz Nor­man, pi­lates pil­lar coach at Vir­gin Ac­tive Sin­ga­pore. “Also, med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als and spe­cial­ists usu­ally touch on the im­por­tance of pelvic floor strength dur­ing and af­ter preg­nancy, which pi­lates can help with. The min­i­mal im­pact pi­lates has on joints makes it an ideal work­out for women both pre­na­tal and post­na­tal.”

If there’s any lin­ger­ing doubt about why you should give pi­lates reformer classes a go, founder Joseph Pi­lates’ quote sums it up best: “In 10 ses­sions you will feel the dif­fer­ence, in 20 ses­sions you will see the dif­fer­ence and in 30 ses­sions you will have a new body.”

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