A great way to tone and build a stronger, more powerful body is through Pilates, which will help you sculpt long, lean muscles. However, any workout can become ho-hum if you’re not challenging yourself or finding new moves to try. Add these fun, fierce workouts to your repertoire to deepen your Pilates practice.
Are you looking for a no-fuss mat Pilates routine that adds an element of fun? Look no further. Blogilates creator Cassey Ho has taken four of her most popular song challenge workouts, in which a single move is performed for the length of a pop song, and put them together for a total body Pilates routine. The workout is thorough, hitting all of the major areas that are tough to tone, and even though you’re doing a single movement for a while, it’s not boring. Ho does throw some variations into the mix, switching up the tempo of the booty exercise, which keeps things fresh. Of course, because of the intensity of this workout, beginners should start elsewhere. One way to modify this routine is to try the moves individually if the length of the workout is too much, as Ho recommends for those introducing Blogilates to friends.
Model Lindsay Ellingson shares her go-to Pilates workout, which she learned from Ballet Beautiful founder Mary Helen Bowers, using one of my favorite workout demonstration methods: the GIF set. This workout is actually a mash-up of Pilates, yoga and barre that will fire up your lower body. The secret? Compound exercise sequences that switch things up just enough to keep your muscles from completely tuckering out while still working them hard. The GIFs show condensed versions of the sequences, so it is super important to read through the workout first and study the GIFs before getting started, but this awesome routine is worth the effort.
This workout is a 30-minute miracle, great for when you want a complete sweat session without having to string together the components yourself. While this is not an all-levels routine, since it’s too intense for those with no Pilates experience, it does work for many different fitness levels. Burn SF founder Lisa Corsello is the perfect instructor, really explaining each exercise, including body positioning, in a way that will help you understand how the motion should feel. This routine calls for hand weights, but if you don’t have any or prefer to use bodyweight, no worries! Corsello recommends omitting the weights if you’re not ready for that step and, thanks to her spot-on instruction, you will know just how to perform the weighted exercises to get the most out of each one. She also offers modifications to adjust the intensity of each movement to suit your fitness level. The timer on the upper right-hand corner of your screen is both encouraging (Wow, 15 minutes have already passed?) and a little bit torturous (Oh God, we’re just now getting to floor ab exercises?!), but overall it’s a helpful tool. The last six minutes are definitely going to test your core strength with plenty of planks, scissors, bicycles and the classic Pilates hundred, but that will just make those well-earned final stretches feel even better.
Sure, this workout was created with the holidays in mind, but these nine moves from trainer Erika Bloom will kick your ass any time of year. While these exercises will work your entire body, Bloom places a particular focus on the arms, back and shoulders. This is a challenging series, so a word of caution: some of the exercises are more advanced than others. The Bridge Variation is particularly tough and could put strain on your back if you don't follow the directions exactly, while the Back Support move definitely takes some getting used to, though taking the time to review the GIF is helpful in achieving proper form. What’s great about a GIF set like this is that you can incorporate these exercises into your routine as you see fit and work your way up to having beautiful form while performing all nine of these seriously challenging movements. Don’t push yourself too hard and remember to take the time you need.
Remember to talk to your medical professional before getting started and focus on your form throughout your workout. Now, hit the mat!