Racks, Manacles Ropes and Stretching

logo_focus_pilatesBy: Andrew Cherriman

With that title you might be forgiven for thinking you were on your favourite S&M site rather than RTI, but fear not dear reader, this is 100% relevant to Cycling in Singapore.  This week I took advantage of one of the free introductory sessions that our partners Focus Pilates offered club members.  Having come from the UK where my wife and I had spent 6 years renovating our house and garden, I think my core was pretty strong, it’s amazing the back and abs workout you get from painting walls and ceilings with a roller and digging in the garden!  But now 6 years into life in Singapore, I have no garden and I paid a man $2.53 +GST to paint my entire condo white last year so my exercise consists of cycling, cycling and, well, cycling.  As a result, I’m as flexible as my carbon fiber bike frame, I have a core that is about as firm as the jelly I saw at a 1 year old’s birthday party last week and my back hurts like hell almost every night.

Not Me!
Not Me Doing a Plank!

Time for action, the orthopedic bloke told me he wouldn’t give me a lifetime supply of opiate drugs and that I needed to do some stretches and work on my core strength with something like….. You guessed it….. Pilates.

Now I’m old skool, and real men don’t do Yoga, and isn’t Pilates just Yoga in disguise?  These were all good reasons not to go but I decided I was a bigger man than all that and for the sake of the next 40 years of comfortable sleep I needed to get over it.  For those of you who don’t already know, Pilates isn’t just Yoga in disguise, it focuses specifically on those muscle groups that build core strength and stability, and if you who think that all you need in cycling are legs, think again, a strong core means that when you legs push down, all the energy goes to the pedals rather than being soaked up by movement in your hips and pelvis.

Not Me Again, But We Did Do This
Not Me Again, But We Did Do This

So back to Focus Pilates.  When I arrived I was shown around , and what I saw did indeed look like it would be more at home in a dungeon.  Something called reformer machines were in one studio, and in another there were straps and springs attached to the walls all a bit bewildering for somebody who last did any form of structured exercise 20 years ago.

Anyway, as I waited for an instructor, Dione introduced herself to me and  asked if I was from ANZA as well.  It has to be said, Dione looked like she was far more at home in these surroundings than me, actually wearing something that made her look like she belonged here, unlike me in a pair of shorts I managed to find at the bottom of the drawer and a Vuelta a España t-shirt that clearly identified me as a cyclist.

pilates bridge
Guess What? Still Not Me Doing a Bridge

So with two of us, the class began, and our instructor who looked like she had a core you could bounce cannon balls off introduced us to “The Reformer”, and we commenced with exercises and moves that had me suddenly aware of just how weak my abs are.  As I write this, 2 days later, I feel a bit like I was kicked in the stomach a few times during the week.

She took us through at a very steady pace, explaining what it was all about any what muscles we were working and how it will help your core stability.  By the end I think both Dione and I had a good idea of how Pilates could help both flexibility and strength and once I sort out a schedule I’m sure to be doing more.

Focus Pilates are offering ANZA Cycling members 15% off group and private sessions and off their physiotherapy services, and have studios in the CBD and Orchard Road.

If you have questions drop us a line at anzacycling.rti.ed@gmail.com or chat to any othe committee when you see us on the road.

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