Gym training for over 50s to overcome common health issues

By Olivia Adoncello, Head Exercise Physiologist and Programs Manager, Brellah Medical Centre


As we age, our body undergoes various changes that can impact our overall health and well-being. This is why from age 50 it’s vital to be physically active to combat common health issues and preserve mobility, strength, and vitality.

As an Exercise Physiologist, I’ve witnessed first-hand the transformative power of targeted exercise in addressing common concerns and enhancing quality of life.

Here are the top 5 most common issues once we reach age 50 and how they can be addressed:

1. Muscle loss and sarcopenia

One of the primary challenges we encounter as we age is the gradual loss of muscle mass. This process begins in our 30s-40s and eventually becomes what we call ‘sarcopenia’.

Muscles are used for every single action and movement we make and when muscle mass is reduced, we can experience a significant impact to mobility, balance, our walking ability, function and our overall independence.

Resistance training or weight training, with free weights, resistance bands, and even your own bodyweight, is highly effective in combating sarcopenia.

Incorporating exercises that target major muscle groups, such as squats, lunges, chest presses, and rows, individuals can stimulate muscle growth, improve strength, enhance muscular endurance, and most importantly, maintain our muscle health.

2. Joint pain and osteoarthritis

Joint pain, often associated with conditions like osteoarthritis, can severely limit mobility and impact the way we perform daily activities. When dealing with osteoarthritis, low-impact exercise can alleviate discomfort, improve joint integrity and increase our overall tolerance to movement.

Water aerobics, cycling, and reformer Pilates are excellent options for joint pain, as they provide cardiovascular benefits without placing undue stress on the joints.

Additionally, specific strengthening exercises that focus on improving joint stability and flexibility, such as leg extensions, leg curls, and shoulder rotations, can help reduce pain and enhance joint function.

Weight management is also an important factor to consider as this can reduce the overall load placed on the structures, alleviating discomfort.

3. Bone density loss and osteoporosis

Osteoporosis, characterised by low bone density and increased susceptibility to fractures, is a common concern among older adults, especially women post-menopause.

Strength training and weight-bearing exercises, which involve supporting your own body weight or using external resistance, are essential for maintaining bone density and preventing osteoporosis-related complications. This can include exercises like squats, deadlifts, overhead presses and stair climbing.

It’s also important to incorporate exercises that involve impact such as jumping, jogging, running and dancing, however, caution must be taken when dealing with more severe cases of osteoporosis to ensure the risk of fractures is minimised.

Balance training, dancing and tai chi can help to improve stability which can improve reaction time and coordination to further reduce the risk of fractures due to falling.

A key component of any training regime is ‘progressive overload’ – which is gradual increases in load or weight, to promote continual bone remodelling and improvements in bone density over time.

4. Balance and fall prevention

Falls represent a significant health risk for older adults and can lead to serious issues, including fractures, head trauma and significant joint injuries, often requiring surgical intervention.

Reduced balance is a major contributing factor to individuals feel a lowered sense of confidence with movement, which can restrict engagement outdoors and within the community.

Exercises such as single-leg stands, heel-to-toe walks, and stability ball movements, challenge the body’s proprioception and coordination, strengthens the stabilising muscles and enhance the control we have for our body.

Functional strength exercises that mimic daily activities, such as step-ups, side lunges, and standing calf raises, can improve muscle coordination and proprioceptive awareness, further reducing the likelihood of falls.

5. Cardiovascular health

Maintaining cardiovascular health is essential for overall vitality and longevity.

Engaging in regular aerobic exercise can help lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, enhance heart function and improve overall mental and physical wellbeing.

Brisk walking, cycling, swimming, and rowing are excellent choices for improving cardiovascular fitness.

Interval training, which involves alternating between periods of high-intensity effort and recovery, can be beneficial, as it provides a time-efficient way to boost cardiovascular endurance and metabolic health, whilst providing adequate rest periods in between.

6. Mental and mindfulness benefits

Physical stress and activity enables a cascade of physiological responses that stimulate the production of endorphins and other neurotransmitters, which act as natural painkillers and mood elevators, reducing anxiety and depression while enhancing cognitive function through increased blood flow to the brain.

It’s never too late to foster mental agility as the brain’s plasticity allows for the development of new neural pathways.

And moving the body also promotes a sense of fulfilment and fun.

This synergy between exercise, mindfulness, and lifelong learning is an empowering way to promote vitality and cognitive well-being throughout all stages of life.

When to see an Exercise Physiologist
  • For pre or post-operative recovery from major, complicated or any surgery
  • If you have persistent joint pain, particularly in weight-bearing joints like knees and hips, to develop strategies for pain management and mobility improvement
  • If you have issues with balance and coordination, to enhance stability and reduce the likelihood of accidents.
  • To manage metabolic, cardiac, neurological and terminal illnesses or conditions
  • When behaviour, mental state and motivation is a limiting factor
  • As a preventative measure or when starting an exercise program, to reduce risk of chronic disease and other complications.

Olivia works with her clients both individually and in small groups on our gym floor. Feel free to reach out to Olivia here or to any of our coaches for more information.

Every class at Movement HQ is suitable for people of all ages. If you’ve engaged Olivia or an Exercise Physiologist we can work in partnership with them to ensure at MHQ you are moving safely and optimally.


Find out more or book a tour
Talk to us


6 reasons to add Rings & Stallbars to your routine

Ready to take your fitness journey to new heights? Dive into the world of Rings and Stallbars training – where fun meets functionality!

Most of our members had never tried a single Rings and Stallbars exercise before stepping onto our Blue Floor.

But our classes fill out, and the laughter and cheers of encouragement can be heard right across the gym.

What makes these classes so special? From sculpting muscles to boosting agility, mental resilience and simply having FUN, these classes offer a complete mind-body workout. Here’s how:

1. Mastery of Bodyweight Control

Unlike traditional gym equipment that provides stability and support, rings and bars require a high degree of strength, coordination, and proprioception to perform exercises effectively whilst you move your body through space.

Maneuvering on the rings demands precise control of body positioning and muscle activation, whilst navigating the various grips and holds on stallbars challenges grip strength and upper body stability.

Overcoming these challenges fosters a deeper connection with your body and enhances your overall body awareness.

2. Functional Strength Development

Olympic rings and stallbars exercises emphasise functional movements that translate directly to real-life activities.

The dynamic nature of exercises performed on rings and bars engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously, promoting balanced strength development and improved stability.

From pulling movements like muscle-ups and inverted rows on rings to stretching and core strengthening exercises on stall bars, you’ll experience a full-body workout that enhances functional strength and resilience.

As a result, everyday tasks become easier, and the risk of injury can diminish.

3. Enhanced Flexibility and Joint Mobility

The stretching exercises facilitated by stall bars target key muscle groups, such as the hamstrings, hips, and shoulders, promoting greater range of motion and reducing stiffness.

Additionally, the dynamic movements performed on rings require flexibility and mobility in various planes of motion, contributing to overall joint health and longevity.

4. Improved mental focus and concentration

Navigating exercises on Olympic rings and stall bars demands unwavering mental focus and concentration.

Whether you’re attempting to maintain balance on the rings or execute precise movements on the bars, every action requires full engagement of the mind.

The challenge of staying present and focused amidst physical exertion strengthens mental resilience and cultivates mindfulness.

As you overcome mental barriers and achieve new milestones in your practice, you’ll develop a greater sense of confidence and self-awareness that extends beyond the gym.

5. Overcoming fear and self-doubt

Embracing Olympic rings and stall bars exercises often involves confronting fears and self-doubt head-on.

The prospect of suspending yourself from rings or attempting challenging movements on stall bars can be intimidating, especially for beginners.

However, as you gradually acclimate to the equipment and build confidence in your abilities, you’ll discover a newfound sense of courage and empowerment.

Each small victory over fear reinforces your belief in yourself and fuels your desire to push further outside your comfort zone, both in fitness and in life.

6. Adaptability and Problem-Solving

Whether you’re adjusting your grip on the rings to maintain stability or modifying your technique on the bars to overcome a plateau, each session offers an opportunity to refine your approach and overcome obstacles.

By embracing the process of experimentation and adaptation, you’ll develop resilience, creativity, and resourcefulness that serve you well both in and out of the gym.


We asked our members to tell us how they benefit from hanging about at Movement HQ. Watch this video to see what they say.


Ready to give it a go? Check out the schedule here:

5 tips to building a peak physique

By Sarah Bartlett, MHQ and Bodywise Body Composition Coach 


Some of the most common questions I get asked in regards to nutrition are often around supplementation, ie “Should I be taking a protein supplement?” and nutrient timing “Is it better to have no carbs after 5pm?”.

For most people, I refer them to this concept, The Nutrition Pyramid.

This is a useful visual tool for understanding where to focus your attention with your nutrition strategy for building a peak physique, and equally as importantly, what not to get too caught up on!

You know the Pareto Principle: 80% of your results will come from 20% of your efforts.

In the 8-week Body Composition Program, this is the foundation of our strategy to build a peak physique.

So let’s learn to work smarter, not harder, and conserve more energy where we can.

1. Energy Balance is the Foundation

You need to eat enough food. Not too much, not too little, just the right amount.

Then you have to match your intake to your goal. In order to do this, you need to do a few calculations. What we need to work out is your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE), and you do this first by finding your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and then multiplying that number by your Physical Activity Level (PAL).

If you don’t understand what these terms mean, join us for the next round of the Body Composition Program – we go over how to calculate this for each individual.


I prefer the Katch-McKardle for calculating Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) as it takes into consideration body composition, so we are calculating calories for the amount of lean body mass that an individual has, rather than their body weight and sex.

With your TDEE calculated, the next step is to work out if you need to be in a calorie deficit, surplus or at maintenance.

A deficit will elicit weight loss, a surplus will elicit weight gain, and a maintenance amount will keep your body weight stable.

What training you then throw into the mix, and your macro ratios, will influence what the weight lost/gained is (i.e. muscle, fat, water).

2. Macronutrients – you need ALL of them

You need all the macros. I am going to repeat that for those who didn’t want to read it: you need ALL the macros. Including carbohydrates. Especially carbohydrates!!

Animal protein too, as that is another category I see (specifically) young women restricting way too severely and their bodies are stressed because of it. Your reproductive system will thrive when you get this right. Hint: if your reproductive health is optimised your body is optimised!

Similarly, dehydration is a serious stressor on the body and it is estimated 80% of Australians are chronically dehydrated. 

If your body aches, your skin is dry, your stool is hard/not coming daily and you feel generally tired, it is highly likely you are one of them.

3. Get your Micronutrients + Fibre

Micronutrients refer to the vitamins and minerals that our body uses in all our daily functions.

A deficiency of any particular nutrient in the long-term can have dire consequences on someone’s health, longevity and susceptibility to disease.

Likewise, fibre is vital for intestinal and bowel health and around 1 in 5 Australians have reported symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

4. Meal Timing

Intermittent fasting, 5:2 diet, and other forms of time restricted eating are all tools that are utilised by coaches to control energy balance (the base of the pyramid).

These are not miraculous dieting strategies. There’s no magic to skipping breakfast, nor, on the counter, is it the most important meal of the day, as has so often been touted.

The truth of the matter is, it doesn’t matter so much when you eat as what and how much you eat for building a peak physique,.

If you prefer to skip breakfast and eat more calories later in the day (and your digestive system is OK with this) then go for it. Some people like to eat before they train, others prefer to train on an empty stomach – and for most people, the difference in results between eating before or after training is negligible, so long as energy balance is matched.

Don’t overcomplicate this – eat when you are hungry.

5. Supplements

And finally…supps. Where so many people want to spend all their time researching and throw all their money.

To be fair, many allied health professionals seem to want you to do this too, so I understand where the confusion may come from.

However, please understand that unless you have a nutrient deficiency as described above, if you ensure you eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, then you probably do not need a lot of supplementation.

Don’t get me wrong, supplements are incredibly useful in the right circumstances – but this requires bloodwork analyses and thorough consultation – we don’t just throw supplements at people and hope for good results. Except Magnesium…everyone gets magnesium.

The point here is simple, if you’ve been putting in effort and aren’t seeing the results you want, rather than rushing to the latest gimmick or hot supplement, take some time to pause and reflect and make sure you are addressing the issue correctly.

Start from the base of the pyramid and work up for building a peak physique.

Love your guts

🦁Coach Barty xx

Want to know more about the Bodywise and MHQ 8-week Body Composition Program starting 3 February?



8 workout considerations over age 40

As we get older, it’s no surprise that prioritising our health and well-being becomes increasingly important.

One of the most effective ways to maintain and improve our health is with regular exercise. Whilst many associate exercise with looking younger or weight loss, its significance goes way beyond that. 

From age 40 we start to lose muscle mass, bone density and joint flexibility. This can lead to injury and chronic pain conditions if we don’t move correctly.

Engaging in safe, regular physical activity can improve our biomechanics, cognitive function, quality of life and prevent the onset of disease and injury.

This period leading up to our 50s and 60s is potentially the most powerful for making positive change – and with the right mindset and support we are capable of moving better than ever before.

Here are 8 workout considerations to help achieve that.

1. Train to achieve your goals

Have a think about how YOU want to feel, look and perform.

These goals should look towards your desired lifestyle in the future (such as going for long walks, doing extended periods of gardening, or playing with kids without pain or putting your back or neck out).

If your goal is to do that cycle tour around Europe or run a half-marathon – fantastic! You just need to train to achieve those goals safely and realistically, and with your longevity in mind.

And if you have injuries or physical limitations, often the worst thing you can do is stop exercising. Get professional guidance on a workout program that’s safe and effective for you.

2. Prioritise warm-ups and cool-downs

Whilst the urge may be to get your workouts over and done with quickly, as we get older it becomes more important to warm up and cool down sufficiently before and after exercise.

A thorough warm-up helps increase blood flow to the tissues and lubricate the joints to prepare them for the upcoming physical activity. It also reduces the risk of muscle strains and joint injuries.

Cooling down after exercise allows the body to gradually return to its resting state, preventing dizziness and muscle soreness.

3. Incorporate strength training

Loss of muscle mass (including sarcopenia) is a common age-related issue. To combat this, everybody over age 40 should include strength training in their fitness routine.

Strength training not only helps build muscle and increase bone density but also improves overall functional fitness, making everyday tasks easier. 

It’s important to start with lighter weights and focus on good form, then gradually progress to heavier loads that challenge and empower you, whilst allowing you to feel in control to avoid injury.

4. Focus on flexibility and mobility

Flexibility and mobility naturally decline with age, making stretching exercises crucial. 

Regular stretching and mobility exercises help improve joint range of motion, enhance posture and balance, and can help reduce the risk of falls.

Stretching the body also always feels amazing because it releases tension, promotes relaxation and triggers those feel-good endorphins.

5. Balance training

Maintaining balance is essential in preventing falls which could prevent injuries. 

Balance exercises help strengthen our deeper and smaller core muscles and build better synergy between muscle groups, resulting in improved stability and coordination. 

Simple activities like standing on one leg, lunging, and other uni-lateral exercises should be incorporated into your routine to improve balance and stability, and also reduce imbalances between left and right side of the body.

6. Diversify your training styles

Don’t focus on just one style of training because you’ve done it forever. Or because you’re too scared or couldn’t be bothered to try something new.

For example if you do a lot of strength training but zero cardio and mobility training you’re limiting your body from being in its optimal state. 

And why not try something new, like animal flow, handstands or gaining upper body strength and stability using Olympic Rings?

You’ll surprise yourself by doing things you believed you were incapable of, build incredible full body strength and fitness, and get a huge adrenalin rush from doing it.

7. Listen to your body

It’s always vital to listen to your body and respect its limitations.

Check in with yourself to see if the exercise or program you’re doing is safe for you right now and if it will help you 10 years from now. And ask your coaches for exercise variations to keep you training safely through injury or when something doesn’t feel right.

We also need guidance on the best ways to train through muscle imbalances and weaknesses in the body.

Doing workouts that are low-impact and less stressful on the joints can help prevent joint pain and reduce the risk of developing conditions like arthritis.

8. Have a set training approach and be CONSISTENT

You’ll see many people in the gym training randomly with no consistency or structure.

If your current program isn’t making you stronger, fitter, happier and healthier whilst being PAIN FREE then it’s time to get guidance and make changes.

At Movement HQ we see how consistency pays off. Doing structured exercise that sees you progress whilst staying injury free will keep you consistent.

Not to mention, training with a community of like-minded people, experienced coaches and being accountable will keep you motivated in the longer term.

There’s nothing better than having your head coach and gym support crew cheering you on every pull up and step of the way.



Our Co-Founder Mark Glanville has been training clients for over 22 years. He and his team have a world of experience training clients from ages 6 to 80+.

Complete the form below for your 45 minute Movement Assessment with Mark or other coaches who can recommend the right classes to help you achieve all 8 workout considerations over 40.

Or click here to get started with 14 days of classes for $49.

We offer a full range of small group classes with an amazingly supportive community to give you all you need for a stronger, fitter and healthier mind and body.



Talk to us

6 ways to boost your gym training success

When you go to the gym or play sport, how do you know that the exercises you do are the most effective at getting you stronger, more mobile, fitter and healthier?

Movement HQ Co-Founder Mark Glanville has been a Personal Trainer for over 21 years. Here he shares 6 training considerations to push you to the top of your training game – and to help ensure comfort, strength and independence as you get older. 

Try to incorporate these movements and considerations in your training at least once per week!

1. Squat frequently

Squatting is one of our most natural and primal movements. If we’re not strong, efficient or even able to squat, that can wreak havoc on our chances of ageing well. 

Losing the ability to squat properly can be a big step in losing our independence, being able to perform simple tasks, and standing easily from a grounded position. 

Squatting builds great lean lower body mass and strength as well as core stability, and improves testosterone and growth hormone production which is essential for slowing down the ageing process.

2. Do your lunges

Let’s face it. Most of us don’t like lunging. It’s uncomfortable placing all your body weight on one leg, and balancing on the other. But lunging is awesome for your body. it has the same benefits of squatting, with the added advantage of working us through further movement planes. 

Lunges allow us to replicate daily tasks like walking, stepping over or under objects, running, hiking, rotating and stretching out (like vacuuming under or around something, or reaching). 

Being a single-leg exercise, lunges also enhance our balance and stability.

3. Work your grip strength

It’s important to focus on grip strength because we use our hands constantly in our day to life (for carrying shopping bags, walking the dog with a lead or using a broom) and many exercises you perform in the gym need you to grip some form of weight. 

Good grip strength is a by-product of strength training itself. Generally the greater the weight, the more grip strength needed, so the correlation is significant. 

Muscular strength is a predictor of longevity, weakness is an indicator of disease and mortality. Researchers have found “strong evidence of a link between muscular weakness and an acceleration in biological age”*.

Exercises to improve grip strength that feel uncomfortable in the short term but have great long term gains include hanging for time, deadlifts, chin-ups, farmers carries and Zottman curls.

4. Include some cardio

This is a no-brainer, cardiovascular exercise comes in many forms. The ‘not so’ deliberate include brisk walking, intense gardening, labouring, playing team sports, or walking to a friend’s house or local cafe. 

Aerobic/cardio exercise has a mountain of benefits including improved heart health, lower blood pressure and regulated blood sugar. It can also help with weight control, immune strengthening, mood boosting, increased mental clarity and reduced asthmatic symptoms.

More deliberate aerobic exercise comes from Conditioning or HIIT classes, high volume kettlebell or weight training, running, cycling and swimming.

5. Go from ground to standing

Training to maintain the ability to get to the floor and stand again unassisted is paramount in maintaining our independence as we age.

This movement pattern incorporates almost every muscle in the body and helps to maintain good synergy and integrity of our muscles and joints in order to do so efficiently. 

Many MHQ classes are on the floor like Yoga, Mat Pilates, and our many Bodyweight classes including Animal Flow which is a ground based primal movement class. 

Mark’s two favourite practices are Kettlebell Turkish Get Ups and Animal Flow. Building strength, mobility, bodily awareness and helping cognition and coordination, these must-do skills help us live our best lives.

6. Play and be social

The benefits of training in groups or with a friend are massive for mental health and not just our physical health. 

Game play makes exercise more fun and creative in practice and group training adds accountability to our training regime or frequency. It’s more engaging, and can certainly build a little competitiveness in all of us as well as being more motivated by our peers.

It will also bring some comfort during those moments of discomfort.

Social/group activity is very important in helping ward of depression, and knowing the classes are pre planned by a coach takes the monotony and stress out of having to pre plan your routine.

Let MHQ do the thinking for you and know that each program has many goals, one of the most important being ‘FUN!’


Mark Glanville established Movement HQ in Frenchs Forest in 2019 to help people move safely and effectively – and to build a community where training is fun, rewarding and empowering for everybody.

This led him to being recognised as “Business Person of the Year” in the 2023 Local Business Awards.

Get moving and reach out to Frenchs Forest’s premier fitness community today! Find out for yourself how these essential training principles will help you get fitter, stronger and move better.

Try any of our 60 weekly classes over 14 days and get a Goals Setting session with a Personal Trainer.

Talk to us

How an osteopath can help you move better

Meet Tully McDonald, a new MHQ Mover who joins the allied health team at Brellah Medical, just up the stairs, on 12 April as an Osteopath.

If you’re feeling any pain or prolonged stiffness, you may find he’ll come in handy. Here’s how he can help.

What do osteopaths treat?

Alot! You name it – anything from short term pain to chronic conditions relating to the muscles, bones and joints:

  • Low back pain
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Disc injuries (e.g. herniations & bulges)
  • Chronic pain
  • Sciatica
  • Headaches & migraines
  • Postural tension or tightness (e.g. desk workers)
  • TMJ / Jaw pain (e.g. lock jaw & clicking  discomfort)
  • Hip and knee pain (e.g. trochanteric bursitis)
  • Foot and ankle pain (e.g. Plantar fasciitis)
  • Bursitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
  • Muscle strains and tendon issues (tendinopathies & tendonitis)
  • Sports injuries (e.g. ankle sprains, ACL tears, meniscus tears)
  • Pregnancy related pain and discomfort
  • Arthritis (osteoarthritis & rheumatoid).


What’s the difference between a chiropractor, physio and osteopath?

The main difference between the three is the focus of their treatment.

Osteopaths look at the body as a whole, considering how the skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves, circulation, connective tissue, and internal organs all work together.

Chiropractors mainly focus on spinal function and correcting any problems in this area in order to help improve the overall functioning of the body.

An osteopath and a physiotherapist have the same goals: To improve your overall health and well-being. However, their approaches are quite different.

While an osteopath will use manual techniques to realign the body’s structure, a physiotherapist will focus mainly on physical activity and exercise.

Osteos strongly embrace making activity and exercise a part of your recovery.

What Tully enjoys about being an osteopath

“I thoroughly enjoy helping people return to what is important to them. Whether that’s being able to go for a long beach walk, squatting at the gym without pain or returning to sport.

I have a passion for working with patients collaboratively, treating the source of pain not just alleviating symptoms. This ensures my patients are able to return to their desired activities without pain and the recurrence of the same injury.

I treat a variety of clients ranging in age and areas of pain.  I have a vested interest in working with clients who also love utilising and learning about a holistic approach to health care and exercise rehabilitation.”

More about Tully

“I grew up in Lennox Head, surfing in comfortable temperate ocean water and relocated to Sydney from Noosa Heads after living there for four years. I am more happy to be on the Northen Beaches of Sydney, where I can surf until my heart is content.

I first encountered Osteopathy after a chronic knee injury playing football as a teenager and was immediately drawn by the broad and holistic approach taken to help treat my condition.

Learning that the pain in my knee was coming from chronic postural, back and pelvic issues sparked a keen interest for me to learn about anatomy, the complexity of the human body and a determination to empower others stuck in similar situations.

Besides surfing, I love to train at the gym. Whether that is utilising functional patterning, movement strength, traditional weight training and even yoga.

I also love what Movement HQ stands for in terms of movement quality, diversity of training styles, and awesome community of members and coaches who I’ve had the pleasure to start training with. I know that we are a great fit for each other.


Email [email protected] or book here.

8 reasons to do Reformer Pilates 

Reformer Pilates is hugely popular for so many reasons. 

It dates back to the early 1900s when Joseph Pilates created the Reformer bed to help soldiers recover from their injuries. 

Since then, Reformer Pilates has become widely accessible to people of all ages and fitness levels to help improve full body strength, mobility and sense of well-being.


What is Reformer Pilates?

Pilates exercises require you to perform slow, controlled movements that flow from one to the next with precision – through full ranges of motion.

In this way you work the entire body as you control your core muscles (in your abdominals, hips, glutes, back, inner thighs), whilst using muscular strength to move your arms and legs.

Mat Pilates uses mainly bodyweight with some props for resistance – and Reformer beds offer further resistance with straps attached to different spring weights, and the moving carriage adding the extra challenge of instability.

Using your breath as you perform the exercises, you bring your awareness into the muscles that are working, and how your joints are aligned and moving. This is particularly beneficial for people with lower back pain or wanting to improve their core strength.

8 benefits of Reformer Pilates 

Step into the MHQ Reformer Pilates studio with coach Suellen Dennehy who’ll share the magic that Reformer Pilates offers:

Whilst improving your flexibility, strength, mobility and balance, Reformer Pilates:

  • Works the entire body using the straps for exercises such as bicep curls, chest presses and donkey kicks. When you add in the instability of the moving carriage you strengthen your core at the same time
  • Is gentle on the joints as you move through fundamental movements such as squats and hamstring stretches whilst lying down, without weight-bearing stress on the knees
  • Is suitable for all levels thanks to the range of spring tensions and allowance for both closed chain and open chain exercises
  • Works muscles you don’t usually use but need to strengthen – as humans we tend to live in a single plane of motion using the same muscles every day. On the Reformer you balance this out whilst moving through all planes of motion
  • Trains the muscles in a variety of ways – by way of muscular contractions, eccentric movements (when you slow down on the return phase of the exercise to increase the time under tension), and isometric holds (such as plank holds) whilst you do the exercises lying down, kneeling and standing
  • Trains your joints to move through all ranges of motion – such as the hip flexors as the carriage helps you glide your leg back as far as possible, giving you a dynamic stretch at the same time as you strengthen
  • Brings awareness into your body as you focus on your breathing, core strength and postural alignment.

A final 60 seconds with Suellen 

Three favourite Reformer Pilates exercises:

1. Bridging – it’s great for spine and hip extensor strength (back of leg) and hip flexor (front of leg) length segmental mobility. It works the posterior chain (back line of body)

2. Feet In straps – this is everyone’s favourite, it improves hip mobility and trunk stability (core work). It’s great for hamstring, hip flexor and adductor flexibility and FEELS WONDERFUL!

3. Mermaid – as it improves spine mobility in lateral flexion (side bending). We don’t do enough of this. It’s also great for posture and thoracic mobility.Why she’s been teaching for 20 years 

“I have a short attention span and Pilates is never boring or repetitive. It helps in the prevention of injuries and works your body in all planes of motion.

Anyone can do Pilates from young to old, rehab to elite athlete, it caters for all bodies.

But most of all … IT’S FUN!What tip can we take out from the Reformer studio to our daily lives 

“Be aware of your posture sitting and standing. When standing balance your weight on both feet evenly, stand tall with shoulders relaxed.”

“Your posture says a lot about your mood….. stand tall, proud and positive”


Movement HQ Reformer classes run 11 times per week, Monday to Sunday with our awesome coaches Suellen, Perry and Skye.

Check out our timetable here.


New to Movement HQ?
Reach out to us here to get your 14 classes for $49 offer 





3 stretches to improve your flexibility

Most people are born flexible, but many don’t feel bendy at all.

If you’re stiff and inflexible a lot of the time – don’t worry there’s hope!

Movement HQ Mobility Specialist Danny O’Sullivan shows 3 stretches to help improve your flexibility, posture and coordination, and reduce the risk of injury and muscle soreness.

According to Danny, “Stretching is one of the most misunderstood forms of exercise. It should be approached with the same intent and structure as other forms of exercise (strength, conditioning, skills etc)”.

Click on the image below and try these yourself at home – or when you’re next at MHQ.

Or even better, jump into our mobility and stretch classes to enhance your flexibility some more.

Try any of our full body stretch classes right here – or scroll down for our mobility class timetable. After incorporating this training in your schedule for a few weeks you will notice great improvements in your flexibility and range of motion.


5 tips to avoid injury and burnout in your training

By Sarah Bartlett, Movement HQ Personal Trainer and Handstands, Mobility, Stretch and Strength Coach. Avoid injury and burnout with these top 5 tips.


Getting injured sucks. Not only because it hurts and derails your progress (temporarily), but it puts you at greater risk of more and worse injuries.

And if we’re being completely honest, rehab training is not the most exciting…

Similarly, if you’ve ever experienced symptoms of adrenal or chronic fatigue, you’ll know that burnout takes a long time to recover from.

Keeping it balanced

Most top-performing athletes know they stand a much better chance of reaching their ultimate potential if their training program is balanced across three key components of fitness:

  • Cardiovascular fitness
  • Strength
  • Flexibility

The same is true for all humans!

A well balanced training program will help any human to maximally optimise their progress.

This is because a program that achieves balance across these three pillars will prevent injury, burnout and boredom.

The better balanced the athlete, the greater the ability to maximise each pillar. i.e. having greater cardiovascular fitness enables you to get more training performed in a given timeframe, which leads to greater gains in strength.

An imbalanced program will eventually lead to a breakdown, somewhere in the system.

Too much cardio, especially high intensity? This may lead to stress of the adrenals, disrupting sleep patterns, mood regulation and hormonal production, among other issues.

Too much strength? This may lead to a build up of tension in the system, may promote imbalances across joints or movements and often leads to injuries of the soft tissue (muscle, tendon, ligament, bursa, etc).

Too much flexibility? In the short term, this may increase risk of joint injury through hyperextension, dislocation, subluxation, etc.

In the longer term, too much flexibility may negatively influence your susceptibility to chronic joint and bone degenerative issues. For example, low muscle mass (which is often present in very flexible individuals) is associated with a higher risk for osteoporosis in women as they age.

To ensure you maintain a well-balanced program to not just prevent the above dangers, but to actually optimise your potential for progress in the longterm, we recommend following these 5 tips:

1. Identify your weaknesses & strengths – train to improve your weaknesses as well as optimise your strengths.

Too commonly we over-train our strengths, and ‘forget’ to prioritise our weaknesses.

People who are bendy love to stretch, and people who are tight often avoid stretching.

We tend to do more of what we enjoy and feels good. Your program should include a balance of both this, and also working on things that are less enjoyable for you, but probably necessary.

2. A solid cardiovascular system is a great foundation for any strength training program. Energy systems (cardiovascular fitness) adaptations have the least diminishing returns and are where you’ll notice improvements the fastest, session to session.

Strong cardiovascular system > better ability to recover between sets > perform more sets in workout > greater strength gains.

This is often a great starting foundation for all people looking to improve their fitness.

3. Pre-plan your training week ahead of time to ensure your program achieves balance across the three pillars. Sometimes, achieving balance is not done through a balanced program alone, if the point from which you are starting is already imbalance.

You might need to spend some time prioritising one of the pillars to achieve optimal balance.

If you start at the gym and primarily want to improve your strength and fitness, but have mobility limitations due to a lack of flexibility which puts you at greater risk of injury during strength and conditioning training, your initial program would probably include a greater focus on flexibility and cardio fitness.

This would prepare you for your strength training by reducing the risk of injury and opening up your ranges of motion, which will lead to greater muscle fibre recruitment, and therefore, gains when you do get to the strength sessions.

4. Test regularly to see where you have improved. Be mindful that whilst in the early stages of your training life, you will experience mad gains across all three pillars simultaneously for some time.

As you gain more experience as an athlete, you might find it harder to improve equally across all pillars at the same time. For this reason, the more advanced you become, you often need to spend more focused, and a greater amount of time and effort on one area, in order to see improvement.

This is because your thresholds increase overtime, meaning the amount of work that is required to stimulate adaptation must also increase overtime. Regular testing can help you to identify your key areas to focus on in future program phases.

5. Hire a coach – especially one specifically skilled in the area you are looking to improve.

If you don’t do your own taxes, service your own car, or cut your own hair, why would you leave it up to yourself to write your training program?!

“A good coach will help you achieve everything on this list, only faster. If it is not your area of expertise, but it is something that matters to you, hire a professional.”


New to Movement HQ?

Come and try any of our 80 weekly classes in 14 days for $49.


Talk to us

Yoga – why you need it

Yoga is a series of stretches and poses that you incorporate with special breathing techniques.

It originated in India around 5,000 years ago, and was developed as a discipline to unite the body with the mind.

When you take a look at Movement HQ coach Mimi Barnes, clearly yoga is working for her.

Mimi radiates a sense of inner strength, confidence and serenity.

She’s been doing it for years and decided to become a professional yoga teacher after a ski accident had her turning to Japanese yoga for ACL recovery.

We asked Mimi to tell us why everyone needs to do yoga …

“It is no exaggeration to say it will benefit every aspect of your life!

It is the most efficient and convenient way to improve your overall livelihood. Both your mental and physical health are improved with this one practice of movement and mindfulness.

Practicing yoga builds resilience for everyday life, aids in overcoming adversity and discomfort, trains your body to overcome limitations, and stimulates your brain to foster neuroplasticity at any age.

There is a balance of effort and rest in yoga that we all need.

We can’t function if we are always on the go and we can’t be excessively immobile.

We need movement to stay healthy and active. Yoga can help the body feel healthy by being light, and helping your muscles feel both soft and strong.

And in this way you find balance in one place: within you.

Living, moving and breathing are easier when you incorporate yoga into your lifestyle.”

In addition to mindfulness and strength, yoga can also help alleviate ailments and illnesses including muscle tension, joint pain, back pain, skeletal and structural imbalances, high blood pressure, organ function and respiratory health.

It can also help reduce stress, sleep problems, depression, anxiety and nervous system issues, whilst boosting immune system efficacy, mental acuity, enhanced senses and feelings of connectedness with the self and the world.

Try this short home sequence for yourself – it will perk you up and bring you into the present moment:

Whether you’re already a committed yogi, or you just do it occasionally or never – and need some inner peace or to improve your flexibility – remember these words of wisdom from Alan Finger, as shared by Mimi:

“Yoga adds years to your life and life to your years.”




Mimi runs yoga, meditation and breathing classes at Movement HQ several times per week.

Jump into one of her classes to experience her passion for the practice and the magic it delivers to your body and mind.