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That’s not exercise!

There was a cartoonish bead of sweat forming on my temple as I straightened my leg yet again and tried to recall what series of events had led me to be lying on my side in a Pilates studio with my buttock feeling like a rusted Hills Hoist.

I hadn’t lost any bets recently, and I don’t think I’d just tripped and fallen out of the clinic and across Anzac square and a block down Ann Street onto a Pilates Reformer.

Overwhelmingly the most likely answer was that in another health and team-building endeavour, Queen Street Physiotherapy had committed to a weekly march down to Studio Pilates for the next 6 weeks, and we were currently at the back end of our glutes exercises.

“And rest,” chimed our instructor Sarah

It was a very welcome let up before the video guide quickly transitioned to the next exercise. I hope it’s a stretch.

Pilates is a school of exercise and fitness founded by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. It has undergone much development by physiotherapists and other health and fitness influencers, to emerge today as a widely popular and clinically sound whole body workout, practiced by many sports teams as well as regular people … like us!

Sarah put a little weight on my ankle to ensure I was working at the right level (gimme a break!) and we kept going.

Having undertaken Pilates training as part of my clinical skillset I was familiar with many of the exercises but this was the first time I’d been guided right through a workout.

The high repetitions without much rest is a disarmingly effective way to get a good cardio workout, but the machines are also very adjustable so that you can complete a workout as a gruelling burn or a more gentle toning.

The particular workout we were taking for a test drive is designed to be suitable for pregnant women right up to full-term. It’s a great way to blow off some steam and build some core strength when other forms of exercise become more difficult.

Luckily, I checked my ego at the door so I didn’t feel quite so bad as I reduced the resistance a bit and kept going with some slow arm pulls. I think my technique just improved too.

While Pilates can be practised with virtually no equipment, the use of some specialised sliding benches called Reformers pits every exercise against the adjustable resistance of springs.

What struck me using the Reformers is how (with some pointers from Sarah) they encourage very good technique. Even while doing isolated exercises the demand on many stabilising muscles was high, as it would be when you’re doing any sort of sport or activity.

After a much needed thigh and buttock stretch, I wiped a light sweat off the Reformer and packed up.

There were definitely some sore bits, but overall it was a refreshingly varied 45 minutes and I think I might be getting stronger (… gee I hope I’m getting stronger!

The sun welcomes us back to the real world, or at least the little bit of it that is 300 Ann Street and we pressed back into our busy lives, until next week.