BY TARYN POLOVIN | PHOTOGRAPHY BY DALLAS OLSEN | HAIR & MAKEUP SHANNON JENNINGS
Pilates is most often performed lying down and in a linear plane. Try alternating standing and lying exercises to increase the cardio effect. Combining larger muscle groups such as quadriceps and hamstrings helps to increase the intensity of the workout. Remember to engage your core and pelvic floor to help maintain the integrity of the movement. Continue to work with your breath and let it help guide the speed of your movements.
Front-support hands to elbows
Set-up: Start in a front-support position. Connect your core and pull your navel in toward your spine.
Action: Maintaining strong core control, slowly drop down from your hand to your elbow, first on the right, then the left. Try to avoid letting your body shift sideways. Hold this position for a breath, and then slowly return to your hands. Repeat for 10-15 reps.
Challenge: Increase the intensity of this exercise by lifting one foot off the floor, holding it for a few reps, and then switching legs.
Single-leg deadlift with sweep
Set-up: Start upright with your weight on your left leg. Slowly deadlift forward while lengthening your right leg out behind you, ensuring you don’t tilt your pelvis to the side.
Action: Engage your left hamstring and glutes to draw yourself back into an upright position, slowly bringing your right leg back to a standing position. Repeat for 8-10 reps each side.
Set-up: Start in a wide squat or plié position. Draw your knees slightly out toward your baby toes and engage your pelvic floor.
Action: Inhale to squat as low as you feel comfortable. Exhale to lift back up, and try to maintain the feeling of drawing your knees outward, while continuing to draw up your pelvic floor. Repeat for 10-25 reps.
Repeat the original exercise, but lift your heels off the floor and maintain the elevated heel position throughout the exercise. Repeat for 10-25 reps.
Repeat the original exercise again, but once you lower your body into a squat position, hold it there. While in the low-squat position, slowly lift and lower your heels without changing your body position. Repeat for 10-25 reps.
Reverse lunge with a twist
Set-up: Start in a lunge position with your right leg behind and hands behind your head.
Action: As you raise up out of the lunge, draw your right leg up in front of you, with your knee at a 90-degree angle. At the same time, twist your torso to face the knee. Repeat for 10-15 reps each side.
Tip: Exhale as you lift up and twist, as the rotation helps to push the air out of your lungs.