We asked Pilates instructors from seven of the top Singapore Pilates studios to share their views. Here, they discuss why they love these low-impact workouts and core exercises, including reformer Pilates – and the top reasons you should give it a try.
Singapore Pilates Studios
The Moving Body Pilates Studio
The Moving Body offers private, semi-private and group Pilates sessions on various equipment – including Pilates Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, Ladder Barrel and the Gyrotonic Expansion System. Sessions are led professionally by certified Pilates and Gyrotonic instructors.
This Singapore Pilates studio has three locations: River Valley (#03-22 UE Square, 81 Clemenceau Avenue), Bukit Timah (#03-09 Guthrie House, 1 Fifth Avenue) and East Coast (#05-02 Tides Building, 217 East Coast Road).
The brand-new flagship studio in River Valley’s UE Square even houses The Movement Academy. This is where movement enthusiasts looking to learn more – or even turn their passions into careers – can study under The Moving Body’s master trainers. The Movement Academy offers movement certification courses and workshops, and is Singapore’s only Balanced Body Licensed Academy and Gyrotonic certification centre.
Audrey D’cotta, Co-founder and master instructor, The Moving Body
“I started practicing Pilates in 2003 under the advice of my physiotherapist. I was suffering from back pain due to scoliosis while teaching classes as a full-time fitness instructor. Through regular Pilates and Gyrotonic practice, I saw a vast improvement to my back issues in a span of just six months. The freedom from pain through mindful movement fuelled my passion to become a Pilates instructor.
I love Pilates, as it helps to recharge the body, refocus the mind and rejuvenate the soul. After each session, I feel ready and better equipped to take on whatever the day has in store. It’s a perfect mind-body exercise that mobilises the spine, strengthens the muscles and activates the core, all in one session.
Each and every piece of Pilates equipment is unique and elegant in its own way, and is designed to cater to exercise modifications and variations to suit every body. I’m not just helping others to keep fit, but also helping them to achieve a wider range of health and wellness goals through the form of movement that their body needs the most.”
The Moving Body
SmartFit Pilates Studio
Aimed at helping clients to live feeling confident, energised and pain-free, this Singapore Pilates studio offers private, duet and small group classes for everybody, every age and every fitness level. All sessions are taught by certified instructors who specialise in everything from pre- and postnatal Pilates to injury rehabilitation, core exercises and spinal realignment.
Private Pilates sessions incorporate Pilates Reformer, Cadillac, Chair and Ladder Barrel apparatuses, and can even be conducted in a variety of languages, including English, Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, Bahasa, Hindi and more! For groups, the boutique studio’s got a selection of Reformer Pilates classes daily. Additionally, they’ve got Full Body Challenge and Burn classes, which blend Reformer, TRX and Reformer HIIT for a total-body sweat session.
Sunny Heo, Senior Pilates Instructor, SmartFit Pilates
“Studying Pilates opened my mind more deeply to understanding the human body and how it moves, and the mind-body connection. With principles of breath, centring, control and concentration, Pilates is one of the best methods for learning about and gaining awareness of your own body, no matter what sports and activities you do.
I love being able to accompany my clients through their life journeys. Many people aren’t truly aware of or connected to their body – but it’s what carries you through life! When someone has life issues, their body reflects it in movements that feel “stuck”. I observe how they move, listen to what they say – not just about their pain but also about what’s happening in their lives I help them to change certain movement patterns so their body is more aligned, balanced and efficient to reach their goals. When a client really begins to understand their own body or tells me that they are finally living their life without pain, or that they’ve stopped comparing their body to others, or that their sports performance has improved as a result of our work together, it brings me so much joy.”
Learn more about this Singapore Pilates studio at smartfit.com.sg.
#01-01, #04-03 Tanglin Place, 91 Tanglin Road
Made To Move Studio Pilates
Designed as a restorative space for tailor-made healing, this boutique studio provides diagnostic private Pilates sessions and small group classes. The signature class is MTM ByDesign. This is for three participants only and personalised to their bodies using everything from the reformer, chair and barrels to the tower, sling suspension and mat work.
For one-on-one Pilates training, the studio uses a three-step approach to curate the perfect programming for each individual. It all starts with a postural analysis, an intro to the fundamentals of Pilates and a discussion about the client’s goals. From there, exercises are tailored to the client, with assessments scheduled every four months to ensure progress is made and goals are being met.
Melissa Pascual, Lead Pilates Instructor and Founder of Made To Move Studio
“I found Pilates 10 years ago after some recurring sports injuries. I was looking for an exercise that would rehabilitate my muscles with proper alignment and without overloading with weight. Resistance training was the answer!
The controlled movements with the reformer springs helped strengthen my legs without hurting my joints. I found that executing even the simplest Pilates exercises was challenging, yet effective. Since then, I have loved Pilates not just for rehabilitation but also as a full workout – from core strengthening to sports conditioning, functional training, spinal mobility or even a deep stretch.
Teaching Pilates gives me joy, as I am part of someone’s journey. I love being able to see the difference I can make with my clients. At the same time, my clients recognise what a difference Pilates makes for their bodies!”
TSquared Pilates Studio
This Singapore Pilates studio is part of TSquared Lab – a “bespoke body transformation ecosystem” that takes an all-encompassing approach to physical and mental fitness. The philosophy here is that true, sustainable transformation can only be achieved when Pilates, personal training, recovery and nutrition are addressed holistically.
The studio’s senior Pilates instructors’ skills include clinical Pilates, pre- and postnatal, dance conditioning, golf performance, Pilates for seniors, and private and small group classes. The Pilates instructors work together with TSquared’s team of physiotherapists, sports therapists and massage therapists to provide a holistic approach to health.
This Singapore Pilates studio has two locations. One is at HarbourFront (991F Alexandra Road), the other in the CBD (#01-01A/02 Keck Seng Tower, 133 Cecil Street).
Jean Ho, Senior Pilates Instructor at TSquared Pilates
“As a dancer, I discovered Pilates eight years ago when I needed rehabilitation for a dance injury. Rehabilitation via Pilates focuses on the needs and injuries of the individual, and strengthens the weak areas of the body by bringing balance and functionality. I found that Pilates not only strengthened and lengthened my muscles, and improved my core strength, but it also improved my dance performance.
Now, as a Pilates instructor, I focus on Pilates for body conditioning and post-rehabilitation, pre- and postnatal Pilates, and Pilates for seniors. It’s a joy for me to see my clients strengthen their injured muscles and get to the point where they can move those injured body parts into full-body functional positions.”
Vive Active Combination Focus
Combining the sweet science of reformer Pilates with the best principles of strength training, Vive Active has designed the ultimate results-driven workout focused on total body conditioning. Whether you’re after increased strength, better flexibility or a sweaty HIIT session, there’s a class here to suit everyone. And no reformer experience required!
The studio’s signature class is Vive Total, which combines strength, endurance and stretch for a full-body burn. And, if you’re looking to dial up your calorie burn to the max, Vive Circuit is a fusion of strength, HIIT and stability training that’ll have you working every muscle group across multiple circuit stations. Or, take it a step further with Vive Combat – a HIIT and strength training session that splits its time between reformer and floorwork. As the studio’s most challenging class, Vive Combat uses heavier weights and tougher springs to help you build a six-pack way sooner than you’d expect.
There’s also Vive Stretch, which draws from Pilates core exercises and yoga. It uses deep stretch poses to improve mobility, increase flexibility, build strength, reduce stress and help with injury prevention. No matter which class you choose, you can expect to leave walking taller and feeling stronger and calmer!
FitNut Loft Pilates and Strength Training
Dedicated to helping women get “better” not “younger”, FitNut Loft provides Pilates-based personal training and group workouts for women in their 40s and above who want to get stronger, have more energy, lose weight and eliminate body pain as they age – all in a non-judgmental space, across two studio locations.
The emphasis here is on strength training and Pilates. There are three main pathways at FitNut Loft: Pilates with Reformer and Mat Pilates Flow; pure strength training with the HEAT Circuit class; and Strong & Lean, which is a combination of HIIT, weight training and Pilates.
What’s more, the studio’s FitNut Academy offers seven-week certification courses in anatomy, mat and reformer Pilates, strength training and coaching skills. These courses are for anyone who wants to learn more or turn their passion into a career.
Aly Khairuddin, STOTT Pilates Instructor, Precision Nutrition Coach and owner of FitNut Loft
“Pilates is an excellent post-rehab exercise programme. It can be particularly beneficial in helping someone through their surgeries because it combines so many types of movements in so many directions. In fact, Pilates saved me when I went through my breast cancer journey. A bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction and nine other surgeries left me immobile and in pain. It was when I dedicated time every single day to rehabilitating myself with Pilates that I regained mobilisation in my arms. Emotionally, I was happier, no longer depressed and thankful that I’d found a way to make myself better.
At FitNut Loft, we offer Mat Pilates Flow, Reformer Pilates and, our signature class, Reformer Strong and Lean. This class combines weight training, HIIT and Pilates – everything you could possibly need from your daily workout. This is the Pilates class that can actually help someone lose weight. We know because we’ve measured the results of all our clients, and the results have been astounding!”
The Core Reformery
This new Singapore Pilates studio provides private Pilates sessions and small group classes. All classes are capped at a maximum of five participants. This ensures undivided attention from the BASI Pilates-trained instructors.
With six different classes to choose from, there’s really something for everyone. First-timers will want to opt for the Essentials class to familiarise themselves with the reformer and core Pilates exercises. They can take their practice to the next level with the boutique studio’s Signature class, which uses mat-inspired movements and Pilates props. Looking for a good stretch and release? You’ll want to try Elongate, which will work your flexibility and mobility.
Dira Kassim, Founder of The Core Reformery
“What started for me as a form of working out postpartum later ignited my passion for Pilates and spurred me to take on the BASI Pilates Certification.
Having benefitted first-hand from Pilates through its core-strengthening movements and the mental calmness it provides, I started The Core Reformery to share with others the benefits Pilates brings.
I believe that Pilates is for all bodies, regardless of shape, size and strength. Pilates can be adapted and modified to suit all fitness levels, whether you’re a total beginner or a seasoned practitioner. I love seeing my clients improve in both their physical and mental health after practicing Pilates. It gives me a sense of satisfaction knowing that I’ve helped them better their lives in one way or another.”
The Core Reformery
#05-20 North Bridge Centre, 420 North Bridge Road
This article on pilates studios and instructors first appeared in the March 2023 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
More about Pilates
#1. Exercise for everyone
Pilates, which can be done with a just a mat or with the use of specialist equipment like the Pilates reformer, can be practised by anyone, regardless of age, gender or fitness abilities. That’s because instructors can adjust the exercises to suit each client’s specific needs and health conditions; in fact it’s a popular choice for prenatal and postnatal fitness, as it strengthens the pelvic floor, helping the body both to prepare for the delivery and to recover post-delivery.
#2. Stabilise the core
The key to stability is the core (sometimes known as the “powerhouse!”), which includes the abdomen, lower back, obliques and pelvic floor. Having a stronger core means you can work out better as a whole, whether it be running, yoga, football, boot camp, you name it. Learning how to use muscles that provide stability while we move our extremities helps to safeguard against injury during daily chores or sports.
#3. Corrects posture and alignment
Correct posture and alignment are also key to effective functioning throughout everyday activities, whether it be working out at the gym or sitting at a computer. Pilates helps improve body awareness, which, in turn, encourages proper alignment, explains Erick. This is important so that the muscles can work effectively without excessively straining any one muscle group.
#4. Enhances your breathing
The improvement of your posture and the ability to stand or sit taller will encourage better, deeper breathing day to day. The focused breathing used to control the Pilates movements helps to optimise the deep abdominal contractions that are involved.
#5. Boosts the mind-body connection
Along with focused breathing, the concentration required to perform the exercises can help improve body awareness, and this can transfer to other areas of your training, and of your life. Quality in Pilates is far more important than the number of repetitions performed.
#6. Tones and strengthens
Pilates exercises involve all muscle groups, so you work on the entire body from head to toe. There’s a strong focus on deep abdominal contractions with each exercise, which improves core strength and tones the abdominals. Also, using your body weight, or equipment and props, helps to develop overall body strength and tones muscles.
#7. Enhances mobility and enhances flexibility
Posture deterioration, muscle tension, aches and pains are usually caused by tight muscles. The Pilates repertoire moves each joint in all possible angles; that improves flexibility and helps muscles reach their optimal length.
#8. Helps ease and prevent back pain
Having a stronger core means you’re less likely to develop a back injury. In fact, Pilates movements are often used as part of the rehabilitation – in addition to prevention – of lower back and neck injuries and pain.
#9. Optimises balance and muscle control
Pilates helps create symmetry in the strength of opposing and unilateral muscles. Working one side of the body independently from the other side, and with the same resistance, achieves balance in the internal force production of left and right side muscles.
#10. Increase bone density
Using both bodyweight and resistance from apparatuses, plus props to provide a good stress to the skeletal system, Pilates exercises delay this degenerative process, making our bones more resilient and less likely to fracture as we grow older.
Quick History of Pilates
As a sick child in late 19th-century Germany, Joseph Pilates – the son of a gymnast father and naturopath mother – dedicated himself to becoming stronger by studying anatomy and various forms of exercise. He got himself into top physical shape, posing for anatomical charts and becoming an accomplished circus performer, gymnast, skier and boxer in England.
After being forced into an internment camp during World War I, he began developing his concept of Contrology – essentially what is now Pilates mat work – which focused on core postural muscles and awareness of breath. As a caretaker for injured interns, he also invented rehabilitation equipment made from springs and hospital beds – a system that became the foundation for his body-conditioning method using specialised apparatuses.
Around 1925, Pilates and his wife brought his technique to New York City, where he opened his first studio catering primarily to performers and professional ballet dancers. The exercise system gained a devoted following, and is now taught around the globe in different variations.
To make the most of living in Singapore, you can also read our latest City Guide here for free!