Tis the season of travel. But that doesn’t mean it has to be the season of sedentary lifestyles and over indulgent diets. Just because the holiday season has you traveling away from your home gym and towards the land of carbs, calories and candy doesn’t mean that you should be venturing away from your workout routine, and healthy eating patterns. In fact, now more than ever you should be focused in on your fitness goals to make sure that you aren’t losing traction with your progress. Take time to evaluate where you are and where you’d like to be in the coming months, then use some of these at home pilates moves to ensure that you get there regardless of where your holiday travel plans may take you.
Traveling & At Home Pilates Moves
Pilates is one of those fitness concentrations that you may think you need to be in the gym or studio to perform effectively, but that just isn’t the case. There are plenty of moves that can be performed safely and comfortably at home or in a hotel without the use of a reformer. We do suggest using a yoga mat or other padded mat for comfort while performing these at home pilates moves. Each of these moves should be performed about eight to ten times per set for the best physical fitness results.
Lay on your padded mat with your face towards the floor keeping your arms down at your hips. Pull the top half of your body up and back performing a small upper back arch while reaching your arms backwards. The top of your head will feel as though you are reaching forward while your fingers feel as though you are reaching back. Slowly lower yourself back down creating contact between your body and the padded mat.
Lay face down on your padded mat with your arms and legs outstretched making yourself as long as possible. Simultaneously lift your legs, arms, head and shoulders away from the ground but keep your gaze focused on the mat in order to protect your neck from strain or injury. Alternate moving your arms and legs up and down slowly and with control as if you were swimming.
Lay with your face towards the floor on your padded mat with your arms stretched out on either side of your body. Keep them in line with your shoulders as if to make a t with your body. Bring your head and shoulders up so that your back is arched and bring your arms up and back towards your hips. Retain control while you lower your upper body and arms back down to your original starting position.
4. Arm Circle
Stand tall with your feet together, chin up and arms in resting position by your sides with a light weight in each hand. Lift your arms straight up in front of your body until they are parallel with your shoulders, keeping your elbows straight. Once your arms are outstretched in the front of your body pull them wide to each side keeping them level with your shoulders. Slowly bring them back down to your original resting position and repeat this motion. To modify this pilates move and make it easier, forget the weights.
5. Chest Expansion
With one light weight in each hand stand with your feet firmly planted on the ground hip width apart. Bend your knees slightly then bend forward so that your butt is back, your back is flat, and you are facing the ground at about a 45 degree angle. Keep your spine straight and your neck relaxed in neutral spine to avoid strains and injuries. Let your arms hang down until they are perpendicular to the floor and then reach them back towards your glutes. Once your palms reach your hips bring them back down to the starting position.
6. Pilates Push-Up
For those of you familiar with HIIT workouts, a pilates push-up may remind you of a burpee, if you were to do a burpee in slow motion. To begin a pilates push-up you will start in a standing position with your feet together and your arms at your side. Slowly bend forward and slightly bend your knees. Bring the palms of your hands down to the ground and walk them out to a plank position. Keeping your core engaged and tight bend your elbows and lower into a push-up, without going the whole way down to the mat. Push through your hands back into plank position and lift your glutes up as if you were going into a downward dog (yoga move). Carefully walk your hands back to your feet without moving your feet and roll up slowly keeping your chin to your chest, until you are back in a standing position.
7. Leg Lift
Lie on your side atop your padded mat with both of your legs extended and your toes pointed down. Place your bottom arm straight up and under your head in order to protect your neck. Keep the elbow of your top arm bent at a 90 degree angle and your hand firmly planted on the ground to help stabilize your body. Turn your top leg our so that the top of your foot faces the ceiling, then lift your leg until it is perpendicular to the ground keeping your knee unbent. Lower your leg back into neutral position. Complete this workout on both sides of your body to get an even workout.
8. Bridge With Leg Lift
Lay face up on your padded mat with your arms stretched down beside your body and your palms facing the ground. Plant your feet on the ground hip width apart about 6-8 inches from your glutes. Using your feet and legs, push your lower body off of the ground and up into the air. Hold that position with one leg, while you straighten out the opposite leg and bring it parallel to the ground (without touching the floor). Point the toes of your straightened leg and lift it into the air. Stop when your leg makes a 90 degree angle with the ground and bring it back down to the floor with control. Keep your back arched and make sure that your leg does not make contact with the ground between reps, to avoid injury. Switch leg positioning and repeat this workout to ensure an even bodied workout.
9. Side Kick (Front & Back)
Lie down on your side on top of your padded mat with your bottom arm beneath your head to support your neck. Your legs should be in line with your body and stretched straight. Bend the elbow of your top arm to 90 degrees and plant that hand flat on the mat to use as balancing support. Bring both of your legs forward about six inches, without bending your knees. Lift your top leg a few inches and pulse it forward twice then bring it back behind the line of your body and pulse it backwards twice. To keep your workout even on both sides of your body, turn over and repeat with the other leg on top.
10. Side Plank Twist
Lay down on your side atop your padded mat. Bring your bottom forearm up underneath yourself so that it is holding up the top half of your body, and bring your top arm up so that you are reaching for the ceiling. Push through your legs to bring your hip and waist up until you reach a side plank. Bring your top arm back down and thread it through the space between your torso and the ground then twist, bringing you closer towards facing the ground. Bring yourself back into a side plank position slowly, and with control. When you are finished roll to your other side and complete this workout again, to keep your workouts balanced.
11. Toe Tap
Lay on your padded mat facing upward with your arms at your side. Bend your knees but keep your feet flat on the ground. Bring both legs up to the chair position, where your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle. Point your toe and bring one leg down to the ground tapping your toe on the mat before bringing it back up into the chair position. Repeat with the opposite leg. Continue to alternate your leg positionings on and off in this manner.
12. Press & Point
Lay on your back atop the padded mat with your arms by your side, your knees bent and your feet flat on the mat. Lift your legs into a chair position, bend your elbows to 90 degrees (keeping your palms facing your lower body) then bring your head and neck up off of the mat while pushing your hands back down to the ground. Simultaneously push your legs straight out so that they create a 45 degree angle with the ground. While your legs are outstretched open them to slightly wider than hip width before pushing them back together and bringing your legs back to chair position. Carefully drop your head, neck and shoulders back to the mat.