I’ve never been a fan of gyms or group workouts, preferring instead to follow solo, YouTube, or app-guided exercises for my runs and home exercises. While they have been good enough to help me build a decent routine, I’ve always felt that my workouts have been missing something. For one, I tend to focus on just one type of workout (cardio) or part of the body (legs), neglecting the other half. The other is that my little home gym is not rigged out with the necessary equipment. These little concerns have had me thinking of going to in-person classes just to get the hands-on experience I have been missing.

When Zafigo was invited to participate in an all-women three-hour pull-up workshop, I was game. Not only was I finally getting the chance to put my arms to work and learn the basics, but it was going to be in an environment I was comfortable in. So, in tow with Fiona, our Sales and Marketing Lead, we set out to spend our Sunday afternoon working those biceps and traps.

What to expect

The workshop was held at O-Zone Fitness, a gym/training centre with one-of-a-kind obstacles and indoor callisthenics facilities. Both Sasa Chian and Yin Sinn Yee, our coaches for the day, teach weekly classes there, focusing on their areas of expertise. Together, they also lead Poetry of Movement, the workshop we were there for, designed specifically for women to practice bodyweight movement training or callisthenics effectively. It’s a relatively new workshop, with only two previous sessions focused on push-ups, headstands, and cartwheels.

Before each workshop, Sasa and Yin Sinn post a video on their social pages showing potential participants the types of exercises they will be tackling — so there aren’t any surprises when you show up. The coaches also take that extra step to get to know their participants before sessions to gauge their fitness level via a questionnaire.

If you’re wondering whether 180 minutes is too long for a class focusing on just one element, it’s not. Sasa and Yin Sinn map out the three hours wonderfully. Starting with a fun paired-up warm-up, we then move on to learning about the different types of pull-up exercises we can do, each with its own set of tips to master them. Each mini session allows enough time to try out the body control and coordination techniques they learned without feeling rushed.

The coaches also guide each individual with personalised tips on how to perform better. Once we had a better idea of how to go about each exercise, we put our bodies to the ultimate test in the form of a HIIT circuit workout, alternating between pull-ups and other full-body exercises. We conclude the class with a warm down and experience-sharing chat.

Women guiding women

Having only met earlier this year in April, Sasa and Yin Sinn found common ground through training. Conversations about different approaches around what they call the ABCs of movement training — alignment, body awareness, and care — led them to realise that while the technique is important, the female physic also thrives on more than just performing them. “That is when we asked each other, “How can we empower women to practice bodyweight training to build strength, mobility, and stability based on the ABCs?” says Sasa. Thus, Poetry of Movement was created.

While Sasa is a Certified Manasa Yoga and AcroYoga instructor, Yin Sinn, also a co-founder of O-Zone Fitness, teaches basic bodyweight. Together they have 25 years of experience in movement and fitness coaching, and their combined knowledge of callisthenics and balancing the mind and body make them the perfect duo to lead such a workshop.

So, what did we think?

Safe to say, it felt like my muscles were weeping the next day. But aches and pains aside (which are temporary anyway), I did enjoy learning from Sasa and Yin Sinn. A lot of what they shared can be used in my daily routines. I personally felt that as a beginner, what they taught was easy to digest and put into practice. While I still left only able to do assisted pull-ups for short periods, a few were able to ‘unlock’ the achievement.

I also love the camaraderie between all the women who participated and supported each other throughout the three hours. This is what I think made this workshop stand out from the rest.

Poetry in Movement is a monthly workshop held on the last weekend of the month. For information on upcoming workshops, follow @s.a.s.a._moves, @yinsinn, and @ozone_fitness_my on Instagram. Sasa and Yin Sinn also teach AcroYoga and Calisthenics Basic classes, respectively at O-Zone Fitness.

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