Reformer Pilates Challenge with International Athletes (like it aint no thing)

Wassuuuuuup Queen Bs? Brid here, greeting you with a fairly dated reference. Soooo, when Katie P was challenged to attend Reformer Pilates with Sinead Murphy, owner of Performance Physiotherapy in Cork’s City Centre I simply couldn’t help myself. I mean this lady is physio royalty with a client list that reads like the ‘who’s who’ of the Irish sports world glitterati. Also, word on the street (as in Sinead told me) was that members of the Irish Rowing Squad and Queen B’s Sanita Puspure and Claire Lambe were going to be there. There’s no point in denying it (I can’t anyway, I’m in the photos) I tagged along. How often do these opportunities come up?! On that note, hoping that you will all understand why I went with Katie P, I will tell you exactly what happened within the hallowed halls of Performance Physiotherapy. I still can’t believe we got to train with and by the best. Love my job, yeah! (punches air)


Bit of background – the class we were attending was Reformer Pilates. A class offered by Sinead and her fantastic team of Chartered Physiotherapists who consist of Sinead, Eimear, Sarah and Dearbhla. The best way for me to describe it would be that it is a Pilates class with resistance exercise equipment that looks like a table with a sliding platform and big elastic bands attached to it. Resistance is then provided by the exerciser’s body weight and by springs attached to the carriage and platform. The level of resistance can be adjusted depending on the participants level.


As total beginners I was dearly hoping that Sinead would go easy on us. Seriously, the pressure was on with an Olympian sliding around behind me. I was after legendary sliding status with a grin as opposed to a grimace. I put on my best ‘I have spent way too much time in the office eating muffins and not enough time training’ face of hope and joined Katie P (Who was raring to go. Seriously. There really is no stopping her!)


Mercy? Go easy on us? Well, not with Sanita in the room. Let me explain…


There we were, chilling in the studio, telling everyone who’d listen about Queen B leggings when in walks Claire and Sanita, the magnificent blonde goddesses of Irish Rowing. We were all hugs and jokes and general hoolies until Sinead started adjusting each person’s resistance. There was talk of Katie and I easing into it until I heard Sanita blowing our cover entirely from the corner.


With her European medal around her neck glinting majestically in the sunlight….(okay, okay, poetic license, she may not have actually been wearing her medal during training, but hey if I had won that medal I would NEVER take it off. Ever) she uttered, ‘It’s supposed to be a challenge though. Isn’t it?’ “Noooooooooooo” was my internal monologue for approximately 12 seconds.


But alas, Sanita is a top athlete and she was right. It WAS a challenge and one way or another we would get through it the only way Queen B’s can…in style. (Or just hide behind Katie as she did it in style)


Thankfully, Sinead set our resistance in a way that challenged us but I never felt out of my depth. We used the platform to maneuver ourselves into different exercises that worked the whole body. Sinead put great emphasis on our posture and making sure that we were working in a way that focused on quality of movement as opposed to quantity. It’s worth mentioning at this point too that Sinead creates a very calm atmosphere in the class and anytime she asked me to adjust my posture it was done very discreetly and I always felt like I was progressing. Even the tiniest adjustment made a big difference and it was this focus on detail that made me realize why this exercise is so good for coordination, balance, strength, conditioning and injury recovery. A big focus for me was to round my hips forward ever so slightly and to tuck my bum in. This motion alone gave me a far greater sense of balance and fully engaged my core. Both Kate and I agreed that these little adjustments definitely intensified the workout and made sure we engaged properly with the movements.

Kate had attended various Pilates classes in the past and she felt that the main difference between this Pilates class and others was the emphasis of Sinead’s class on functional movement and the importance of moving well and not just working hard. Technique is King (or Queen!)

Sinead and her team recommend this class to everyone because they use their skills as chartered physiotherapists to tailor classes to suit everyone’s level of exercise or recovery phase through injury. For example they run classes specifically for those with back pain, people with osteoporosis, prenatal classes and performance/sports classes where they fine tune high level athletes to help them move better as a form of recovery and injury prevention.

The classes are small so Sinead can keep a close eye on everyone and make sure technique is at it’s best!

Finally, I would especially highlight the importance of doing this with the very best of trained and qualified instructors, like Queen B Sinead.

I felt amazing afterwards and can say with conviction that if my abs could high five me, they would have.

For more information on this you can engage with Sinead and her Team of Chartered Physiotherapists through the following:

Twitter: @corkphysio



Yours with love, stretchy clothes and sweaty workouts,

Brid and Katie P.