With their weekend sessions assuming prime slots, my options were limited to weekdays, either mornings commencing at 10 AM or evenings at 7 PM. Neither option was viable in consideration of my work schedule, especially with the surging 401 congestion levels associated with economic recovery. I grudgingly accepted my fate, offering to take a day off based on class availability.
A total of four instructors reside at Studio Bon. Besides the owner, I have had the opportunity of learning from two of these instructors during my time at Sum Pilates. Younger, fiercer-looking, and sharing the same name as a rising artist in the Latin music scene, the final member of the instructor quad was unveiled. As with previous sessions, I had stated my case prior to the start of class, noting aspects and angles of movement that I was refrain from. She gazed upon me with a blank stare, expressionless and potentially questioning the reasoning behind my profession. Perhaps she found it odd that I was informing her of injuries, and proceeded to place the responsibility on me to moderate my own movements, noting that I should inform her in the case of pain. It was a different response than the previous two instructors, who had urged caution of the injury and gladly agreed to provide modifications.
Instead of a cardio warmup sequence, we were instructed to stand behind the Reformer Carriage, just behind the shoulder rest, and face the footbar. Several rolldowns were executed, followed by rolldowns with rotation: Placing one hand in front of the forehead, the rolling up portion entailed rotation of the upper body in the direction of the bent arm. This was then repeated with the other hand. Standing hamstring curls were also performed: With one foot positioned along the centre axis of the Carriage and the other before the shoulder rest, one was to extend and retract the leg. Reminders to utilize core strength were made, though there was nothing to be heard regarding maintaining stability of the standing leg (in regards to hyperextension, rotation, etc.)
Lying on the Carriage facing upwards, a series of blogilates' level core exercises followed. Single leg extensions in tabletop position were conducted on one leg before moving to the other. Next came double leg extensions, then flutters at a "low diagonal", a qualitative description for inclines of 45 degrees or more (with the hips as reference point). The final move of this section were reverse crunches with ankles attached and knees slightly open. Rather than positioning the palms by one's side or having them looped through the hand straps, we were instructed to grip the bars affixed to the shoulder rest. The configuration made tired wrist and tensing of muscles from the shoulders up. While we were to press the shoulder blades onto the Carriage while executing the routine, I found the position offered more discomfort and tightness than needed for proper engagement of the core. As the other girls hugged their knees to combat the tremendous flexion, I rolled my wrists in relief.
The instructor then shifted to the short box, describing a side-lying position with the knees bent at 90 degrees and the hand strap fitted over the top knee. It was an odd position for the elbow as there was insufficient space for the entire body to rest comfortably, introducing neck tension where the elbow was unable to provide support for the head. A variation of this exercise involved extending the top leg and fitting the hand strap into arch of the foot for a pullback.
Without familiarity of these exercises in mat form, it would be difficult to understand the muscle being isolated. A fire hydrant on all fours summons tremendous core control, with focus on 90-degree alignment and ribs being tucked into the spine. The side-lying position removed strain on the wrists, yet instead instilled tension in the neck due to inadequate surface area to support the elbow comfortably. Reminders for the main move were called out (ie. keep the resting leg bent at 90 degrees without letting the calve drop), though there was no advice to be offered regarding the supporting muscle groups and alignment. Was the spine in alignment? Are the hips stacked? Was the head flexed forward? These were form corrections that attendees ought be made aware of to maximize the class and, more importantly, prevent injury.
The thigh routine utilized a total of three red springs - quite a heavy amount in comparison to other classes. Feet were placed on the footbar to start, and the knees would be extended.
- With feet in "first position", extend into Froggers
- With feet placed parallel at hip distance and flexed, extend while keeping heels down
- With toes on footbar and heels up, extend for lying narrow squat
It was beyond my expectation when we were instructed to thread the feet through the hand straps and extend the legs towards the ceiling. On the adjacent Reformer was a student that noted intensity of the tension level, as she was unable to extend her legs altogether. Sideways Scissors and more Froggers were executed, though details of the final move were not sufficient enough. Confusion over took the class at the mention of single leg Froggers, where one leg was to be bent and extended and the other extended and shifted laterally. Specifics such as pointed feet in the extended position and flexed in the bent were also not addressed until asked.
I departed my make-up session with mixed feelings. Atrocious soreness was sustained in the hamstrings, reminiscent of the pains experienced from my first badminton match in middle school. However, whether this sensation is owed to high-tension pilates or the four rounds of EMOM undertaken the day prior (or both) is uncertain. The class placed greater emphasis on building strength via weight and repetition rather than overall precision and control, adopting an attitude witnessed frequently in blogilates.
Although my original intention had been to work remotely to the best of my abilities, insufficient battery life affirmed that logging out and off would be the righteous way of spending the half-day vacation.
- Pineapple Bun/波羅包
- Hot Dog Bun/腸仔包
- Century Egg Puff Pastry/皮蛋酥
- Egg Tart w/ Puff Pastry Shell/雞批
- Ginger Milk Egg Tart w/ Puff Pastry Shell/薑汁撞奶蛋撻
- Chicken Pie/酥皮蛋撻
Lunch Combo E14 (洋蔥豬排飯) was a straightforward combination of steamed white rice and pork chop with onions. Despite simplicity in its concept, satisfactory execution of this dish is rare to chance by. Taste Casserole Rice's edition was not only fragrant but tender - scrumptious without a shred of sogginess. The dish was paired with a hot lemon tea