Introduction: Not Your Grandma's Pilates

This is an abbreviated workout. A typical Pilates class will usually include more forms.

Basic rules/form to keep in mind throughout the workout:

1. NEVER HOLD YOUR BREATH! Inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth.

2. NEVER arch your back! Your back should always be in a neutral position unless otherwise noted.

3. Pay attention to your shoulders. Keep them away from your ears unless otherwise directed.

4. Don't rush through the repetitions. Find a good playlist with a good beat to follow or mentally count a beat during the movements.

5. For the last segment, you will need your favorite song that is about 3:30 minutes long and has a nice quick beat.

Alrighty! Get a workout mat, a sweat towel, and get ready to do this!

Step 1: Prepare for the Warm Up...

Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, engage your abdominal muscles by:

1. Inhale - roll your shoulders up towards your ears, then exhale - roll your shoulders back down and keep them there.

2. Gently tuck our pelvis forward by rolling your hips down and slightly forward (this movement is barely perceptible).

Step 2: Warm Up

    1. Keeping shoulders low and abdominals engaged, lift your arms over head and lift a knee straight up towards your chest. The ankle should be directly below the knee.

    Alternating legs, complete a total of 20 lifts (10 each leg).

    2. Bringing hands to heart center in prayer position, sit into a chair position. Keep your chest open and chin up (off your chest), but lean forward at the waist into the squat with your weight in your heels. Knees should be BEHIND the toes! In this position, extend the right leg horizontally out, toe touching the floor, and drag the toe across the floor back to the starting position.

    Repeat 20 times then SWITCH LEGS and do it again.

    3. Standing straight up, hold the arms horizontally out from your body, level with your shoulders. (Your back should be in the original position: shoulders low, pelvis tucked, abs engaged) open the legs wider than the hips and externally rotate the legs so that toes point away from the center of your body. KEEP THE PELVIS TUCKED FOR THIS EXERCISE! Lower into a sumo squat, keeping the back straight all the way down, imagine sliding down a wall, then straighten the knees back to standing.

    Repeat20 times

      Step 3: Plank Segment

      1. Standing at the bottom end of your mat, inhale and lift your arms over head, exhale and fold forward reaching your hands to your toes (touching if you can). Walk your hands forward into a Down Dog position. With the hands beneath the shoulders, extend your right leg up into split pose (keeping your leg as straight as possible) and while lowering the body into high plank position, bring your knee in towards the outside of your right shoulder. Simultaneously lift your hips back to Down Dog while extending your leg back up to split pose. *Move slowly and pause briefly at the bottom to intensify this movement.

      Repeat10 times finishing in the split pose position. Lower your right leg, lift your LEFT LEG and begin again. Repeat10 times.

      2. Still in Down Dog position, with both feet on the floor, lower your body into high plank position and hold. In this position, you should BREATHE (in through your nose, out through your mouth), and imagine your body as a table. No arched back, no butt sticking up in the air. Now, exhale, lift your right leg to hip height, inhale to tap your toe to the floor.

      Repeat 10 times. On the 10th lift, leave your leg at hip height and do 10 PUSH-UPS, leaving your hands directly beneath your shoulders. *When you bend your elbows, they should bend toward your feet, not outward. **MODIFICATION: Place both knees on the floor during the push-ups.

      Replace your right foot and repeat the same exercise with your LEFT LEG, 10 leg lifts, and 10 push-ups.

      3. Replace your left foot, and from High Plank position, bend one elbow at a time, placing them directly beneath your shoulder, into a forearm plank.

      • Count to 10
      • Tap your right knee to the floor, lift, then tap your left knee to the floor and lift. Repeat 10 times (5 each knee).
      • Hold still and count to 10.
      • Tap your knees again, alternating between right and left. Breathe!
      • Hold still and count to 10.
      • NOW tap BOTH knees at the same time, inhaling as you lower your knees, exhaling as you lift them. Repeat 10 times.
      • Hold still and count to 10.

      4. Rest. Place both knees on the floor and push back into Child's Pose. Breathe into your back. Stay in this position for at least 10 seconds, longer if necessary.

      Step 4: Ab Segment

      Why, yes! We did just work your abs during plank series. Now let's work them some more!

      **Pay extra close attention to your back during this series. It should NEVER arch (unless you're stretching).

      1. Lying flat on your back, neutralize your spine so that there is only a little space between your lower back and the mat, and you can clearly feel your abs contracting. Place your hands behind your ears, elbows wide, and bring both knees into your chest. Exhale to roll your shoulders and head off the mat, with your chin off your chest. Extend your left leg and let it hover at about a 45 degree angle above the mat (if you want a challenge, hover the leg an inch above the mat, but make sure your back doesn't arch). Keeping your upper body in an isometric hold (upper body doesn't move), bicycle your legs, alternately bending and extending each leg (while the left knee is bent the right leg is straight, etc.).

      Repeat 40 times (20 each leg).

      2. Doing the same movement as above, add an upper body twist by rotating to move your left elbow towards your right knee. It's important to imagine leading with your armpit rather than your elbow to effectively engage the oblique abdominal muscles. Alternate elbows as you alternate knees, right knee to left elbow, then left knee to right elbow.

      Repeat 40 times (20 each leg).

      Rest your head and with knees bent, curl into a ball.

      3. Place your hands beside you on the mat, then extend legs 90 degrees into the air (keep them as straight as flexibility allows). Exhale to roll your shoulders and head off the mat, chin off your chest. As you inhale, slowly lower your legs towards the floor as close to the floor without touching (NO ARCH IN THE BACK!!). Exhale to bring your legs back to 90 degrees. *Modification* Keep your shoulders and head on the floor while lifting and lowering legs, and place your hands, in a diamond shape just under your sacrum. ***NOTE: If your back arches during this exercise, try bringing your legs down only half way. If this doesn't help, don't do this exercise.

      Repeat 20 times.

      Rest your head and curl into a ball.

      4. Extend one leg out long then the other, and extend both arms above the head. Exhale to bring your arms, head and shoulders off the mat AT THE SAME TIME lift both legs off the mat. Your ending position should be a V-sit with a neutral back. To release back to the mat, inhale and roll your lower back towards the mat, lowering the arms and legs simultaneously back to starting position.

      Repeat 20 times.

      Roll over onto your stomach, and, placing your hands beneath your shoulders, exhale to extend your arms. Keep your hips on the floor for the Cobra stretch. Hold for at least 10 seconds.

      Step 5: Best for Last! Modified Bridge

      Time for the quick beat, 3 & 1/2 minute song!

      1. Lying flat on your back, bend both knees so that both feet are flat on the floor. Your hands should be by your side, with your palms and forearms pressing into the mat. Imprint your lower back into the mat by tilting your pelvis towards the ceiling while keeping it on the mat. Exhale and roll your hips towards the ceiling, feeling each vertebra leave the mat one at a time until you have created a straight line from your shoulder to your knee. The weight of your upper body should be in the shoulders not the neck, and the weight of your lower body should be in the heels of your feet. This position is your starting position. START YOUR MUSIC!

      2. Hinging at the waist, inhale to tap your glutes to the mat, exhale to lift. Follow the beat of your song, and make sure you don't cheat by only coming halfway up. You should reach your starting position every time you lift your glutes.

      Repeat 20 times, then hold your starting position.

      3. Lift your right leg to as close to 90 degrees as you can (a slight bend in the knee is okay). While holding the leg up, inhale to tap your glutes to the mat, exhale to lift.

      Repeat 10 times then lower your right leg and lift your left leg and repeat 10 more times. Return to starting position with both feet on the floor.

      4. Squeeze your glute muscles to lift your hips towards the ceiling just a centimeter higher then release to your starting position. This is a tiny movement called a pulse. Remembering to breathe, pulse your hips towards the ceiling 50 times then return to starting position.

      5. Bring each foot in towards your glutes about one step, then roll up onto your toes, keeping your hips high. Hinging at the waist, inhale to tap the glutes to floor and exhale to lift.

      Repeat 20 times.

      6. Staying on your toes, pulse your hips towards the ceiling 50 times.

      7. Still on your toes, close your knees until they touch, while holding the knees closed, pulse your hips towards the ceiling 50 more times.

      8. Release your knees, and place your feet flat on the mat, but keep the straight line from shoulder to hip intact. Slowly articulating one vertebra at a time, inhale to roll your back onto the mat from the top of your back all the way to your glutes.

      Step 6: Stretch

      1. Keeping your left foot on the floor, bring your right knee into your chest. Hold it tight. To intensify this stretch, extend the left leg out straight. Holding the right knee with your right hand, open the knee away from your body (keeping both glutes on the mat). Extend the left arm straight out from your body and turn your head to the left.

      Hold for 10 seconds or more.

      2. Release the knee back to center and grab the same knee with your left hand and pull it across your body (let your right glute come off the mat). Extend the right arm out horizontally from your body and turn your head right.

      Hold for 10 seconds or more.

      Repeat steps 1 & 2 for the left leg.

      3. With your knee bent, place the left foot back on the floor and place your right ankle on your left knee. Lift your left foot off the floor and reaching behind your leg, gently pull the left leg forward, feeling the stretch in the gluteus muscle.

      Hold for at least 10 seconds, then switch sides.

      4. Place the left foot back on the floor and extend the right leg straight up with your foot flexed (to intensify the stretch extend your left leg straight out on the floor). Grab your ankle, calf, or hamstring and gently pull your leg towards you. You should feel the stretch in the hamstring.

      Hold for at least 10 seconds then switch legs.

      5. Extend both legs out long and extend both arms over head. Let your back arch naturally and after a couple of breaths, roll to your side to stand up.

      You did it!! Now drink some water and enjoy the stretchy feeling for the rest of the day!