From The Straits Times    |

Photo: Absolute You

Thailand boutique fitness brand Absolute You recently opened its flagship studio in Orchard (Peranakan Place to be exact), offering reformer pilates, rhythm cycling and yoga. While we’ll always be fans of spin and yoga, what caught our eye was its pilates reformer classes. The 20 machines enhance the pilates experience by leveling up resistance, allowing users to target specific areas such as the abdomen, arms, butt, and thighs. As if performing planks was not tough enough on its own, try doing it on the reformer. Of course, the results are well worth the effort.

In time with newcomers Absolute You and wellness hub Core Collective opening doors (both have the machines), we speak to Claudel Kuek, founder and CEO of Powermoves Pilates in the Park to find out what reformer exercises you can do to tone up and grow stronger faster than when practicing pilates on the mat. Safety first: If you’re new to the reformer, be sure to have a qualified instructor guide you through manoeuvring those straps, springs and pulleys.

The fitness goal is to do these moves on the pilates reformer three or four times a week in any order – and without resting in between. Remember to do these exercises slowly and in a controlled manner. 


1. Work your abdominals with “the hundred”

Photo: Shape

Lie on back with knees bent at 90 degrees, shins parallel to floor. Place hands in straps and extend arms upwards, perpendicular to body [shown]. Inhale to begin. Upon exhaling, lift head and chest by using abdominal muscles as you curl upper spine. Extend arms past buttocks as you straighten legs at 45-degree angle. Keep neck and shoulders relaxed [shown]. In this position, take in and release five short breaths, gently pulsing arms up and down with each breath. Do 10 reps.


2. Tone shoulders and pectorals with “hug a tree”

Photo: Shape

Sit cross-legged on reformer carriage with back against shoulder rests. Place hands in straps and extend arms out to sides at shoulder level, keeping elbows straight but not locked [shown]. Inhale to begin. Upon exhaling, draw arms towards each other till parallel [shown]. Inhale and draw arms away from each other, with elbows slightly bent and core tightened. Keep neck and shoulders relaxed, and body upright. Do eight to 10 reps. 


3. Strengthen Abdominals and the lower back by planking

Photo: Shape

Get into plank position with toes on platform and hands on shoulder rests. Forearms should be parallel to each other and shoulders directly over wrists. Tighten core and extend spine, keeping shoulders relaxed and head in neutral position [shown]. Hold for 30 seconds while taking deep breaths. The carriage should not move during this time. Do two or three reps. 


4. Work your glutes and quads with “single leg skating”

Photo: Shape

Inhale and stand on platform of reformer with left foot. Place right foot on front edge of carriage. Shift weight to left foot and squat deeply, placing hands on hips [shown]. Upon exhaling, straighten right leg by pushing carriage away. Keep left leg stable, body upright and tail bone tucked in [shown]. Inhale and return to starting position. Do eight to 10 reps; switch sides to complete set.



This story was first published on Shape Singapore